Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 2: Chick-Fu Reloaded

I am getting bored with my own posts in the absence of photos! As the camera is still abroad, I thought it best to write about something that I have photographed in the past: Burmese Chickpea Tofu. Despite the name, it is more like a firm, smooth polenta made from chickpea flour. When hot (as in the vegetable scramble above), it has an soft, eggy texture. It is a cheap, delicious, easy to make, protein-rich food.

This wondrous stuff is the subject of one of my most-read posts on the PPK Forums. By the power of the interwebs, and the work of a number of PPKers and bloggers, the original recipe has been simplified. See what happiness we can make by working together! So you don't have to weed through the kerjillion posts at the PPK, I will condense the collective wisdom for you:

3 cups chickpea flour
9 cups water
1 t. vegetable oil
1/4 t. turmeric
1 t. salt

Mix the chickpea flour and water, stirring well. Allow this to sit out at room temperature for 12 - 24 hours, loosely covered - no more stirring.

Prepare a container for your finished chick-fu, lining it with cheesecloth. (Do this now, you will have no time later.)

To a large pot, add the oil, turmeric, salt, and most of the chickpea mixture. There will be a very thick sludge (sounds lovely!) in the bottom of the chickpea flour bowl - about a cup or so. Leave this in the bowl for later. You want to have just enough liquid left with the sludge so that you can pour it into the pot later.

Bring the pot to a boil and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring constantly. (I mean it.) Take the pot off the heat, arm yourself with a study whisk, and add the sludge (mmm!) from the bowl to the pot. Beat the crap out of it until it is combined smoothly. Put the pot back on the heat, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring constantly. You will get tired, complain, and want to stop. It will get very thick. Don't be a baby. Keep going.
When done, pour into your prepared container - fast! It starts to set up quickly. Let cool and refrigerate until fully set.

You can make this in smaller amounts. I have done 1/2 and 1/3 of the original amount. You will need to cut back the cooking times slightly. Also, the last few minutes, when things are getting really thick, are more difficult with a smaller batch. So it goes. I say make the big batch and freeze what you can't use.

I like to make quiche from the chick-fu. To the hot mixture, add herbs, spices, and cooked vegetables, and pour into a baked pie crust. If you like an eggy flavor, add some black salt. You can freeze small or large chick-fu quiches. For the best texture, let the quiche firm up, and reheat to serve. To have a good (eggy) texture, it needs to be quite hot all the way through. Otherwise it will still be good, but on the firm side. I suspect that adding some mashed vegetables (e.g., mashed potato, pulverized broccoli, or whizzed white beans) would help it have a softer texture at room temperature, but I have not tried that yet. If you do, please report and add to the growing chick-fu knowledge.

Other bloggers have posted ideas for using chick-fu, including VeganGrandma and Swell Vegan. Try it and enjoy!


Amy said...

Yummers! I'll have to try that... Is it good fried?

JohnP said...

Yes, it is good fried. Also good when baked.

Sheree' said...

Never heard of this. Wow! Sounds amazing! Thank God for MoFo, that is how I found you! :o)

KitteeBee said...

i've been wanting to try this for awhile, but knowing a)it is wheat free and b) that it needs the crap beaten out of it ups the appeal to another degree...


Bex said...

this sounds cool. I'll have to give it a whirl.

Justine said...

My mother is Uruguayan, and we would have something similar to this on our pizza nights. It was called "Faina" pronounced F-eye-nah. We would get the premade mixture and add water, spices and occasionally cheese. We would pour this onto a baking pan (jelly roll) that had been pre-heating with vegetable oil. It would sizzle and pop when mom poured the mixture in. We especially loved the crunchy pieces on the edge, and always used freshly ground black pepper on top after it baked. The base of the mixture was basically chic pea flour. I wonder if your recipe would work, poured out onto a jelly roll and baking it instead of all the stirring?? (didn't mean to hi-jack your blog--just wanted to add!)
Oh, and just to let you all know, I was able to get chic pea flour at an Indian grocery store for pretty cheap. They call it Besan.

Michelle said...

dude, you totally blew my mind on this! Can't wait to try it!

JohnP said...

Try it and report! That sounds really interesting. If you can find a recipe for what your mom made, you should post it!

Bethany said...

I will definitely try this. I love chickpeas.

Helen said...

This has been in my to cook bookmark folder for ages.

I did once try making chickpea milk and then coagulating it like you would make tofu. Do not try this it was horrid and went in the bin.

I love socca and love kitchen chemistry so must try this.

Matt said...

We have been meaning to try this for ages - it looks so great, and such an interesting process.

I did see this simplified version, though, and wondered how it would stack up to the full process?

JohnP said...

Matt, interesting! Definitely worth a try to see how it goes! I'm rather addicted to the process as given. I have tried omitting the soak, and I don't think the texture is as good.

Jim said...

That seems humorous to me. Being addicted to stirring a cooking pot steadily for 45 min. Sheesh!