Thursday, June 4, 2009
SPICY CHICKPEAS FROM 'A FEAST, EVERYDAY'
It's strange where satisfaction is derived from sometimes but chickpeas, boiled or steamed, is certainly where I get it from.
I prefer my chickpeas boiled as opposed to roasted. It is sweeter, juicier and certainly more enjoyable to savour because I could absent-mindedly skin the thin membrane around it while chatting, thinking, watching, reading, moaning, grumbling or just simply revel in the sensation of slipping the thin opaque coating soundlessly off its host before popping the shiny, slippery and bald chickpea into my mouth. It is quite similar to cracking, nibbling and fiddling the shell of sunflower, pumpkin or melon seeds before getting at the minuscule matter inside. It keeps you busy and preoccupied over absolutely nothing.
But it does fill the little void and gaps between the fragile, pompous and more important matters of life just like cotton wool in between jewelry or styro-foam beads between crystal-ware or air bubble sheets between electronic products. Yes. They're absolutely necessary where we come from.
And I knew no other way to prepare chickpeas as a snack except by boiling them and steaming them and then eating them, that is, until I came across A Feast, everyday, a lovely blog that showed me how to turn simple chickpeas into a wonderful, biting, appetizing snack with just a sprinkle(handful) of fragrant curry leaves, some crunchy mustard seeds and rings of piquant snipped dried chillies all thrown in. It makes me say "Now why didn't I think of that?"
It makes me feel warm and ready for a cozy curl up with a good book, with an ice-cold cucumber drink on the side and with some vacant space inside my head so that I could think of nothing else than to eat seasoned tumeric-ed chickpeas from a China bowl with the pungence of the curry leaves curling up, wafting by and tickling my nose and teasing my happy tastebuds. Need I say more?
Thanks to A feast, Everyday, here's the recipe with some very minor adjustments....
500 gm cooked chickpeas, or canned
3-5 dried chillies, snipped into rings
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
a handful of curry leaves
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste
1 tsp chillie powder (optional)
2 Tbsp cooking oil
If you have bought raw chickpeas, rinse them in cold water, let the grit run out and soak overnight. The next morning rinse off the water. The chickpeas would have swelled to twice its size. Boil them in pot of water seasoned with some salt and sugar. The water level should be well above the chickpeas. It will probably take about an hour or more. Test for tenderness.When it is tender all the way through it is done and ready to be fried. Drain the chickpeas and keep aside in a colander.
In a pan large enough, heat up the oil. Fry the dried chillies, until fragrant, drain. Then fry the curry leaves until fragrant and crisp, drain. Fry the mustard seeds until fragrant then add the fried chillies, fried curry leaves, a teaspoon of tumeric powder, the chillie powder, if using, and the chickpeas. Add salt and sugar and stir quickly until just well mixed. Do not fry too long otherwise the chickpeas will get a little tough on the outside. Adjust the salt if necessary and the sugar too.