These crispy, spicy bean cakes make an amazing appetizer served with a drizzle of za'atar and lemon yogurt sauce. We've used black chickpeas here but you coulld substitute other dried beans. This recipe is an adaptation of a genius recipe by the incredibly talented  Yewande Komolafe and published in the New York Times. Her use of cornstarch to give these bean cakes their crispy texture is nothing short of brilliant. Look for her upcoming book of Nigerian recipes, it's sure to be amazing.

Preparing Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas

So that you always have chickpeas on hand for a recipe I highly recommend cooking the entire bag when you get them, draining completely, laying out on a kitchen towel to cool and then freezing them in an airtight container. At this point they can be scooped out of the container by the cupful for recipes. 


2 cups of cooked black garbanzo beans, drained

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 

1/4 cup sliced scallions

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon harissa No. 1

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 lemon 

1 egg beaten

1 cup full fat yogurt

1/4 teaspoon za'atar 

For The Chickpea Cakes

In a mixing bowl, smash the chickpeas with back of a fork or a potato masher leaving large chunks and some chickpeas whole. Add the parsley, scallions, cornstarch, harissa, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the beaten egg and fold in until completely incorporated. 

Heat an iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan over medium heat and drizzle enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is heated enough to sizzle, add the bean mixture in heaping spoonfuls, flattening them with the back of your spoon an cooking on each side until they are crispy and starting to brown. 

 Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with lemon zest and flaky finishing salt like Pacific Flake. Serve on a plate drizzled with yogurt sauce and extra harissa. 

For Yogurt Sauce

Combine yogurt and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a bowl, top with lemon zest, sprinkle with za'atar. 

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