Spaetzle

16 Mar

Spaetzle means little sparrow in German but no, these are not little sparrows to be eaten, thank goodness! Spaetzle is the name given to a kind of homemade noodle which the southern Germans serve as an accompaniment to their meat dishes and with gravy. The noodle can also be served as a main course. In this case, it is topped with melted cheese and roasted onions and is called Käsespätzle (cheese spaetzle) or when there is leftover spaetzle from a previous meal, the leftovers are stir-fried with some meat, veggies and egg or whatever is left in the pantry. This little noodle has crossed borders and is also served as an accompaniment in Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, in the Alsace region of France which borders Germany and in the northern part of Italy which borders Austria.

When I came to Germany, I fell in love with spaetzle, bought myself a spaetzle press and re-created these at home. There is absolutely no comparison between homemade spaetzle and the dried packaged version. Just doesn’t taste the same. If I had a choice between having spaetzle or potatoes with my meal, I would invariably choose Spaetzle.

Spaetzle can look quite different depending on the spaetzle press you use. It could come out in strips about 4 cm (about 1 1/2 inches) long …

…or in little knobs or buttons.

In the latter case, they are called Knoepfle which means little buttons. I have both types of presses but have had more success using the ‘button’ press.

Like all pasta and other types of noodles, the main ingredient is some kind of flour, whether it be wheat, spelt, buckwheat, rice or durum wheat, all of which spell out loud – CARBS! If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I discovered Shirataki noodles some time ago. I  ordered a huge box containing 30 packets and am by now a bit Shirataki-ed out. So when I found this recipe which said Low Carb Spaetzle here in German and found I possessed all the ingredients to make it, I immediately printed out the recipe and whipped  this up. There was no nutritional information given. Only after I made the spaetzle did I realize that it couldn’t be so low-carb when the recipe called for 200gr of chickpea flour. I put the ingredient list through the nutritional calculator on Spark Nutrition which I use frequently and to my dismay, saw that one portion contained 19.9gr carbs! So really, this recipe has no place here on my blog.  I then checked out the nutritional information for my normal spaetzle recipe and one portion has 49.2gr carbs.

But … I am still going to post this recipe because it turned out really well, tasted good and well, once in a while you’ve got to give yourself a treat,so why not a treat which already has less than half the carbs in a normal spaetzle portion? Besides, I tried a spaetzle recipe using soy flour and it was a flop – so it’s back to this spaetzle recipe for me.

This recipe is a translation taken from the forum linked above. The author says the recipe makes enough for 3-4 persons when served as an accompaniment but for my family, it looked like it could serve 5-6. I’ve calculated nutritional information based on 6 servings. I’ve also just noticed that the liquid used is milk but I didn’t see that and used water instead, so you can try both.

For this recipe you will need a spaetzle press. It is also possible to make spaetzle without a press but it seems a laborious job to me and is probably for those who know how. I used a spaeztle press which looks like this. I think I read somewhere on the German forum that it didn’t work so well with the other type of press.

Chickpea Flour Spaetzle (serves 6)

2 Eggs, beaten and topped up with milk to 250 ml

1 Tsp salt

50gr gluten

200gr chickpea flour (also called gram or besan flour)

2 Tbsp olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add some olive oil and salt to the water.

Now start preparing your batter. Mix everything in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.

You should get a relatively thick, sticky, gluey dough which adheres to your wooden spoon.

When your water is boiling, put the spaetzle maker over the pot and working quickly, put in as much of the dough as you can into the container.

Start pushing the container back and forth over the sieve and the batter will drop into the water in little drops. They will rise to the surface when cooked. This happens really quickly. If your pot is not big enough or if you can’t work quickly enough, stop and scoop out the cooked spaetzle before proceeding with the rest of the batter. I find this batter much easier to work with than the normal spaetzle batter containing flour.

And voila, one part of dinner is ready.

Enjoy!

Nutritional Facts – per serving if recipe serves 6

Total cal – 229.8 kcal; Fat – 9.1 gr; Carbohydrates – 19.9 gr; Protein – 16.3 gr.

As a comparison, my normal spaetzle recipe which uses 400gr flour, 4 eggs, salt and water and also serves 6, has per serving:

Total cal – 279.3 kcal; Fat – 4.3 gr; Carbohydrates – 49.2 gr; Protein – 11 gr.

Update 25/09/2011 – I just made Spaetzle today and instead of using 200 gr chickpea flour, I used 150gr chickpea flour and 50gr soy flour. It worked and tasted so good with my Hungarian Gulasch. If the whole recipe serves 6, then it works out to 13.9gr net carbs and if it serves 4, then its 20.8 gr net carbs. Next time, I’ll try 100 gr chickpea flour and 100 gr soy flour. 

Note: the alteration above does not appear on the link below so make the adjustment if you wish to use soy flour.

Print this recipe – Chickpea Flour Spaetzle

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4 Responses to “Spaetzle”

  1. Nikki Parry-Wulff July 20, 2012 at 13:11 #

    Hi there 🙂 I’ve had spaetzle once on vacation and LOVED it!!! As I am now on lo-carb there is no way I’m going to indulge. I was wondering: do you think maybe that using coconut flour might work?? Best regards from (wondrously dry) Amsterdam x

    • franinmunich July 20, 2012 at 13:38 #

      Hi Nikki,
      I’ve never tried making my spaetzle with coconut flour but I do know from baking cakes that your result will end up tasting ‘coconutty’, just like the spaetzle from this recipe tastes ‘chickpeaey’. If you do want to try it, do remember that coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid so you can’t use 200gr. What you could do is try making the dough with less chickpea flour. Then put in coconut flour tablespoon by tablespoon till you get the gluey consistency. If you have never ever made spaetzle, you should try my recipe or the regular flour recipe first so that you’ll understand what the dough should look like. Don’t let your coconut batter stand as it will thicken even more. Good luck!

  2. Anna July 25, 2012 at 21:22 #

    I’ve been avoiding trying soy flour because I’ve heard it tastes awful. Is it that bad?

    • franinmunich July 25, 2012 at 21:29 #

      Hi Anna,
      I honestly don’t think the taste of soy flour is awful. There are worse things like vanilla whey protein. In my low carb spaetzle recipe, you will notice the chickpea flour more than the soy flour – I don’t like a strong chickpea taste which is why I mix it with soy flour. I make pasta using only soy flour and gluten, and with a sauce, you really don’t notice anything. Give it a try. I think it all depends on your taste buds.

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