Chickpea Croquettes and Bulgur Pilaf

This dish was the second recipe we made from our new cookbook, Habeeb Salloum’s Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East & North Africa. It is a collection of hundreds of simple traditional recipes from the Arab world, and has already become one of our favorite cookbooks. This dish originates in the Arabian Gulf, where it’s called Kabab An-Nikhi, or Chickpea Kababs.


Chickpea Croquettes:

  • 1 can (400 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1,2 dl frozen peas
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1,5 dl wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons water (or other replacer for 2 eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or cilantro, which was out of stock in the shops close by)
  • canola oil for frying

First, we mixed wheat flour with baking soda. Then we just placed all the ingredients in a bowl and processed with a hand held mixer until the batter was completely smooth.

Now, Heikki filled a thick wok pan with canola oil, about 4 cm thick layer of it. Then, he spooned the dough by heaping spoonfuls into the oil, and let them fry until golden brown.


Here, croquettes are at different stages of goldness. They need to be turned over once to fry the other side as well. Habeeb Salloum advices that if the croquettes break up in the oil, more flour should be added, but Heikki had no such problems.

After frying, we drained the croquettes on paper towels, and then served with bulgur pilaf, ginger yogurt sauce and tomato relish. This batch made about 22 croquettes.

Bulgur Pilaf:

In his introduction to this recipe, Habeeb Salloum writes that “[burghul] can be employed in every course and in every meal of the day”. This is the way it is cooked in Lebanon and Syria.

This amount is enough for four, but we only cooked a 3/4 portion, and still had enough leftovers for the lunch next day.

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2,4 dl whole wheat bulgur (or burghul)
  • 5 dl water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heikki heated oil in a frying pan and fried the bulgur over medium heat for 3 minutes. then, he stirred in water, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, brought everything to a boil, and covered with a lid. Bulgur was cooked for 25 minutes, and then allowed to steam, covered, until the croquettes were done.