Down on the farm, we love chickpeas in dips, stews, casseroles, curries, soups and salads; or served crushed with garlic, olive oil and herbs as a side vegetable or sandwich spread. Chickpeas are a staple in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian and vegetarian cookery, with as many ways of using them as there are cooks.
|Chickpea and roasted beetroot dip|
PREPARING CHICKPEAS for salad, soups, stews and dips
Very, very easy.
You will need: Medium bowl for soaking; medium saucepan.
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 litre water
½ teaspoon salt
clove garlic, unpeeled and bashed (optional)
½ teaspoon ground pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon white vinegar (optional)
1. Place chickpeas and water in bowl. Soak 6-8 hours (or overnight).
2. To cook, drain chickpeas and place in saucepan; just cover with fresh water.
3. Add other ingredients if desired.
4. Bring to boil uncovered, then drop back to simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes or until peas are soft to bite, but still firm to the touch.
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BASIC CHICKPEA DIP
This easy recipe forms the base of as many dips as your imagination can come up with. It can be made with ½ cup tahini (sesame seed paste) as with traditional hummus, but I prefer to use olive oil for the more neutral flavour or light sour cream especially when adding other flavours such as eggplant, beetroot or herbs. As with hummus, chickpea dips are wonderful when made with freshly cooked hot chickpeas and served warm.
Makes 1½ cups
1 cup pre-cooked chickpeas (400gm can chickpeas will do, but the flavour is slightly different)
½ cup olive oil (or ¼ oil, ¼ cup light sour cream)
salt and fresh pepper
¼ fresh lemon juice
1 - 2 cloves garlic, peeled
1. Puree all together until smooth and thick. If too thick, add a little cooking water from the chickpeas as you continue to puree.
Try stirring in:
- ½ cup diced pan-charred eggplant and 2 cloves roasted garlic
- ½ cup diced fresh parsley and/or chives
- ¼ cup finely diced red salad onion and ¼ cup shredded basil leaves
- ½ cup chopped or pureed pan-charred fresh beetroot
- diced black olives
CHICKPEA DIP with BEETROOT
I can’t resist using beetroot while it is in season and easily available.
Without peeling, thinly slice and pan fry small beetroot until soft and the underside ‘blisters’ (caramelises). Chop and stir through the chickpeas.
|Tastes great and you’ve got to love that colour!|
But my absolute favourite chickpea recipes involve split green olives (Australian olives, of course) marinated in oil with garlic and chilli.
Next time: Chickpeas with green olives, three ways...