Monday, 3 October 2011

Of chickpeas and horse nuts...

chickpea salad

 Before you get on the high horse accusing me of animal cruelty, blah blah, horse nuts is the direct translation for kacang kuda, or more commonly known as chickpeas.  I still remember the days when you get the kacang putih man peddling his wares from the motorcycle.  You'd get chickpeas still steaming hot served in a paper cone.  Come to think about it, the paper used was recycled paper, and while it wasn't the most terribly hygienic thing to use, we were already recycling back then!

For the chickpea salad, I was inspired by tabbouleh, the middle-eastern salad with cracked wheat tossed with plenty of parsley and mint.  But cracked wheat is a rather alien product to the relatives, so I thought why not substitute it with chickpeas and coriander. Both ingredients being familiar, though not usually put together into a salad.

It's high in fiber, and has a zing to it due to the coriander, mint and lemon flavours. 
This is an easy salad to put up; dress it as close to serving as possible so that the acidity from the lemon doesn't extract moisture out early and you end up with a very wet salad.  Adjust the quantities to suit, but use roughly equal amounts of diced cucumbers, tomatoes and chickpeas. Best served chilled.

For the chickpeas, I bought the dried variety. You'll have to soak it overnight in a pot of water.  The chickpeas will rehydrate and bloat up.  Drain the soaking liquid, put fresh water into the pot, add a teaspoon of salt and boil till tender. You can also use canned chickpeas if that's available.

dried chickpeas

Chickpea Salad
2 cucumbers - peeled, cored and diced
3 ripe tomatoes - deseeded and diced
1 bunch of mint leaves, about 1 handful, chopped
2 bunches of coriander, about 2 handful, chopped
1 small soup bowl of cooked chickpeas
Juice from 1 lemon
olive oil for dressing
salt to taste

Method:1.  Toss the vegetables and chickpeas together. Chill.
2.  Just before serving, toss in the lemon juice, splash olive oil to lubricate and sprinkle with salt to taste.  Mix gently and well.

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