Cumin-Scented Chickpeas

February 25, 2009

Plainly boiled chickpeas appear on many Purim menus but I prefer this zesty North African dish, in which cumin and garlic give the beans an enticing aroma. If you like, serve a few cucumber slices on the side for a refreshing accent. This is a very simple recipe if you have already cooked chickpeas or if you use canned ones.

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (14-oz.) cans (see Note below)
  • Cumin Chickpeas2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (28-oz.) can tomatoes, drained and diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled hot sauce, or to taste
  • Cucumber slices (optional, for accompaniment)
  1. If using canned chickpeas, discard liquid, rinse chickpeas and drain; but do not discard the cooking liquid from cooked dried chickpeas.
  2. Heat oil in a saute pan or wide saucepan, add garlic and saute 1/2 minute over medium heat. Add tomatoes, cumin, paprika and salt and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste and 3/4 cup chickpea cooking liquid or water and bring to a boil.
  4. Add chickpeas and hot sauce. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat about 10 minutes or until sauce is of desired thickness.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve hot, accompanied by cucumber slices.
Makes 4 to 6 main-course servings.

Note: To cook dried chickpeas, use 1 1/2 cups for this recipe. Sort beans and soak overnight in cold water to generously cover. Drain and put in a saucepan. Add 6 cups cold water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 1 1/2 hours, adding hot water occasionally to keep them covered with water. Add a pinch of salt and continue simmering 30 to 45 minutes or until tender. Reserve cooking liquid.