Reminding me of polenta in appearance only, panelle are fritters that are typically, though not always, eaten in a bun (U’ pane chi panelle in Sicilian).
It is very much a Sicilian speciality, perhaps more so in the capital of Palermo where it is regarded as street food in Palermo, sprinkled with lemon juice.
Panelle is often made at home to be eaten as a snack or an accompaniment to a meal.
My first impression, years ago when I tried the panelle sandwich for the first time, was that it seems as counter-intuitive to treat this snack as appetising as a traditional British “chip butty” but after the first bite I was won over. I also like chip butties!
The panelle recipe is detailed at the end of this article.
Firstly, panelle itself can be used in vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets. Chickpeas are a type of legume so, unlike cereals, contain no gluten.
When making panelle sandwiches, however, care needs to be taken to use vegan and/or gluten-free bread. But that’s obvious!
Chickpeas are a rich source of protein, low in fat.
Chickpeas, mature seeds, cooked no salt.
Nutritional value per 100 g
Energy 686 kJ (164 kcal)
Carbohydrate. 27.42 g
Sugars 4.8 g
Dietary fibre 7.6 g
Saturated 0.27 g
Monounsaturated 0.58 g
Polyunsaturated 1.16 g
Vitamins – A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B13, C, E and K
Minerals. – calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium (trace only) and zinc.
- 500gm chickpea flour
- water (1.5 l)
- 10 gm finely chopped parsley
- Black pepper
The principal ingredient of panelle is chickpea flour. The flour is mixed with water, salt and pepper until it becomes lump-free. The mixture is then placed on a low heat, finely chopped parsley added and stirred continuously to avoid it sticking to the pan. When it has the consistency of thick runny cream it is poured onto a plate or tray (coffee saucers are often used since the size of the panelle will be ideal for placing in a bread roll). The mix should be about 3mm (1/10 inch) thick.
Allow to cool and refrigerate till ready to cook.
The panelle may be cut into shapes (squares, triangles etc) about 2 cm x 4 cm, or left round if left to set on a small saucer, and deep fried in vegetable oil till golden brown.
Remove excess oil from the panelle with paper towels, place 3 or 4 in a bread roll, squeeze lemon juice over the panelle and eat while hot.