Monday, August 18, 2014

Fried chickpea with crispy buckwheat shell

As a semi-permanent traveler I used to long intensively for a way to travel with beans that didn't involve cans or hours of cooking, to have always a relatively big stash in my bag. Little did I know you could fry chickpeas.

Fried chickpeas??? was one of the first things I thought when I entered my first general Asian food shop ever. I was 20 (yes, I know, but they just don't have these things where I come from, except for Japanese). I was wild. Fried chickpeas, fried peas, fried chickpea dough strips, and fried mix. Everything piping hot, making me sweat like a popping popcorn, steaming (try making popcorn with a glass lid and you will see what I mean). And it made me pop too.

Well, the thing is, I know what I will make before my next trip. If I'm too lazy I will just take canned hummus but it is very likely I will get my hands on the dough. I always do. Next time with something other than a freshly cooked meal, since it goes partly spoiled, since we like to try new flavours we find on the way and end up eating it for breakfast and not wanting to repeat it for lunch (we already ate the same thing before leaving too).

Fried chickpea with crispy buckwheat shell

  • 2 cups cooked/canned chickpeas (can be firm)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp spaghetti spices
  • 1 tbsp salt (if chickpeas aren't salted yet)
  • 5 tbsp buckwheat flour
  • Coconut oil, for deep frying
Cooking Directions
  1. Drain chickpeas, making sure they are still a bit wet.
  2. Let the chickpeas marinate with spices and salt for 12 hours (1 is fine too but 12 is nicer).
  3. Add the flour, mix well, making sure the flour is well distributed.
  4. Heat the frying oil (my stove has 6 marks, I use the 5).
  5. Throw a little piece of bread or a piece of onion peel in the oil, and if it fries immediately, the temperature is good. Take off the bead/peel (so it won't burn) and add the chickpeas carefully (so you won't burn :-) ).
  6. Fry until it becomes a bit golden, about 3-5 minutes.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Yummy garden lentil stew

Quite often I soak lentils with no plans. It just makes me happy to have the possibility of eating freshly cooked lentils without having a mal plan.

I am completely not a meal plan person.

When I think before sleeping about breakfast that is an exception. I am way to driven and drawn by improvisation that I just can't figure out what to make, even for a party. I just make it.

Yesterday I just made lentils, with some veggies from our garden. Did I mention we can't get past all that zucchini? When we think we are finishing someone gives us some. And tomatoes. So many great tomatoes that the fellow gardeners throw away in the compost heap. Onion greens. Why would anyone plant chives and onions if they are going to throw away the onion greens which are, I must say, so crazily similar I would find it hard to distinguish in a soup?

I recommend cracking the coriander with a mortar and pestle but if you are like me and don't have one (and I call myself a cook), put them in a chopping board and crack them with your knuckles or whatever works.

Garden lentil stew

Yield: 3-5 portions
  • 1 cup lentils (soak for a few hours, preferrably more than 6)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, cracked
  • 3 carrots, chopped (a bit more than 1/2 cm, 1/4 in)
  • 1 yellow (or green) zucchini, cubed approximately 2.5 cm, 1 in)
  • 1 stalk onion greens (chives is also great), thinly sliced
Cooking Directions
  1. Cook the lentils with the coriander, until very soft but not yet mushy. Check at 20-25 mins (depends on your stove and your lentils.
  2. Add the carrots and stir.
  3. After two minutes add the zucchini, stir.
  4. Let the zucchini get soft. Add salt to taste.
  5. Add the onion greens, stir and remove pot from the fire.
  6. Let the pot sit, covered, for at least 15 minutes, a great way to blend taste a bit more in any stew.
  7. Serve, drizzle with plenty of olive oil.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Veggies and pasta stew/soup

The delicious, comforting richness of tomato soup with pasta reminds me of one trip I had with my mother. I think it was the same one when I got the toilet clogged in the hotel and, failing to mention that it was my fault, we actually got an upgrade to a better room :-)

And when I was a child I only ate soup that had pasta in it. No meat. No veggies other than carrot and potato. And definitely no greens. Now my menu is quite richer (especially in veggies), since I have been experimenting with food for six years five of those vegetarian).

I love making things in huge pots; I think this can serve six!

I had put more liquid, I just wanted to show how pretty the veg=gies were :-)
Veggie stew

  • 2 cups canned chopped tomato
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped (a bit of the leaves too)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bit oregano
  • 1 cup elbow pasta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
Cooking Directions
  1. Fry onions and garlic with oregano in olive oil, in medium high fie, stirring frequently until onions get transparent.
  2. Add celery and keep frying until it starts having a stronger green color.
  3. Add carrot, fry a bit, add the tomato and some water (up to 5 cups to begin with).
  4. Wait for it to boil and add the pasta.
  5. When it boils well, check if there is enough water. To make a watery soup add at least 2 more cups hot water (like from thee tap).
  6. When pasta is al dente, remove and let it sit a few minutes (if you cook the pasta until soft it will be cooked even further since the pot is still hot).
  7. Serve :-)