08 June 2011

Farinata (Chickpea Flatbread)

dairy free egg free nut free vegan gluten free

This recipe is from the River Cafe's Green cookbook, one of very few Italian cookbooks I treasure. It is divided into seasonal fruit and vegetables and features interesting produce with inspiring recipes. (eg. who knew Italians had even heard of ginger, let alone willingly cooked with it in both savoury and sweet dishes?!)

Because I am embracing all things gluten-free at the moment, it must be said that the farinata, a traditional Ligurian street food, is an ideal gluten-free pizza or flatbread.

Make sure the oiled pan is smoking hot before you pour in the batter or you won't get a crispy base. And the batter should only be 1cm thick (reserve the rest for another tray if need be) or you'll get a pancake rather than a pizza. I suspect it should be browner and crunchier than it looks in my picture but I was in a (hungry) hurry. In fact, if you squint, it almost passes for an omelette. Which gets me thinking that a bit of chickpea batter, liberally seasoned and poured into a pan with vegetables might make for a tasty egg-free frittata...

250g chickpea flour
750ml warm water
75ml olive oil

*You can add any flavourings you like - strong herbs like rosemary, marjoram, thyme or sage. I sliced up some artichokes as per the original recipe and scattered fresh marjoram.

Add chickpea flour to the warm water in a bowl. If you can be bothered, sieve it first, but I didn't and given it sits for a couple of hours while it absorbs the water - it's not really necessary. Whisk it well to get rid of any lumps, add a tablespoon of salt, cover the bowl and set aside for at least 2 hours in a warm place.

Remove the foam that forms at the top of the batter and stir in the olive oil, mixing well. Pour a tablespoon of oil into your largest baking tray or pizza tray (around 40cm is best) and put into the oven until the oil starts to smoke. Remove the pan from the oven and quickly pour in the batter. It's supposed to be thin and not more than 1cm deep. Scatter over the artichoke slices and/or herbs, salt and a drizzling of olive oil. Place back in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Surface is supposed to bubble and the edges will crisp up.

Slice up and serve immediately.


  1. Where did you buy the chickpea flour?

  2. At a local indian grocer - but you can find chickpea (also called besan flour) at health food shops or in the health food section of most supermarkets.