Cook THIS for dinner
Would madame care to try our new meat-free Moroccan special? It is National Vegetarian Week, after all.
It’s National Vegetarian Week so we’re scoffing this unusual feta and red pepper kalinte – it’s a Moroccan chickpea-flour pie, doncha know. It comes courtesy of Nargisse Benkabbou, an Observer rising star in food 2018 and author of gorgeous new cookbook Casablanca: My Moroccan Food. I must admit it’s not quite as speedy as our usual recipes – you’re probably looking at 45 minutes – and you’ll need to buy some chickpea/gram flour (my local health food shop stocks it) but it’s well worth the effort. Over to you, Nargisse.
Feta and Red Pepper Kalinte
Think of kalinte as the love child of a giant chickpea and custardy quiche. I love its intense chickpea flavour and smooth, melt-in-the-mouth consistency. This classic Moroccan street food is usually enjoyed in a baguette sprinkled with paprika and cumin. The name kalinte comes from the Spanish word caliente, which means ‘warm’, simply because this silky chickpea pie is meant to be enjoyed hot. If you like the sound of it, you will love my jazzed-up version with feta and red pepper – it’s truly comforting.
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and chopped into 1cm pieces
80ml olive oil
1¼ teaspoons salt
180g chickpea/ gram flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan), Gas Mark 6 and grease a 20cm round deep baking dish.
Melt the butter in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the red pepper, cover the pan and cook for about 7 minutes until the pepper starts to soften. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for a few minutes.
Place the olive oil, egg and salt in a blender and blend for a few seconds until foamy. Then add the measured water and half the chickpea flour and blend until you have a smooth batter. Add the milk, the remaining chickpea flour and the baking powder and blend again until smooth, making sure that there are no lumps. If you don’t have a blender, place the ingredients in a large bowl and use a hand-held electric whisk instead.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the red pepper and feta on top. The batter will be very runny, but don’t worry, it’s supposed to.
Carefully place the dish in the oven and bake for 25–30 minutes until golden and the top of the pie feels a bit spongy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Casablanca: My Moroccan Food by Nargisse Benkabbou is published by Mitchell Beazley, £20 (www.octopusbooks.co.uk)
Photo credit: Matt Russell