Chickpea Nuggets and Burgers

April 25, 2012

Chickpea Nuggets

I am a huge fan of chickpeas. They're my favourite food and I eat them very often, mostly in curries and hummus. I cannot recommend and praise them highly enough. Their nutty taste, buttery texture and high nutrient content make them perfect for this recipe. With two main ingredients, these nuggets couldn't be faster and easier to make (scroll down for more information on chickpeas). I opted here for deep-frying, but you can simply pop them in the oven for a few minutes to have a low-fat version. Either way they are very delicious, crunchy, filling and the spice blend leaves a pleasant, warming aftertaste.

Chickpea Nuggets
(makes 16)

  • 500 g chickpea (from an 800 g can, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt to taste (I used about 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 3 Tb tomato sauce (I had a can of chopped tomatoes and used some of the sauce; passata works fine too)

Flour Paste
  • 3/4 cup organic plain white flour
  • water
  • pinch of salt

Extra
  • oil for deep-frying (I used sunflower)
  • 250 g golden breadcrumbs

Chickpea Nuggets

Heat 1 Tb olive oil in a plan on medium. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes until soft. Add the spices and stir for a few seconds till fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add chickpeas and stir to coat them well with the paste. Cook covered for 5 minutes, then roughly mash them with a potato masher. You don't need to be perfect about it, a few pieces of unmashed chickpea will only add more texture to the nuggets. Remove from heat and let cool until just slightly warm, stirring from time to time to prevent the top from drying out.

Make the batter by mixing flour with salt in a bowl and adding water gradually to obtain a smooth, slightly thick and runny paste. Dust a large plate with flour to prevent the nuggets from sticking. Wet your hands and form rectangular nuggets, about 5x3x1 cm. Place them on the plate as you make them.

Bread the nuggets by dipping them in batter (let excess drip back into the bowl) and then in breadcrumbs, coating them well and gently pressing them so the crumbs stick. Try to maintain their shape. When all are done, repeat the breading starting with the first one you made. I like to double-coat them for extra crispness and to make sure they don't break while frying. Leave them on the worktop or pop them in the fridge for a few minutes for the coating to harden, this will prevent breaking while frying (if you bake them you don't need to do this).

Heat oil in a deep pan, about 1.5 cm high, just enough to cover them. Deep-fry the nuggets (a few at a time) for a couple of minutes on each side until they're golden and feel crispy. The filling is already cooked, so you're basically just cooking the crust. Remove on paper towels to absorb excess oil, let cool for a few minutes and serve.

Chickpea Nuggets

To ensure proper digestion and considering the high-fiber content of chickpeas make sure to drink enough water. For lack of time, in this recipe I chose simplicity, hence the short list of ingredients. Some time ago I made chickpea burgers/patties for which I used more vegetables and spices and skipped breading. Feel free to try your own combination. Here's mine.

Chickpea Burger

Chickpea Burgers/Patties
(makes about 12)

  • 500 g chickpeas (as above)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 5-6 scallions (spring onions), finely chopped
  • handful of parsley, finely chopped

Heat 1 Tb olive oil in a pan on medium. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds.
Add onion and sauté until soft. Add red pepper, a little salt and cook for a few minutes until almost soft.
Add 2 tsp mild curry powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, pinch of turmeric and black pepper.
Add chickpea, mix well and cook covered for a few minutes. Add scallions and cook for a minute to soften. Mash everything with a potato masher (you can also mash only the chickpeas and add them last). Finally add parsley and adjust salt if needed. Let cool.
Wet your hands and shape the burgers (about 6 cm in size).
Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a pan and spread it around. If you have a good non-stick pan you won't need oil at all. Cook the burgers on both sides till they form a crust. Allow to cool a bit and serve.


Health Benefits of Chickpeas

Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans, ceci beans, Bengal gram and Egyptian peas) were discovered in the Middle East about 7500 years ago and are one of the most widely consumed legumes in the world. Being a very versatile food, chickpeas are a popular ingredient in the Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines, in their whole, mashed or powdered form. There are two main varieties: Kabuli (larger, light coloured) and Desi, or kala chana (smaller, dark coloured).

