By Mireille Bourgeois
The chickpea (or garbanzo bean) is the first bean I was introduced to before becoming vegetarian. I was around 13 at the time and we were living with my aunt Pauline who has many food sensitivities and was making végé-paté with chickpeas on the side.
When she gave me a taste it engrained in my mind as a wholly unique taste and texture (to me, at that time), it was one of those food-defining moments. In French chickpea is “Pois Chiche” and it wasn’t uncommon for me to ask her every now and then to make me that “chiche-bean thing” that I tasted that one time, etc. When I was recovering from my eating disorder the chickpea was the only food I could mentally handle, and so I made endless amounts of hummus with carrots, which was my diet for a while until I could introduce other foods into my diet. I’m grateful for the chickpea, it’s amazing source of protein, and zinc. In case you care as much as I do, it offers a very high level of dietary fibre, can lower cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, and is a source of calcium almost as high as a glass of milk or a serving of yogurt.
Its used to make falafels and hummus, and chickpea flour is used to make flatbread, or coat and batter veggies before frying, this magical bean can also be fermented into some kind of alcoholic drink AND is still grown in some parts of the world as a replacement for coffee beans! Coffee from chickpeas! Who knew? Ah oui, le Pois Chiche. You my friend, are fabulous. For me, chickpeas go hand in hand with beautiful and colorful spices: paprika, turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne oh those colors!
So I made three chickpea recipes.
Chana masala (serves two)
I pretty much followed the recipe I found here since it was my first time making it. I think next time I’ll put less Cumin. Cumin has this weird effect on me, it numbs my tongue if I put too much in and I can’t taste the other spices. It’s not an allergic thing, I think it’s more that it’s one of those spices that should be savored, not in the forefront of the taste palette. Technically, “they” say that if you change three of the main ingredients in the recipe and add or change one of the techniques, the recipe is yours! So maybe I’ll try my hand at perfecting this recipe for my tastes.
1 TBS olive oil for frying
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
1/2 TBS coriander rub
1 tsp ground cumin (I would put less in next time, maybe 1/2tsp)
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground curry (I think I’ll use Tumeric next time, I didn’t have any but the original recipe called for it.)
1/2 pint chopped tomatoes (I used plum tomatoes for their sweet-taste)
1/2 cup water
13-ounce cooked chickpeas
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt1 TBS lime juice (I’ll try adding a bit more of the lime juice next time. I enjoy a citrus in my spicy foods.)
In a pan, cook the onion until soft and a bit caramelized. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute or so until aromatic. Stir in the coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Cook briefly, for about half a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for about five minutes or until tender. Then add the chickpeas and water, bring the mixture to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Add the paprika, garam masala, salt and lime juice and cook for about 10 minutes. Then eat it up!
Roasted and spiced crunchy chickpeas
I love my salt and I love crunchy snacks! So much that I’ve had to consciously limit my popcorn intake. So I’m always roasting grains and seeds and making little salty snacks like this one.
3 cups chickpeas (cooked)
2-3 tbs olive oil
1½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp curry powder (the recipe asked for turmeric but I didn’t have any.)
1 tsp mustard seeds (I used a pickle mix of spices which had mustard seeds in it.)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp paprika (I will be trying Hungarian paprika next time for a smokier taste.)
½ tsp raw sugar
1-1½ tsp rock sea salt, coarsely ground
Mix spices well first (all except for salt), then add to chickpeas, then add oil, mix all of it well until chickpeas are coated in that gooey goodness. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet, bake at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes. I recommend tossing them every ten minutes or so so they don’t burn, and push the baking until maybe even 1.5 hours minutes so that they get nice and crispy (but not burnt!!!) There should still be some color on them when you take them out even if dark reddish brown. Toss the salt in the chickpeas in a bowl and let cool. They will get crispy once they cool completely. Then serve as a salty snack. (PS: I’ve also seasoned with just olive oil, garlic and salt and it makes a REALLY good snack too).
I saw a few burger recipes and just made this one up. When I do it again, I’d add a few more chilli pepper flakes, and more lime and orange juice to increase the potency of the flavors.
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup of sprout combination (I used bean sprouts, and small navy bean sprouts, I’d add alfalfa sprouts next time, the white bean ones were a bit too chunky)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Zest and juice of 1/2 an orange
1 1/2tsp of paprika
1tsp of salt (add more if required) & pepper to season
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup masa flour
1 medium red onion
1 tsp chilli flakes
Olive oil to fry patties
I made my own sprouts. Check out this link for details!
Fry onions until golden or caramelized. Blend chickpeas, paprika, lime and orange juice and zest together in a bowl. Add all ingredients to the chickpea paste except for the masa flour and the corn meal and mix well. In small bowl cover cornmeal with boiling water until it absorbs, then add to chickpeas. Slowly add in the masa flour until mixture becomes easy to handle into patties. Then fry (yes, I said fry, this takes a bit of olive oil to crisp up the patties. So it’s not a uber healthy patty recipe 😉 in a pan until golden on both sides: 3 minutes on each side. I had mine on top of homemade pita bread, crisped and thinly spread with a little mayonnaise and Thai mayonnaise, lettuce, and the patty. Was delicious.