Hey everyone, hope you’re winter hasn’t been too challenging so far. I received an amazing cookbook as a Christmas gift this year, and have really been looking forward to trying out one or two recipes from it. I have a hardcore love for Greek food, and I am lucky enough to have a genuine Greek person as a very close friend (who also happens to be an incredible cook). As she is the one who gifted me the cookbook, I felt like I would be remiss not to make good use of it, and expand my Greek cooking repertoire beyond spanikopita!
The book, Culinaria Greece by H.F. Ullman, is more than just a book with a bunch of recipes. It’s like an authentic pictorial travel brochure for Greece and it’s islands, immediately doubling its value by featuring both the recipes themselves and information about the food and the country, too. It is divided according to the various regions of Greece, with each region containing the recipes and food information specific to that region. The recipe that I decided on this time around, revithokeftedes, or chickpea rissoles, is a specialty of the Cyclades, a collection of islands in the Aegean that are part of Greece.
I was drawn to this particular recipe for a few reasons; first, it looked fairly easy to throw together. The ingredients are easy to come by – nothing too exotic – and the actual process of making them seemed low-maintenance as well. If I’m going to venture into culinary waters that are unfamiliar to me, I want it to be a bit of a simpler recipe to help me get a little more experience. Second, all of the ingredients in the recipe are foods that I like. If you’re ever trying out food from another culture, try to find recipes that contain foods that you already enjoy. It can help to make the transition smoother, and you’ll be more adventurous if you really enjoyed your first sampling.
Let me start by saying that no, I can’t really pronounce the name of these either, so don’t feel too bad. But some of you may also be wondering what a rissole is exactly. In this instance, they are something similar to a fritter or fried cake. Having now tasted them, I would say that if you enjoy latkes or potato cakes, you’ll like these as well. Especially if you are fond of chickpeas and/or hummus. I even won over Mr. 5th Food Group, who said they were great, “for being healthy and all.” He was somewhat soothed by the fact that they are fried, despite not containing anything like bacon or cheese or even hot sauce. A few notes I’ll throw in as well; don’t be shy about seasoning these, and don’t worry about adding a little extra flour. It will go a long way in helping to hold them together while they are frying. And although there is one included in the recipe, I would maybe recommend a sauce of some kind to put on these. Because I thought about it at the last minute I was a bit unprepared, but I think these would be amazing with some tzatziki sauce. And the number of rissoles this recipe will yield depends on how big you choose to make them; I got about ten out of the batch I made. P.S. I also cheated and used canned chickpeas, as I am not a big fan of soaking items overnight (again, trying to keep things low-maintenance.)
Just like Mr. 5th Food Group, I thoroughly enjoyed these. They make a great snack or appetizer, and I think if you made them small enough they would be really good with a salad as well. I hope you give this one a go, and if you do please let me know in the comments if you liked them too. I personally am going to keep digging around this awesome cookbook and see what else I may want to whip up next. Have a great week!