Its summer here in Provence and with all the lovely tomatoes, lettuces and vegetables in the market, all I want to eat is salad for lunch. But to save it getting monotonous, I like to add different things to the basic lettuce, tomato, cucumber, radish combination; so sometimes I’ll add half a goats cheese, sometimes a boiled egg with anchovies on top, or tinned tuna, depending on what’s in the fridge or the cupboard.
Today, I decided to cook up some chickpeas, (garbanzos if you’re in the States or pois chiches if in France) and to make them the hero of my salad. In the past I have made chick pea salad with garlic, parsley, olive oil and and walnut vinegar, a recipe given to me by my friend Fabrice from when he owned Le Theatre restaurant in Tarascon. However, since I did an Indian themed supper club with my new neighbour, Jitesh, last week, I decided to give the chickpeas a spicy twist. Here it is.
Spicy chickpeas salad
- 250g dry chickpeas or one 400g tin
- pinch bicarbonate of soda if using dry chickpeas
- 1 green chilli
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 spring onions chopped (scallions)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 small bunch of coriander (cilantro) chopped
- salt to taste
If using dried chickpeas, soak them the night before in enough water to cover an inch above the peas. The next day, or eight hours later, drain the chickpeas and put in a saucepan with double the quantity of water to chickpeas, add a pinch of bicarbonite of soda to help soften the peas. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to simmer for 45 minutes, or until the chickpeas are soft. Then drain and leave to cool.
If using tinned chickpeas, drain and rinse.
In a frying pan, dry fry the cumin seeds for about a minute until they darken and smell nutty, but be careful not to let them burn.
Mince the green chilli with the garlic in a mincer, or chop very finely, leaving out the seeds from the chilli if you don’t want it too spicy.
Add the olive oil and the vinegar and pour over the chickpeas.
Mix in the chopped spring onion and coriander and sprinkle with the cumin seeds.
Add salt to taste.