I’ve followed Vegan Richa for a while now and finally decided to try a few of her dishes this week. The Hubs is from Scotland and apparently curry is the national dish in the U.K. Y’all tell me if I’m wrong. We always make curries but never really make anything else that’s Indian inspired. So, last night I tried her recipe: vegan chickpea noodles with garlic tomato sauce.
A while ago I bought a bag of chickpea flour. I was looking for gluten-free alternatives to regular wheat flour and was curious about cooking with chickpea flour. The smallest bag I could find was a 2kg bag (that’s almost 4.5lbs). After having it for several months, I’ve finally put a huge dent in it! I have the flour and I wanted to make something using it. So why not try chickpea noodles?
Working with chickpea flour in the past, I’ve learned that it can be a sticky S.O.B. when mixed with water. It will almost turn into a glue if you’re not careful. So, if you’re ever working with chickpea flour I suggest that you soak all of the dishes that you used before washing. If you don’t soak them, the chickpea dough/mixture will harden and turn to something I liken to cement on your dishes and utensils.
At first I put some parchment paper on a baking sheet thinking that would be enough. However, she suggests using two pieces of parchment paper instead of what I started out doing.
I ended up doing what she did. I thought it would be best to follow the recipe since I’ve never done this before, and I got worried that one piece of parchment wouldn’t be enough.
You start out by mixing the chickpea flour with water and mix everything together.
Don’t worry if it looks too watery because it’ll thicken up as soon at it feels heat. Later on you’re going to cook the mixture in a pan until it thickens up.
I did the exact opposite. I did worry and ended up adding a bit more chickpea flour. That’s probably why my mixture turned out SO thick.
That was ok though. Next you’ll spread the mixture out on the parchment paper to cool and then get to work on your garlic tomato sauce.
Mine was a little difficult to spread out evenly because it was so thick, but that was my fault. If you follow the recipe, your mixture might spread out better than my concoction.
She says to use 3 1/2 cups of tomatoes. I have no idea how many cups I used. I used the tomatoes from our garden that were sitting on the island, and the rest of some grape tomatoes I had in the fridge.
I chopped up the garden tomatoes and threw them in the food processor. Now here comes the easy part. You put your tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and pepper in the food processor and let it go. I just used basil because oregano and thyme don’t agree with me. If you want to make it simple, you can just use Italian seasoning.
And voilá you have homemade pasta sauce! Pretty cool huh? Because this is a garlic tomato sauce, you will be adding five cloves. Keep in mind that you’re not cooking the garlic first, which in my opinion cooking first cuts the rawness and the tendency of being spicy that garlic has. (Read the NY Times article. It’s pretty good!) If you love the way raw garlic tastes, then go ahead and proceed. If you don’t like too much garlic (I don’t but decided to follow the recipe this time), you can mince your cloves and cook them in a small pan until they just start to turn brown or you can cut down the amount of cloves you use.
When you’re finished, you pour the sauce into a small pot and heat it up on the stove. At this point you can add the tomato paste to thicken it up. She suggests using 1Tbsp but I ended up using the whole can. It depends on your preference really. Do you like a thicker tomato sauce or a thinner tomato sauce? My preference is not to have it thicker. Then you add salt and a sweetener if you wish.
When that’s done, you can take a pizza cutter or knife to slice your chickpea noodles.
The consistency of my noodles were a bit gelatinous. Again, that’s because my mixture was too thick. Yours might end up looking prettier and thinner than mine if you follow the recipe like you’re supposed to. Sigh. I sliced mine and then cut them in half and had a good amount for the three of us.
The dish was good but the sauce needs some work. It could be the type of tomatoes I was using, but next time I’ll leave the sauce on the stove a little bit longer so more of the water will evaporate. If you don’t have any fresh tomatoes, you can also use a can of crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes. Also, I definitely won’t be using five cloves. Raw garlic tends to have a spicy taste to it and I was burping garlic all night last night. It’s not attractive when you want to kiss your significant other. You can mince the cloves, cook them down a bit, and then add them if you want. I might try that the next time I make this dish. I think if there wasn’t so much of the garlic, or if the garlic was cooked, the acidity of the sauce would’ve been cut down a lot. As it was last night, it was really acidic…even after adding LOTS of salt. The little one had a few bites of this dish and said “no” and wouldn’t eat it. I expected him to do that so that was ok.
All-in-all, I would definitely give this recipe another shot. I’ll make the chickpea mixture thinner and work on the sauce a bit more. I’m not giving up on this!