Quick and easy Chickpea Socca Flatbread. This recipe makes a great addition to any meal. Use it as a pizza base, wrap up your falafels, dip in your curry or make some healthy tacos - the options are limitless! It's naturally healthy, high in protein, gluten-free and 100% plant-based.
In this recipe post I will give you all the information you need to be able to make this deliciously versatile chickpea socca flatbread at home.
I make a twist to the classic socca recipe by adding different spices. This chickpea flatbread can be your go-to, any-time-of-day recipe. Learn how to make it off-by-heart and it might just be one of those recipes that changes your life!
What is socca flatbread
Socca is a popular street food originating in Nice and the neighbouring Italian coastline. It's an unassuming pancake made out of chickpea flour and olive oil. Socca is quick to cook, cheap to eat and incredibly satisfying.
The Interesting History of Socca
Legend has it that the recipe for socca was discovered when the Turks attacked the city of Nice in 1543. When they ran out of ammunition, the Niçois mixed hot oil with chickpea soup and poured it down off the top of the walls and onto the heads of the invaders. Apparently, it stopped the invading Turks in their tracks and when the defenders licked their fingers they thought – “Hey, this stuff is pretty good! We could probably even sell it!”
It was in the early 1900s (when socca was no longer needed for military purposes) that it really started to gain popularity as a quick snack sold by mobile market traders. These could be taken to the port in the early morning for the fishermen, then later in the day, rolled over to where other labourers were working. It was a nourishing and inexpensive Niçois fast food.
The origins of socca
Socca’s origin is disputed by different towns, cities and even countries. To the Genoese, it’s called farinata and is served as an alternative to freshly baked focaccia. To the Marseillais, it’s known as panisse, and the batter is set and cut before frying. You can find versions of socca in cities across Sardinia, Gibraltar, Algeria and Argentina. India has a similiar traditional recipe called pudla.
The likely story is that all of these cities – busy, hungry port cities – swapped recipes with one another somewhere along the line and forgot to keep track! It's a beautiful example of how one simple ingredient and technique can be influenced in so many ways through travel and cultural differences.
Basic Ingredients you will need to make chickpea socca flatbread
The beauty of socca is that it takes only three main ingredients to make the basic version: chickpea flour, water and olive oil.
- Chickpea flour
- Olive oil
What is chickpea flour
Chickpea flour is full of protein, but no gluten proteins. It needs more time to hydrate than all-purpose flour, which is why socca batters require a rest before cooking. Expect a nutty, beany taste with a delightfully toasty aroma.
What is the difference between chickpea flour and besan?
Besan or gram flour is a flour of chana dal or split brown chickpeas. Chickpea flour or garbanzo flour is made from white chickpeas. Both have similar flavor and behavior but enough difference that a substitution can sometimes mess up a recipe.
Chickpea flour is the flour of white chickpeas and is labelled as chickpea flour or garbanzo bean flour.
Besan is usually much finer ground and needs much less water than chickpea flour.
White Chickpea flour is a coarse flour and usually will need more water to make same consistency batter. It also yields a dryer result on baking or other kind of use.
How to make chickpea socca flatbread
Follow the step by step instructions with pictures below.
Chickpea Socca Flatbread
- Weighing scales
- Mixing bowl
- Storage container
- Frying pan - non stick
To make the flatbread batter
To cook the flatbreads
- 20 ml Olive oil 10ml per portion to cook
To make the flatbread batter
- Assemble all ingredients.
- Add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl; Add the chickpea flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt and turmeric.
- Whisk all the dry ingredients together until well combined.
- Add in the water and olive oil.
- Whisk until smooth.
- Transfer to storage container or bottle.
- Allow to rest for 30 minutes before cooking.
To cook the chickpea socca flatbreads
- Add a splash of olive oil to the frying pan - pre-heat the pan.
- Add 100ml of the chickpea batter.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
- Transfer to paper towel to absorb excess oil.
- Serve whole or cut into pieces.
- Simply add the water, olive oil and all dry ingredients to blender.
- Blend on medium - high speed for 30 seconds until everything smooth.
- Transfer to container or bottle to store and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
ADD YOUR OWN RECIPE NOTES
For the best results, make the batter the day before and allow to rest in the fridge. Mix or shake well before cooking your flatbreads.
What to serve socca flatbreads with?
Socca is delicious all on its own, but you can serve it warm from the pan with some hummus and olives as an easy appetizer. For a light and easy dinner, serve socca slices with a simple green salad, caramelized onions and sauté wild mushrooms.
Socca makes a superb gluten-free pizza base or use it as a replacement for toast on your morning breakfast plate. It's delicious served with falafels or as a side dish to dip in your curry. You can probably eat socca with almost anything!
Recipe variations and ideas
- Use different spice blends, such as Moroccan or Indian.
- Use it as a healthy socca pizza base and add your favourite toppings.
- Great side dish for curries, dals and stews.
- It makes a great wrap or soft taco shell.
- Serve as part of a mezze platter.
- Beautiful as savoury breakfast pancakes.
Optional extras I add to the socca batter are:
- Rice flour - extra pliability
- Turmeric - extra colour
- Baking powder - extra bounce
You can also try adding different spices such as:
- Curry powder
- Smoked paprika
- 5 spice
- Garam masala
Try making a sweet socca by adding:
- Cacao powder
How to store chickpea socca flatbread
Freshly made socca flatbread has the best flavor and texture. I prefer to store the chickpea batter instead of the cooked socca flatbread. The batter can be refrigerate for up to 2 days, and then cook the socca as needed.
Socca flatbread is best served fresh from the frying pan. You can however store them cooked in the fridge for up to 2 days. It would be best to warm through a little bit before serving.
Health benefits and nutrition
Chickpeas are a fantastic source of protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber. Read more about the nutritional content of chickpeas here