Today’s salad is inspired by Indian spices and flavour combinations. I’m obsessed with my collection of spices, and I was happy to be able to pull out some of my (recently ignored) Indian spices today.
Possibly the most exciting part for me is the amchoor powder. Amchoor is powdered dried mango, and it has a really neat tart flavour. I have to say that I don’t use this one all that often – it’s not that in many recipes that I come across, and I sometimes forget that I have it. Today was very different – this was the first thing I thought of when I decided to make chickpea salad.
It started with me coming across my stash of dried chickpeas. I decided to try cooking them up again, even though I have never been successful at this task. The price of canned legumes keeps going up so I thought I should give it another go. More on that later. Jump to a couple of days later, nicely cooked chickpeas at hand, and me coming up with ideas for my Indian-inspired chickpea salad. Summer salads should be fun, fresh, zesty, and exciting… ding, ding, ding!! I thought of the sour amchoor powder at the back of my spice drawer.
Mixed with other spices, such as cumin, coriander, tumeric and cayenne, I was able to make a very flavourful dressing that wasn’t heavy or creamy. I opted to add in some fresh veggies and fruits to round it out, including some just perfectly ripe apricots for a little more sweet and sour – I would have used mango, but apricots are in season here, and I thought something fresh and local would be best.
About the cooking of the chickpeas… in the past, I have failed miserably at cooking up dried legumes. They often came out mushy or mealy and just plain terrible. That said, buying them dried is much cheaper than buying them canned, so I thought it couldn’t hurt to try again.
I started with 2 cups of dried chick peas, soaking them in a LOT of water in the fridge. I read to soak them overnight, but I ended up soaking them for two (only because I didn’t have time to do anything with them right away). I discarded the soaking water each day, and just before cooking. I cooked them in a large pot of boiling water and it only took about 40 minutes (brought to a boil, then simmered). I tested along the way, just to ensure I didn’t overcook them. I should also add that I didn’t add anything to the soaking or cooking water – no salt, flour, baking soda… nothing. They cooked up perfectly. As good as canned, if not better. Two cups of dried chick peas probably yielded 5-6 cups of cooked, and it cost less than a 19oz can of chickpeas, which would only contain about 2.5 cups.
Recipe after the jump!
Tangy Indian Chickpea Salad
- 1 tsp amchoor powder
- 1 tsp anise seeds (bashed, not ground)
- 1/2 tsp dhania-jeera powder (or 3/8 tsp ground coriander and 1/8 tsp ground cumin)
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or chili flakes
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida (if you don’t have this, use garlic powder instead)
- 1/4 tsp tumeric powder
- 3 cups chickpeas, cooked and drained
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 bell pepper, chopped (I use a mix of red and orange for this)
- 10 sugar snap peas, cut into thirds
- 2 apricots, *just* ripe, pitted and chopped (can also use mango)
- 2 green onions, greens sliced and whites finely chopped (should be about 1 Tbsp chopped white onion)
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Mix spices together in a bowl or mortar. If using a mortar, pound the spices a little bit. Mix well.
- Add the oil to the spices and mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes or so, to let the flavours mingle.
- In a larger bowl, add the chickpeas and other salad ingredients, saving some of the green onions for the top. Toss well with the dressing.
- Let the whole mixture sit for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.