Saturday, 7 July 2012

Hot Oriental Chick!

Insalata Orientale di Ceci, Couscous e Crespini
Oriental Chick-Pea, Barberry and Couscous Salad

Time for something light and spicy again- and a long overdue chick-pea dish to enjoy! Especially as this is practically cooking-free! The whole thing can be made and ready in just 10 minutes and then just needs to cool a while before serving! And we all like the sound of that on a hot Summers night, don't we?

Chick-peas are delicious, healthy... and so convenient if you use the canned kind- which I recommend. Soaking the dried ones over night may be more traditional... but let's face it- they are still not fresh! So, pre-cooked, canned chick-peas are our friends! And this is just one of many things we can prepare with them... to share with our other friends!

First things first- the couscous. I started off by soaking the couscous together with a good sprinkle of barberries, plenty of finely chopped mint, parsley and a little onion, with boiling water in order for it to cook and for those flavors to combine. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, lemon juice, sesame oil and a little ground cumin. Easy. After 10 minutes, it was "cooked"- fluffy and light and ready to go. I wanted to keep the couscous simple, as the chick-peas would be the main flavor bringers... and as soon as I had poured the boiling water on the couscous and given it a stir- I got busy with them with no further ado!

I drained the chick-peas well and heated some sesame oil in my frying pan. In went some finely chopped garlic, a little grated ginger and then the chick-peas, which I immediately stirred to get them coated on all sides with oil. I then added some Ras el Hanout spice- a good tablespoonful for a whole can of peas. It is spicy but not hot- just lovely and flavorful. To add a bit of spice, I added some coarsely ground black pepper. I seasoned with salt and a little lemon juice, as well as the faintest trickle of honey- just to let them caramelize a little. And that was it! Once the heat was off, I added another little bit os sesame oil as a dressing and then added them to the couscous.

I served mine on a bed of arugula, garnished with a few scrapings of lemon zest and finished with a little squeeze of lemon juice... perfect for the hot weather! I think you are going to like this!

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