Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chickpeas and Me

Ever since I started getting really interested in food, especially healthy, nutritious delectables I've had a weird obsession with pulses - lentils, beans, other foods I can't pronounce but especially chickpeas.

I actually couldn't tell you why I'm so drawn to them, but all I know is I used to harass my poor mother to put them in our weekly dinners, which she did, but evidently not often enough for my 12 yr old liking! So over the years I've made a few chickpea based meals, mostly in vegie curries but I found one day I found the most delicious looking stew from Bill Granger's cookbook Bill's Food. I love Granger's fresh, healthy and light way of cooking. I remember when I was about 14 and I had this tradition that every week I would open up his cookbook and make one of the recipes for my family.

Well this one included chickpeas so I figured it must be good. I've tweaked it a little bit by adding thin slices of sweet red capsicum and small chunks of buttery pumpkin. It's great served with a simple steak but I love just filling up a bowl of it, topping with tangy greek-style yoghurt and small bunches of fresh coriander.

Chickpea and Spinach Sort-Of Stew

2 tbs olive oil
1 finely sliced spanish onion (red onion)
3 finely sliced garlic cloves (Australian garlic is best - it has a stronger flavour than garlic imported from China)
2 teaspoons grated ginger (I tend to add a little bit more)
2 seeded and sliced long green chillis (substitute for 1 red chilli if you want more of a kick)
800g tinned organic chickpeas (rinsed)
1 teaspon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
handful baby spinach leaves
handful of pumpkin chunks (I par cook the chunks in boiling water before frying them to save time)
1/2 a red capsicum, thinly sliced

Heat pan with olive oil over a medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, chillis and fry for a few minutes then add the pumpkin and capsicum, cook a further 5 minutes or so. Combine chickpeas, cumin, turmeric, and 1/4 cup of water. Season with salt and pepper and then let the water evaporate. Add the cherry tomatoes and reduce heat to a simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and stir through the spinach...done!

Hopefully it will get you as addicted to chickpeas as I am.
This is great served warm or cold. Can be kept for up to 4 days, refrigerated in a container.

p.s. I will add photos soon...I think posessing a camera first might be a good idea but I promise I'll get around to it otherwise it takes the fun out of blogging.

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