When I think of a chickpeas I think of hummus, falafels, healthy salads and nourishing soups. The last thing that I’d ever associate with it is sex. But don’t let this modest little legume fool you. It once had quite a reputation as potent aphrodisiac.
The chickpea was a medieval form of Viagra. However instead of gulping down a small blue pill, you’d wash down copious amounts of chickpeas with a mug of honeyed camel’s milk... Makes me wild just thinking about it.
If, however, you happen to run out of camel milk, I have a great back-up plan which I am almost as wild about: Sauteed silver beet with chickpeas and fried bread.
This dish works well as a side or as a main. I usually eat it for lunch and if I have any left over it's a brilliant addition to soup. For the fried bread, I prefer ciabatta for its crunchy texture however you can use whatever type of bread is at hand.
Just before serving I sprinkle on a little smoked paprika. While I only use a small amount, the paprika imparts a sweet, full-bodied smoky flavor and also adds a spicy kick to the dish. I use the La Chinata brand. It's divine and it's my magic ingredient in many recipes.
A note on the chickpeas, for this recipe I use the dried variety which require soaking followed by about an hour of boiling in salted water with garlic. Also, if you're wondering what silver beet is, it's that leafy green vegetable with white stalks and large crinkly leaves. It's sometimes called spinach.
Silver beet, Chickpeas & Fried Bread
1 cup of dried chickpeas
2 cups of boiling water
1 tsp sea salt
1 bunch of sliver beet, roughly chopped with thick ends trimmed
1 brown onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp of dried chili flakes
1/2 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp pf sea salt
3 Tbsp of olive oil
1 cup of roughly torn brown bread
1/4 tsp of smoked paprika
Juice from 1/4 lemon
- Place the chickpeas in a medium heat-proof bowl. Cover with boiling water and let the chickpeas soak for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the chickpeas and water into a saucepan and cover with plenty more water. Add 2 cloves of roughly chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Simmer for 1 hour adding more water if necessary. Test the chickpeas after about 50 minutes. They should be firm but soft enough to bite into. Drain chickpeas and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Saute the onions until translucent, for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, chili flakes and cumin and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
- Next, add the chopped silver beet and stir with a wooden spoon. Cover with a lid and turn the heat down to medium low. Stir the silver beet every so often and add 1/4 tsp of salt. Once the silver beet starts to wilt, take it off the heat. Set aside for now.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan. Fry the bread until golden and crispy.
- Heat the silver beet again and add the chickpeas. Fry for about 1-2 minutes and then transfer to a serving bowl. Add fried bread and season with a little more salt if necessary. Sprinkle with paprika and then squeeze on the lemon juice. Serve.