There are many many flours to choose from when you start looking into the world of gluten free, and it can be very confusing. All the flours, starches, additives and gums will leave you in a tizzy. So let me explain that this particular flour blend by Bob's Red Mill makes a fine medium for savory dumplings, because it is made with chickpea flour and fava bean flour, two very savory flavors. I tried making an apple cake with this same flour, and no, I did not like the chickpea taste in the middle of my apples and cinnamon! But for savory applications, it's a winner. And the extra protein of the beans, as opposed to rice flours alone, give an added "bite" to the dumplings, saving them from over starchy sogginess. You may choose to put together your own chickpea flour blend, but as for me, in this case, I let convenience win...thank you, Bob's Red Mill. And one more thing, I have made this without the xanthum gum, producing spaetzle that was a bit soggy. Just a bit of xanthum made a big difference by keeping the dumplings "tighter" in the brief simmer.
The tool of the spaetzle trade is a "spaetzle maker", that metal large holed flat surface thing you see in the picture. And it comes with a well that I find easier to work without, hence it does not appear in the image here. If you do not have a spaetzle maker, you can use a colander with large holes, though your dumplings will still be a bit small, but very delicious. And also, you should have a strainer ready to quickly scoop the clouds out of the water when their very brief simmer is done.
Typically, nókedli is served with Paprikás Chicken, or a Pörkölt (meat paprika stew) of chicken or pork. Either of these are beyond amazing Hungarian preparations that offer plenty of unctuous meaty goodness to bring out the csárdás (a Hungarian dance) in me. And I will, one day, blog those recipes as well, promise.
But today, I am serving "clouds" vegetarian style, with sauteed asparagus, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. And let me just say that my husband, upon loading a fork full into his mouth, said this meal would make him want to go vegetarian. Yep, it's good!
Makes 4-6 servings
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Mix( a chickpea and fava bean flour blend)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xanthum gum (optional, but I recommend it)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp water
2-3 Tbsp butter or olive oil
Measure flour, xanthum gum and salt into a medium bowl and mix well. Make a well in the center. Add the eggs and almost all the water, and stir. Add enough more water until it becomes about the consistency of peanut butter. Cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes to allow the chick pea flour to absorb the water. It will thicken slightly upon resting and may require a bit more water.
In a medium pot, bring 4 quarts of well salted water to a boil. Have a strainer ready to pull the dumplings out of the water, a cup of cold water (to stop the cooking quickly), and a bowl with 1/2 the butter (or olive oil) to receive the cooked spaetzle. The rest of the butter will be added when they are all cooked and ready to serve.
While the water is simmering, working in batches, strain the dough through the spaetzle maker (see picture), dropping tiny "blobs" of dough into the water while running a spatula over the surface of the metal to cut the dough as it slides through. Only do 1/2 of the batter at a time, giving the water a quick stir to make sure the dumplings don't collect into a larger dumpling blob! The dumplings only need about 1-1 1/2 minutes to simmer. They will rise to the top when cooked; I always give them an added 30 seconds just to make sure they are all cooked. If the pot starts to boil over, pour in a bit of the cold water to prevent a spill over.
Scoop the spaetzle, and with a shake, let the excess water drain out. Place into the serving bowl that has 1/2 the butter. When all the dumplings are cooked and strained, add the rest of the butter (or oil), and gently stir being careful not to break or over mix them. Add salt if necessary.
Serve alone as an accompaniment to a saucy meal, with feta cheese or cottage cheese, with sauteed vegetables as seen here, or with a vinegary cucumber salad...or all of the above!