Revithokeftedes

Chickpea Patties

CHICKPEA patties, made from mashed cooked chickpeas seasoned with onions and herbs, are traditional on the island of Chios and in many other places throughout Greece, served as appetizers, especially on days of religious abstinence.

These patties are always served at Kastro, an excellent taverna in the village of Avgonima, on Chios. Kalliopi Delios prepares the mixture every day or so and shapes and fries the patties on demand.

Because I love chickpea patties but don’t like frying—especially when I have guests—I invented this baked version. Serve them on their own or accompanied by Caper Potato-Garlic Dip or Yogurt, Garlic, Cucumber and Fennel Dip.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight in water and drained
  • Salt
  • cup olive oil, plus more for frying
  • cups chopped onions
  • 6 scallions (white and most of the green parts), chopped
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil and safflower oil for frying
  • About 1 cup all-purpose flour

Method

Place the chickpeas and 2 tablespoons salt in a medium saucepan and add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and skim off the foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, or until the chickpeas are tender. Add a little warm water if needed during the cooking to cover the chickpeas by 1 to 2 inches. Drain the chickpeas, reserving about ¾ cup of the cooking liquid.

In a medium skillet, heat the cup oil and sauté the onions over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add the scallions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes more, or until tender. Remove from the heat.

Set aside 1 cup of the chickpeas and place the rest in a food processor. Add the cornstarch, onion mixture and about ½ cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Pulse to puree. If the mixture seems too thick, add a little more cooking liquid. Transfer to a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, mash the reserved 1 cup chickpeas with a fork. Add to the chickpea puree, along with the mint, oregano and plenty of pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings. The puree can be used immediately but is easier to shape if it is refrigerated for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

In a large deep skillet, heat 1½ to 2 inches of a combination of half olive and half safflower oil to 350°F.

Meanwhile, for each patty, roll about 2 tablespoons of the chickpea mixture into an oblong about the size of your index finger. Dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Fry the patties a few at a time, turning once, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

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Variation

Instead of frying the chickpea mixture, you can bake it. Spread the mixture about ¼ inch thick on a well-oiled nonstick baking sheet. Drizzle the top with 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil and bake in a preheated 450°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top starts to brown. Let stand for 5 minutes, then cut into small wedges with a spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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