Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Rice of the Humble Chickpea

Riso Fritto con Cocco, Ceci Marrone e Fagiolina al Curry
Curried Coconut Fried-Rice with Brown Chickpeas & Runner Beans

If I were to say to you "fried rice", you would almost definitely think in the terms of something Chinese. Tasting of msg and soy and little else.  And probably greasy. Which would be a real shame... because what you could be thinking about could be something like this tasty and much, much healthier treat right here!

The real stars of this show though, were of course the brown chick peas- a variety I had never tasted before- but will definitely be having again and again from now on! They are a little smaller than regular chickpeas or gabanzo's, but in my opinion, much more flavorful and wonderfully "nutty" and rich tasting too...

So yes- they were soaked and yes, it does take 8-9 hours until the chickpeas are ready to boil...ho hum! Has to be done! But trust me- it is well worth the effort! After soaking, I drained off the excess water and rinsed them briefly, before dropping them into a small saucepan, straight onto a my favorite gadget, my folding steam rack, where they would spend the following 20 minutes...

In the meantime, I finely chopped the other ingredients in advance- cooking is always a matter of multi-tasking a little. So that meant a little ginger, which I peeled and grated, spring onion and red baby bell pepper which I sliced, parsley which I chopped and the runner beans, which I cut on the diagonal. The ingredients were simple- but the result was rather exotic, don't you think?

After the chickpeas had steamed for 20 minutes, I sprinkled my rice on top of them, together with about half of the amount in grated coconut... and then on went the lid and on went the steaming for a further 10 minutes. Most recipes quote times of at least an hour and of up to one and a half hours of boiling for the chickpeas... but frankly, why would you do that 
when you can steam them, or better still use a pressure cooker?  The shredded runner beans went in for a final 3-4 minutes right at the end- and hey-presto! Everything was done, all in one pot, all at the same time! I like that!

So- now it was time for some fun! In a dry frying pan, I began toasting some coriander, fennel and cumin seed, together with a tablespoon each of garam masala and chaat masala. Once the seeds began to spring about a little, I added a tablespoon of clarified butter and the grated ginger, finely chopped onion and peppers and let everything briefly sizzle together. I then added the steamed rice and chickpeas, seasoned with salt and pepper and added a teaspoon of tandoori spice- yummy! Those were good flavors going on in there- they just needed freshening up a little and I did that by adding the juice of half a lime. Last but not least came a good sprinkle of finely chopped parsley and some fresh, plain coconut flakes to be stirred in before serving- and all I can say is yum, yum, yum! Healthy, spicy, tangy and fun! 

No comments:

Post a Comment