Chick goes chic: Ways of tapping into health benefits of chickpea

Chickpea is touted to be a priority ingredient for consumers this year, and there are a number of ways of tapping into its health benefits

Published: 05th September 2021 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th September 2021 04:53 PM   |  A+A-



Chef Floyd Cardoz’s signature recipe at O Pedro in Mumbai makes a delish raw papaya and crispy chickpeas 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.

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.

So, what’s with the complexion: the fat white gram a la garbanzo, the hard-headed kala chana, and the seasonal green chickpea? Says Delhi based-based Rachana Shah Sony, chef, food therapist, and nutrition advisor, “Kala chana brings a very earthy flavour and texture to a dish. Hara chana, especially roasted ones, carries a light smoky flavour and works great as a toss-up salad or a side dish. The bland white chana offers a superb canvas for curries. You can make boiled kala chana crumble with walnuts for taco filling. Bring in the seed sprinkling for extra crunch and nutrition. For instance, vegan meatballs using chickpeas and flaxseeds in spaghetti, or rolling in sunflower seeds with mashed chana and condiments for a sandwich.”

The water you boil the chana in carries nutrients and can be upscaled into flour in soups, stews and curries. Desist using baking soda to soften the gram. “It destroys the vitamins and nutrients,” cautions Sony. “Throw away the soaked water as well. Wash and cook in freshwater as it helps reduce the strength of anti-nutrients like phytates and oxalates. Finally, use ghee as it helps in better digestion,” she advices. 

Hara Chana DAN-GAR by Executive Chef Hussain Shahzad, Hunger Inc HospitalityFor the Dangar
✥ 1.5kg hara chana  raw to grind
✥ 500g raw  hara chana 
✥ 1.5kg fine chopped onions
✥ 4 cups coriander leaves
✥ 1 cups mint leaves  
✥ 1/3 cups ginger garlic paste
✥ 3 tbsp chopped chillies
✥ ½ cup panko powder
✥ 2 tbsp. cumin powder
✥ 2 tbsp. Surya Masala
✥ Sugar to taste
✥ Salt to taste
✥ In a blender blend raw hara chana with cilantro and mint
✥ Fold in the raw chopped chana for texture
✥ Save the paste over a perf pan so excess moisture drips.
✥ In a pan, heat oil, sauté the onions, chillies, ginger-garlic paste, Surya Masala and cumin
✥ Add this to the paste and then mix with panko powder
✥ Season the patty mix and shape to 20g each
✥ Chill and crumb with panko bread crumbs
✥ ½ cup chopped onions
✥ ½ cup chopped cucumber
✥ ½ cup chopped tomato
✥ ½ cup chopped cilantro
✥ ¼ cup mint chiffonade (thin strips)
✥ 2 cups boiled green chickpeas
✥ Sugar
✥ Salt
✥ Lime juice
Mix all the chopped veggies and season with sugar, salt and lime juice
Toum - garlic sauce 
✥ ¼ cup garlic cloves
✥ ¼ cup ice water
✥ 2 cup oil
✥ Salt
✥ Sugar
✥ Lime juice
✥ In a blender, add the garlic and blend to a fine paste with some ice water
✥ In a thin stream, start emulsifying the oil till the sauce becomes pale, light and fluffy. Season the sauce.
✥ Refrigerate Plating
✥ Add one tbsp. of Toum and spread it into a circle with the back of the spoon
✥ Place your dangar on the toum
✥ Pipe another layer of toum on top of the dangar
✥ Add the rest of the dangars in the same manner on the plate
✥ Garnish each dangar with a pea shoot
✥ Spread the kachumber in the empty portions of the plate  


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