Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thai-Inspired Black Chickpea Salad

In advance of the arrival of our newest family member, I am implementing a new strategy to streamline our weeknight cooking: cook up a big pot of beans on Sunday evenings. It appeals to my homesteading spirit, and its also given me an awfully good excuse to outfit us with provisions from Rancho Gordo.

But since my shipment of fancy heirloom beans has yet to arrive, my trial run for this new plan was a bag of black chickpeas hanging around from a long-past trip to the Indian market. Black chickpeas are the darker, denser cousin of regular chickpeas. They are deep brown in color, and when cooked, still retain an almost crisp exterior. They taste nutty and rich. And although I imagine they take decently well to most standard chickpea recipes, I think they deserve their own arena in which to play.

This salad is a prime example. The chickpeas are coated in a spiced coconut milk sauce, which when cooled has an almost tropical taste to it and a pleasant thickness. They are joined by a trio of green ingredients - green onions, cucumber, and cilantro - and finished with some lime juice and hot sauce. The result is sharp, crisp, and refreshing - equally good alone or served over a bed of basmati rice.

Thai-Inspired Black Chickpea Salad
Adapted from Off the Meathook
Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked black chickpeas*
  • 1/2 of 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds (or ground coriander)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • sriracha, to taste
Bring the chickpeas and coconut milk to a slow boil in a saucepan, stirring frequently. Grind the spices and dump them into the mix. Turn the pot down to a simmer and cook until almost all of the liquid has boiled off, about 30 minutes. When the coconut milk has reduced to a thick paste around the chickpeas, you'll know it's done. Stir in the lime juice and spoon the mixture into a bowl or tupperware to cool.

When cooled to room temperature, stir in the green onions, cilantro, cucumber, and sriracha to taste. Serve at room temperature or store in the fridge until ready to eat.

*Black chickpeas can be difficult to find; I've had good luck at Indian or Asian markets. They typically come dried, which means you'll need to cook them before starting this recipe. For most beans, I find that a 2:4 ratio of beans to water, plus some salt, works great. Put them on the stove at a low simmer for 2 hours or throw them in the crockpot on low for eight hours. (Time will vary based on the variety of bean and their freshness). When the beans are soft (be prepared that the black chickpeas don't get quite as soft), drain them and store them in a bit of fresh water in the fridge. Result: a nice pot of beans, ready to be flavored to your liking.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely going to try this. My household partner is not a lover of beans but this salad would complement any slab of meat charred on a grill and might even be able to co-habitate with other summer veggie salads. Something for me...something for him. Life is all about compromise :-)