Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Chickpeas. Love 'em.

For many years I've been told about how good dried legumes are compared to their tinned counterparts: they’re cheaper, easy and the taste and texture are second to none. But I always put dried legumes in the too-hard basket and bought the tinned variety instead. Chickpeas are my favourite, I eat them all the time (I eat them out of the tin!), so finally I decided to give the dried ones a shot. I discovered how genuinely easy it is: I just put my chickpeas on to soak before I go to bed, and then cook them up in the pot for 20-30 mins while I get ready to go to work and they’re done. There is no big change to my routine and no “extra time” required. Even if I forget them for a few days, it’s no big deal – they just keep soaking.

For a mid-afternoon snack, I love hommus on crackers, pita crisps or with celery or carrot sticks. It takes about 5 minutes to whip this up and stores in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Quick and easy hommus

3/4 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight, cooked + 80 ml water
400 g can chickpeas, drained, half the fluid reserved.
1½ tablespoons tahini
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tsp olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic

You could also add: Cumin, chili flakes, smoked paprika, dukkah, parsley, coriander

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Make your own pita crisps:

I usually have pita bread on hand, but sometimes I notice it’s getting towards its used by date fast so I turn them into pita crisps. Once cool, store your pita crisps in an air tight container or ziplock back for up to 5 days .

Cut your pita bread up into chip-sized triangles. Place on a tray, spray lightly with spray oil, sprinkle with salt and bake for 5-7 minutes at 180°C. For a super-healthy low-sodium version, you can just place your pita triangles on the tray without oil or salt (but, I am a massive salt fiend so this personally isn’t my preferred option!). Be sure to watch your pita crisps carefully as they can brown very quickly.

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