My love affair with chickpeas started in my first year of University. As a student living on campus and stuck with a meal plan, it was easy to get bored with the food pretty quickly. So I spent a good amount of time trying to eat salads (the only relatively healthy meal option available). And before I knew it, chickpeas became an integral part of my diet.

Chickpeas (otherwise known as garbanzo beans) are a great addition to meals. They are a great source of folic acid, fiber and protein to name a few. They can help lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels making them ideal for diabetics. They are often consumed from the canned variety. I certainly took a liking to them even after I moved off campus but discovered the economical and health benefits from just cooking dried chickpeas for yourself and that’s where this meal came in.

I keep a jar of dried chickpeas in my pantry whenever I need them. The process of cooking them from a dried state is this:

How to cook chickpeas/garbanzo beans

1. Soak the chickpeas in room temperature water overnight. Change the water if needed.

2. Fill a large pot with water. Put in the chickpeas. Make sure there’s about 2-3 cups of water for every 1 cup of chickpeas that you are cooking.

3. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a slow simmer.

4. Leave for about 1 hour +, checking on the doneness and tenderness of the chickpeas.

5. Use as you’d like.

It’s a fairly simple process. I’m not entirely sure it’s the exactly correct way to cook them so if anyone has better suggestions let me know as I based it off of the instructions I could find (but of course everything has variations so it’s hard to determine who is right)

Along with my chickpea obsession at this time, I was also obsessed with corn. I bought several cans of corn and decided for this meal to create a spicy fried rice with the chickpeas and the corn.


I’d provide a more solid recipe but to be honest, I just threw in whatever I had on hand (a typical tactic I employ when making food in a hurry)

Essentially I had cooked some bacon a little earlier in the day so instead of letting that valuable bacon fat go to waste, I decided to sauté some onions and garlic, threw in some sausage from a leftover the night prior, added the chickpeas and corn and finally the rice. Once that was all well incorporated and mixed together, I added whatever spices I fancied that day. I added some chili powder for kick, garlic powder and other spices. I also finely chopped some parsley and added it at the end for some fresh flavours. I can’t remember every single thing I added but I definitely remember enjoying it. It just goes to show that cooking doesn’t have to be hard. It’s all a matter of throwing together what you think would taste good to you and heating it up. Voila!

Writing this up has put me in the mood for some chickpeas so I think I’m gonna go soak some tonight. As for you guys, I hope you’ll think about trying chickpeas if you haven’t already. Happy Eating! :)

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Rouxbe is an online cooking school that I came across a while ago. It has informative professional videos that demonstrate cooking techniques, information on food varieties and overall good source for food information. After watching the videos you can take quizzes and see your progress. Membership gains you access to more videos. I highly recommend checking out the site for yourself. Here’s a preview video of this specific recipe and their overall style of videos.

The video recipes are really wonderful and explain everything step by step. While looking over their recipes one afternoon I came across a rice recipe  that enticed me. I was fortunate to have all the ingredients and tried it out myself. Unless done in a Asian  fried rice manner,  most of the rice I’ve eaten has been plain to accompany as a filler for the rest of the dishes on the table. I also love anything with coconut in it (curries, soups, noodle dishes) so coconut infused rice sounded just as good. I followed the instructions, adjusting to my taste and equipment. The end result was amazing.

Recipe adapted from Rouxbe

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup basmati or jasmine rice
  • 1 1/2 cups Cold Water
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • small sprinkle of lemon grass seasoning (optional)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (1 cup)
  • 3 green onions (approx. 1/2 cup)
  • handful of crushed peanuts (optional)

Instructions


1. Heat up the rice cooker then add the oil and diced onions and sauté until translucent.

2. Then add the rice and sauté for a few minutes until the rice is coated in the oil and slightly translucent.

3. Add the cold water, coconut milk, salt and pepper and lemon grass seasoning. Place the lid on the rice cooker (making sure the rice cooker is still on, and has not switched to the warm setting).

4. Let cook for approximately twenty minutes, or until it switches off indicating that the rice is done.


5. Fluff rice with a fork to ensure no clumped mounds of it. Roughly chop the cilantro and green onions and fold into the rice along. The peanuts I have are home roasted and seasoned whole so I crush them myself with whatever I can find that’s heavy.

Review

This is the final product. The original recipe calls for fried crispy onions which you can make at home or buy. I didn’t really want to go through that process so I opted for crushed peanuts for a textural difference and it went well with the coconut rice. It added a nice nutty element. Although liquid amounts are quite precise (straying from it might result in undercooked rice or to the other extreme, a coconut soup with rice), seasonings are yours to experiment with. Cilantro and green onions add freshness to the rice. You could experiment to put more spice into it as I might do at some point. I added lemon grass seasoning just because I had it on hand. Let me know how yours turns out and enjoy :)