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.
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.