As a low fat, low sodium, low calorie, zero cholesterol, low glycemic index food, chickpeas are excellent in any health-focused diet. Regular consumption helps reduce the total and LDL cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, manage weight and prevent heart disease, diabetes and digestive-related conditions. They are rich in minerals and vitamins, providing very good amounts of folate, vitamin B1 and B6, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium and calcium. While being a low fat food they also provide a good amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein, one cup containing about 30% of the daily requirement, this making them a more sustainable alternative to meat.

They have a high-fiber content, one cup providing about 50% of the daily requirement, with two thirds of it being insoluble. A diet rich in fiber has many health benefits and helps reduce the risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and irritable bowel syndrome.

Fiber is a carbohydrate that the body cannot digest and it passes through the digestive system largely intact. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a viscous gel that moves slowly through the stomach and delays its emptying time. As result, digestion is improved, sugar is released at a slower rate, producing energy over a longer period of time and increasing the time between meals (beneficial in the case of diabetes), appetite is reduced, giving a feeling of satiety much faster (helpful to prevent obesity and lose weight). It also helps reduce the total and LDL cholesterol by binding bile and preventing its reabsorption in the intestine, thus preventing heart disease (the process is described in this article). Because it dissolves in water, soluble fiber absorbs excess liquid in the colon, preventing diarrhea. The gel it forms helps stool pass smoothly, thus relieving and preventing constipation and reducing pressure on hemorrhoids. It also helps to normalize the contractions of the colon and maintain a healthy pH of the intestines. As it ferments in the colon, it produces healthful short-chain fatty acids and increases the production of good bacteria.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is a powerful gastrointestinal tract stimulant. It adds bulk to the stools, softening them and speeds up the transit of food and waste through the digestive tract, therefore preventing constipation and promoting regular bowel movement.

Notes
  1. Eating large amounts of insoluble fiber or eating it on an empty stomach can cause discomfort, bloating, cramping, constipation or diarrhea (those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome need to watch their intake of insoluble fiber). See this article for ways to minimize the effects of too much insoluble fiber.
  2. For fiber to produce its health benefits, enough water should be added to fiber-rich meals and foods rich in insoluble fiber should be combined with those rich in soluble fiber, in order to prevent the above mentioned problems.
  3. Chickpeas contain oxalates (rated medium among oxalate-containing foods - see list). Oxalate binds calcium to form calcium oxalate, a main component in kidney stones. This process makes calcium unavailable for its normal functions. It is important to drink enough water throughout the day (at least 8 glasses) to help neutralize oxalates and prevent the formation of kidney stones. Citric acid (lemon juice for example) is also helpful to neutralize oxalates.

This post serves an informative purpose, it does not replace medical advice.


A lot of time, effort and passion goes into each recipe I post. My greatest satisfaction comes from your feedback. If you made this recipe, then please take a minute of your time to leave a comment below. And if you like it, please share it so that others have access to it as well. Thank you all in advance!

6 comments:

Paulina

I am a huge fan of chickpeas as well, so I will definitely be making the nuggets!

You have a gorgeous blog.

Vegan Magic

Thank you so much Paulina for your lovely comment, I'm sure you'll love the nuggets:)

I am so happy to meet you here, your Tres Leches Couscous Cake has been on my to-do list for a very long time:)

Anna

What a great recipe! One question - how long would you bake the nuggets for in the oven and at what temp? Thanks!

Vegan Magic

I'm very happy you like it and thank you for the comment, Anna. I'd go for 350°F (180°C) and since there is no oil involved I'd coat the nuggets only once. 20 minutes should be enough, but it also depends on the oven, so I'd say between 20 and 30 minutes for a nice crispy crust. I hope this helps.

The Vegan Version

WOW!!! I am a chickpea fanatic and cannot wait to try the nuggets!!

Vegan Magic

Ahhh chickpeas - my love!:) We should start a chickpea fan club (C.F.C.);) So glad you like the nuggets Lee, enjoy them! Thanks so much for stopping by:)

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