Chickpeas are believed to have originated in the Middle East at least 7,500 years ago and were first cultivated in about 3,000BC.
Sometimes called garbanzo beans, today chickpeas are eaten across the globe and are a popular vegetarian staple. High in protein and
fibre and low in cholesterol chickpeas are an important food in any eating plan.
Chickpeas are available in a variety of colours, including green, black, brown, red and the most recognised and popular beige. With their buttery texture and nutty texture they give dishes a unique character.
Chickpeas and legumes are also great for the budget conscious – the other day at the supermarket dried chickpeas were just NZ$6.37 per kilo, however, visit somewhere that sells in bulk and you will probably find them at an even better price – 1 cup about 200g is enough to feed 4-6 people.
Spicy Moroccan Chickpeas
Serve this as a side dish to grilled lamb chops or sausages or as part of a vegetarian meal.
Serves 4 as a main meal or 6 as a side dish
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
½ tsp turmeric
pinch saffron threads
pinch dried red chilli flakes
400g can diced tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
natural yogurt, to serve (optional)
1 Place chickpeas in a large saucepan, cover with cold water by about 5cm. Place over a high heat, cover, bring to the boil, then
reduce heat to simmering.
2 Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, cinnamon stick, ginger,
turmeric, saffron and chilli flakes and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45-60 minutes or until chickpeas are just tender – add more
water during the cooking time, if necessary, the chickpeas should be covered with water throughout the cooking time.
3 If there is still a lot of liquid, remove lid, bring to a brisk
simmer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced – the chickpeas should still be sitting in some liquid, but it should not be excessive.
4 Add tomatoes and mix to combine, bring back to simmering and simmer for 30 minutes longer or until chickpeas are sitting in a thick tomato and vegetable sauce. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in most of the coriander, reserving some for garnishing. To serve, spoon into bowls, top with a dollop of yogurt, if desired, and scattered with remaining coriander.
Happy cooking and eating.
Recipe by Rachel Blackmore
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