Easy ways with

Chickpeas

Humous, Jordan

Is it a foodie sin to confess to using tinned chickpeas? People I respect, Yottam Ottolenghi for one, insist that cooking your own from scratch is the only way to truly appreciate the wonder of the chickpea.  And yet…

I use tinned, almost always, mostly because on the days I cook with chickpeas I don’t have time for cooking chickpeas! I favour Italian brands, but everything I have tried has been good except for Edgell, which doesn’t  cook its beans long enough.

Cool: Humous

Why would you buy humous when it’s this easy to make. And here’s the secret of the fluffy creamy humous I ate in Jordan. You just have to process the chickpeas way more than you think you need to. So, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Process with a splash or two of water for a full minute. Scrape down the sides, add some more water if it seems too dry, and process for another minute. Is it creamy and fluffy? If not, process a bit longer. Once it’s pale and fluffy add tahini, just a teaspoon at a time, and whizz to combine really well. It’s done. Now make it your own with salt, perhaps lemon juice, a slurp of fruity olive oil, plus or minus a pinch of ground cumin.

Warm: Silver beet with garlic and chickpeas

Fry a clove or two of chopped garlic in a slurp of olive oil over medium heat, then add the washed and shredded  leaves from a bunch of silver beet. Toss in the garlicky oil, then add a splash of water to cook the silver beet. Add half a can of rinsed, drained chick peas, and warm it all through. Once the water has evaporated it’s ready. Top with a drizzle of oil, or crumble over fetta cheese.

Hot: Chickpea and pumpkin potato curry

Fry a sliced onion, a chopped garlic clove and a chopped knob of fresh ginger. Add a dose of your favourite curry powder or paste, fry for a minute, then add half a cup of rinsed and drained red lentils,  a can of chopped tomatoes, and a can of water. Bring to the boil then let it simmer until the lentils are soft and melted. Meanwhile, roast cubes of pumpkin tossed in olive oil in a hot oven until starting to caramelise. When the lentils are soft, add the pumpkin, a rinsed, drained can of chickpeas, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve with fresh coriander leaves, steamed rice, thick yoghurt and your favourite chutneys.

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