A fritter made from chickpea flour might sound a little bit too normal to make a big deal out of it. Well, my friend Fabrizio of Eat and Walk Palermo will very passionately tell you that chickpea fritters or paneddi (Sicilian dialect) are far from normal. Palermo is a city known to have some of the best street foods in the world and these chickpea fritters have stood the test of time.
Arabic History of Paneddi
The history of paneddi the famous chickpea fritters of Palermo dates back to the Arab domination of the island. Chickpea fritters were a perfect way to create something nourishing to eat for Arab travelers. Chickpea flour is cheap and once it is made into fritters it will travel well as the Arabs set off to conquer foreign lands. This is the short but tasty version of how chickpea fritters made their way to the street food markets of Palermo.
Mercato Ballarò | Street Foods of Palermo
There are a few varieties of paneddi that you’ll find around Palermo. However, there is no place better to eat them than at Palermo’s world-famous Mercato Ballarò. This is a truly authentic experience since you’ll be walking the streets with the locals that frequent this amazing gastronomic mecca every day. Mercato Ballarò is a treasure trove for foodies and chefs alike. At every corner and at every turn in the road, there is something tempting to eat! Mercato Ballarò is a place where Fabrizio thoroughly enjoys taking tour groups for an amazing Sicilian culinary adventure. On the last Tavola Tours trip to Sicily, he guided our group through an educational and delectable afternoon at the market.
How to Make and Eat Paneddi
Paneddi is very simple but they have a cult following in Palermo. You will find chickpea fritters quickly fried and salted. Then you can continue to enjoy them as you stroll Mercato Ballarò.
Also, you will see them as a sandwich. Yes, a sandwich! It is common to eat them between two pieces of bread with a few tangy squeezes of lemon juice on them. Either way, they are definitely a special treat for visitors to eat when in Palermo. Paneddi offers tourists a taste that will transport them back in time to the Arabic domination of Sicily’s ancient past.
The video below offers a great opportunity the see firsthand how you can make chickpea fritters at home. The recipe is quite simple to make and it is shown in sequence as the video plays.
Chickpea Fritters | Street Food of Palermo, Sicily
Also, please check the Sicilian Pizza | Palermo Homestyle Cooking video. It has some great music too.
You can follow Fabrizio out his Instagram page where he shares the food and culture of his beloved island of Sicily.