Chickpea goes chic!

Bring in these various ways to celebrate the goodness of chickpea in your daily diet

Chef Floyd Cardoz’s signature recipe at O Pedro in Mumbai makes a delish raw papaya and crispy chickpea salad that flirts with kokum dressing. Following up on the tang, the tony restaurant, Sequel BKC in Mumbai, began serving quaint edamame and chickpea falafels when it launched a few months back. Coupled with a fresh streak of  coriander sauce, smoked aubergine and pickled beetroot for a tangy twist to the otherwise bland flavour canvas of the c-pea that is clawing its way into small plates and mains in nouveau dishes. Chickpea is touted to be a priority ingredient for consumers this year, according to EHL Ingredients, a UK-based firm. It has become popular as flour and meat alternatives, with companies profiteering from chickpea rice, pasta … even ice cream. The humble chickpea has become chic.

The chana with its powerhouse combination of carbohydrate and protein jockeys in as the perfect mock meat for vegetarians. One cup of boiled chickpeas contains about 250 calories,  keeping you fuller for longer with their high fibre content. You must remember to soak chickpeas overnight to remove the phytic acid content so as to make them easily digestible. Says Mumbai-based Executive Chef Hussain Shahzad, Hunger Inc Hospitality, “Mildly flavoured chickpeas with their incredibly creamy texture are perfect for both mellow and punchy dishes.

MOCK UP

Use generously as mock meat: Grind pre-soaked (an eight-12-hour dip makes them softer) chickpeas to a paste, with water. Strain the liquid and cook until thick. Allow this to cool and set in a dish for a soft tofu-like texture, perfect for stir-fried. You can cube and roast for a more ‘meaty’ mouthful.” Bored of the usual gravies? “Boiled chickpeas can be deep-fried until crisp and then tossed with BBQ seasoning for an ultra-crunchy topping for salads and soups.

This works great as a great substitute for bacon bits,” says Shahzad. Make your vegetable salad with roughly mashed chickpeas rolled with mayonnaise, celery, onion and seasoning, a great filling for sandwiches and wraps. “Roast boiled chickpeas until they crumble when pressed, ensuring there is very little moisture. When roughly crushed, use as a base for vegetarian bolognese or burger patties. You can also mash boiled chickpeas with slightly cooked onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms and Italian seasoning and roll them into balls. Then cook in tomato sauce for vegetarian meatballs,” says Shahzad.

Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard

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