Socca: gluten free chickpea bread
I’m laughing while writing this article, I can’t help but remember the hilarious memes about recipe articles, like this one or this one. Ok I agree, sometimes it’s annoying when you look for a recipe and have to make it through paragraphs of prose and personal life, but that’s what blogs are about. All this to say that I can’t help it, I need to give a little context to my recipe since this blog is not a food blog. So if you’re not a regular reader and you just found this article through Google or Pinterest, you can skip the next part, the recipe is on the bottom of the page.
Through this year of traveling, I lost track of my healthy eating habits. I was still mindful about what I was eating, but I also wanted to indulge on local food and sometimes it was just not possible to find healthier options. And then we came back to Morocco and it was Ramadan. Daily delicious Moroccan feasts along with a letting-go-no-pressure mindset led to few added kilos.
Now I’m back on track, eating healthier on a daily basis and indulging from time to time when we’re hosting or hosted. I work out and practice yoga regularly and I already feel much better body and mind.
The first thing that I do when I want to eat healthier is to cut the gluten and sugar. I’m not intolerant, but it pushes me to eat more vegetables and healthy grains, instead of relying on bread and pasta. So when I discovered this recipe on a documentary about the French Riviera, I was thrilled! Socca is a chickpea flour bread, chickpea is naturally gluten-free and it’s just a matter of adding salt and water basically. It’s also vegan, dairy-free, high-protein and most importantly, extremely delicious.
The recipe comes originally from Nice in France, and it’s cooked and served in an enormous skillet that goes into a wood-fired oven. You can still find it in some farmers markets around the French Riviera.
Where to find Chickpea or garbanzo flour in Morocco?
Anywhere in the world, chickpea flour is available on amazon and almost all the organic grocery stores, Whole Foods or the gluten free flour sections of your supermarket.
In Morocco you can buy or order it online at Green Village or Life Sprout. If you live in Rabat, I found a cheaper option here (the store at Guich Loudaya next to BIM) 35 dhs for 500g. If you have a good processor you can try to make it at home, it’s tedious but cheaper. Here is a method: here, but the result will be a little more coarse than a store bought flour. I’m not sure how it will affect the recipe.
Here is the recipe now :-))
Socca – Authentic and Traditional Mediterranean Recipe
- 1 cup chickpea flour (130g)
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for the pan and drizzling
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (to taste)
- 2 teaspoons of za’atar or rosemary (optional but highly recommended)
- Prepare the chickpea batter. Whisk the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt and a tsp of za’atar or rosemary together in a bowl until smooth. Let it rest for 30 minutes to give the flour time to absorb the water.
- Preheat the oven and then the pan. Arrange an oven rack 15 centimeters below the broiler element and heat to 230°C. About 5 minutes before the batter is done resting, place a 25 centimeters cast iron skillet in the oven and turn the oven to broil. If you’re in Morocco it’s the harcha skillet. I tried with a regular pan; it works too but it’s less crispy ont the outside and soft on the inside.
- Add the batter to the prepared pan. Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Add about 1 teaspoon of oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan when the pan is swirled. Pour the batter into the center of the pan. Tilt the pan so the batter coats the entire surface of the pan, if needed.
- Broil the socca for 8 to 12 minutes (may change depending on your oven). Broil until you see the top of the socca begin to blister and brown, 5 to 8 minutes. The socca should be fairly flexible ìn the middle but crispy on the edges. If the top is browning too quickly before the batter is fully set, move the skillet to a lower oven rack until done.
- Slice and serve. Use a flat spatula to work your way under the socca. Slice it into wedges or squares, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with the za’atar or rosemary if using.
- How to eat socca? It’s delicious on its own, and a good bread replacement if you prefer a savoury breakfast. But you can also use it as a pizza dough, or with your favourite topping like an open sandwich. I personally love serving it in a mezze inspired style set with a cottage cheese dip, garlic black olives, marinated tomatoes, cucumbers, hard boiled eggs and olive oil for brunch.