I often think about such things as chickpeas, and how they’re bypassed for more fashionable legumes, or pulses. But the versatility of chickpeas are their greatest asset. Many, like Yotam Ottolenghi, may stick with the more traditional route, based in Middle Eastern cuisine, but I feel that there is so much more to them.
There are a few variations to chickpeas as well, not just tinned or dried. There is white & green chickpeas, although the white is much more common. Then there is gram flour (ground dried chickpeas); a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistani, Nepali and Bangladeshi cuisines, which also comes in generally two forms: Roasted & Raw.
Nutritionally, chickpeas are a great source of essential vitamins & elements, and according to early research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, may actually help lower blood cholesterol. So what’s not to like? Cheap, last ages, nutritionally great & versatile.
Using dried chickpeas
Many websites & books will tell you how to speed up the soaking process, but personally I prefer to soak overnight with some bicarbonate of soda. The ratio to be looking at for soaking is:
- 250g of chickpeas ~ 800ml water ~ ½ Teaspoon of Bicarb.
Chickpeas: The recipes
Roasted chickpea, asparagus, Serrano ham & lemon salad
This really can be as refined or as rustic as you want, basically it’s just a list of ingredients combined & then dressed with the vinaigrette.
- Roasted, cooked chickpeas ( roast in a thick bottomed pan with a knob of butter, then drain on kitchen paper)
- Cooked asparagus spears.
- Chopped fresh tomato
- Mint leaves
- Honey pickled cucumber (Pickle for 5mins in: 130ml White wine vinegar,65ml White wine, 25ml Water, 1 Tsp Sea salt, 80ml Clear honey)
- Soya (or Broad) beans
- Lemon vinaigrette (150ml Grapeseed oil, 100ml Extra virgin olive oil, 35ml Lemon juice, 12ml Hot water, 2 Lemons, segmented & chopped)
- Serrano ham
Panisse of Chickpeas
Basically, this is based on a dish I had while I was in New York, at a restaurant called Betony. I liked it so much that when I got home, I researched the dish & how to make it. So although this isn’t their recipe it is my version.
- 200g Gram (chickpea) flour
- 225ml Water, cold
- 1 Sprig of rosemary, chopped
Combine all the ingredients and bring to the boil over a medium heat, whilst continually stirring.
Eventually the mixture will thick (a bit like porridge), reduce the heat to a medium – low setting and continue to cook for a further 3minutes.
Pour into a lightly greased tray where the mixture will be at least 1½cm deep. Chill over night to set.
To serve: Cut set mix (should look like cold polenta) in to chip size sticks, dust in gram flour & deep fry, serve with Roasted lemon mayonnaise
Roasted lemon mayonnaise:
- 1 Lemon roasted at 180ºc until lightly brown, scoop out center, remove pips but retain flesh, discard pith but retain skin (finely dice)
- 4 (80g) Egg yolks
- 1 Tsp dijon mustard
- 35ml Cider vinegar
- 650ml Pomace oil
In a jug blender, combine the yolks, mustard, vinegar & the lemon flesh. Purée on a medium speed for 5minutes.
Very slowly add the oil in a fine drizzle initially, to help it incorporate.
When all the oil is added, test for seasoning & add the finely diced roasted lemon skin.
Maple syrup & chickpea ice cream
- 6 (120g) Egg yolks
- 150g Maple syrup
- 700ml Double cream
- 175g Cooked Chickpeas
- 3 Oranges, zested
Whisk the egg yolkes & maple syrup together until pale. Combine the cream with the orange zest, and bring to the boil. Cover and infuse for 30minutes, then bring back to the boil and pour onto the egg yolk / maple syrup mix. Fully incorporate the two mixes and return to a medium heat whilst continually stirring. When the custard reached 82ºC, quickly remove from the heat and pass through a strainer onto the cooked chickpeas. Chill. When the custard is completely cold, purée in a liquidiser & pass through a strainer again. Churn in an ice cream maker, as per their instructions, and use within 2 days.