“Its name is Garantita,” I told Gloria.
I had made a new dish – kind of like a souffle – using garbanzos. After searching chef Google and finding nothing, I thought, “WOW, this is a totally new dish!”
Next step – name it.
“Hey, wait a sec,” Gloria said.
I could tell she was irritated. Couldn’t figure out why.
“The plan,” she continued, dragging out the word ‘plan,’ “is for us BOTH to come up with possible names, AND THEN discuss them!”
“Sorry no discussion. The name is Garantita.”
“Now wait a minute, Mr Wiseguy . . .”
Suddenly I got it. She thought I was jumping the gun on naming my new garbanzo souffle recipe. “I checked with chef GOOGLE,” I quickly said. “I found a video of a little hole in the wall shop in Algeria. They were serving our garbanzo souffle in sandwiches. It’s called garantita. For the Algerians, it seems to be a national food.”
“Oh,” Gloria said, plopping herself down on a kitchen stool.
“What’s wrong now?”
“Oh Major, I saw the headlines for our next blog – NEWS FLASH! NEWS FLASH! NEWS FLASH! BRAND NEW RECIPE! NEVER EVER BEEN MADE BEFORE!
I patted her shoulder. We exchanged a little hug.
Years ago, early in the time we were learning to eat vegetarian, some friends introduced us to soy souffle. They called it “soy eggs.” They used the souffle in place of scrambled eggs. We found our dish went way beyond a scrambled egg substitute. It became a food staple. We almost always had a container of it in the fridge or freezer.
When Gloria discovered her soy intolerance, it was no more soy eggs for us.
I wasn’t willing to just give up our soy eggs. There must be something to replace it. After all, we almost willy-nilly exchange one kind of bean for another in the recipes we make, depending on what’s in the pantry or freezer. I asked, “Why do the soybeans work? What other bean . . .? Garbanzos – chickpeas.”
I consulted with chef Google. But try as I might, I could not persuade the good chef to part with any helpful information. I asked Gloria, “What do you think? Would garbanzos work in your old soy egg recipe?”
Gloria said, ” It just might. Sounds good. Give it a try. Or, if you don’t feel like you could handle it, I’ll make it.”
With that vote of confidence, I went to the kitchen, rolled up my sleeves to create the first attempt at a garbanzo souffle. I put the garbanzos into a bowl of water to soak. Next morning, I whizzed up the beans and baked the garantita. Then left for the University to grade exams and teach.
When I returned home for lunch, Gloria had picked up where I left off. There on my plate was her creation – a baking-powder biscuit topped with a square of the garantita, some of our sage seitan, ‘sausage’ gravy, strips of roasted red pepper, garnished with parsley. I snapped a picture. Then, demolished the whole filling, satisfying sandwich with my fork.
The gravy is made by taking a cup of our cashew gravy base, adding two mashed slices of our sage seitan, and 1 teaspoon of our chicken seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon ground grains of paradise.
Since making that first batch, I found through yet another consultation with chef Google that I had made a dish similar to Algerian garantita. The chef knows all, but one has to plug in the right words to get out the best results. It was flavored differently, and Algerians preferred to cook it slightly less than I had done.
The Algerian version started with garbanzo flour instead of the soaked beans and was flavored with cumin. In Algeria, people make their own garantita or throng to the local fast food emporium to buy garantita sandwiches topped with harissa sauce. Harissa sauce is a very hot chili sauce used all over North Africa.
- 1 cup dry garbanzo beans, soaked
- 3 cups water
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
- 4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground sage
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ⅓ teaspoon grains of paradise, ground
- Sort and wash the garbanzos.
- Soak the garbanzos overnight in 3 cups of water.
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
- Put everything into a blender and blend thoroughly at the highest speed. This high-speed blending will also tend to incorporate some air making the garantika lighter.
- Grease a 10 x 14 inch glass dish and pour the mix from the blender into the pan.
- Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a table knife inserted near the center comes out cleanly.
We like to use 1½ teaspoons of black salt instead of the sea salt. Gives a very different, eggy, flavor.
I tried making Harissa sauce . . . Oh well — garantita IS good with our hot pepper.
I was so excited with Gloria’s sandwich, I took a picture, printed it, and posted it on the bulletin board outside my office. The students in my 10 AM class were decidedly unappreciative. They stood staring longingly at it with mugs of coffee and donuts in hand saying to me, “You are so cruel!”
Have you ever been to Algeria and tried garantita there? How does it compare to ours?