A few years ago, when I was just beginning my quest to cut down on meat at home, one of my daughters walked in the door and said she had a vision. Just replace it with chicken, crispy chickpeas.
The chicken Caesar salad is a family favourite, and crispy chickpeas have been popular lately, so her suggestion made a lot of sense. After the drained and dried chick was fried in oil, I added cayenne, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and put it in the salad. One of the first things I tell them when I’m asked for advice is to make friends with chickpeas aka garbanzos, grams, sessi, and chana. I’m thinking humble legumes that are packed with protein in a way that makes sense. Two more examples…
antipasto pizza — Chickpeas (completely drained and dried) tossed with broccolini, onions, olive oil, salt and pepper and layered on a pizza crust topped with provolone mozzarella. (If you need to convince meat-eating holdouts, including yourself, add a dash of Genovese salami. It will start bubbling in about 15 minutes.
Crispy chickpeas with yogurt — You can take the same crispy chickpeas from your Caesar salad and make them the star of your plate. Top them with yogurt and tamarind sauce and serve with rice. It can be said that it qualifies as a meal that I love to death.
And just as I gravitated toward cookbook chicken recipes, I now flip through the index and look for chickpea-driven ideas first. Case in point: Vasudha Viswanath’s new book vegetarian reset, This is a great worldwide collection of vegan and vegetarian dishes. A chickpea-centric recipe I’ve already heard about? Tagine with lemon herb cauliflower rice. paella; falafel salad; and Sundal, a spiced coconut-flavored stir-fry she was kind enough to share with us.
from vegetarian reset
Mr Vasudha said: A simple tadka of mustard seeds, green chillies, curry leaves, hin and coconut really enhances this dish. We also recommend serving this as a main on a bed of vegetables.
1 heaping cup of dried chickpeas soaked overnight or 2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2 tablespoons avocado oil, or other neutral oil
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds (yellow mustard seeds are less spicy, but can be substituted)
2 green Indian, jalapeno, or Thai chili peppers, chopped
10-15 fresh curry leaves, chopped or whole 20-30 dry curry leaves, crushed
½ tsp Vladdal
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hin, also known as yellow powder)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1½ tsp salt
3 tablespoons fresh or frozen shredded coconut or unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1 tablespoon lemon juice
If using dried chickpeas, mix with 3 cups water in pressure cooker and cook until done (about 7 minutes in Instant Pot, quickly release pressure after 5 minutes). Beans should be cooked, but crunchy. Skip this step if using canned chickpeas.
Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add oil and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start popping, reduce the heat to medium and add the chilli, curry leaves, urado dal and asafoetida. Cook until urad dal is light golden brown, 1 minute. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add chickpeas and salt, mix well, and simmer for 2-3 minutes until cooked through. Do not overheat.
Turn off heat, add coconut and lemon juice and mix well. while it’s hot.
PS Start with a dinner of 10 topped with lentil salad and eggs.