Whether rendered silky smooth in hummus, roasted til moreish and crunchy, or popped into stews for extra oomph, chickpeas are the great all-rounder.
1 Nov 2017 - 12:02 PM  UPDATED 21 May 2018 - 11:06 AM

They're touted as a health food, and rightly so, which means you can feel good about your hunk of burning love for the pulse with the most.

1. You can bring me flours

It has to be said: chef Tama Carey, our in-house Seasonal Cook, has her finger on the pulse. This dish first appeared on the menu during her days at Berta. Chickpea and caraway seed battered cauliflower, black olives and rosemary is one of many reasons we love thee, oh humble chickpea.

2. Time to take things slow

Patience will get you far – in life and in the kitchen. This Iranian lamb stew, known as dizi or abgoosht is a three-hour affair, resulting in an unbeatable two-course meal. Confused? After cooking, the soup is strained and enjoyed first, followed by the meat, potato and pulses, which are mashed and served with pickles, yoghurt and flatbread.

3. Hummus be love, love, love

Loud and proud chickpea fans will claim this as their go-to snack. Food blogger Bethany Kehdy is no exception and even confesses to soaking a batch weekly so there's never a shortage of hummus in her fridge. Ever the purist, she prefers soaked to canned, but no judging! Served warm, this hummus balila is the perfect winter’s dish. 

4. Chick-peace a chance

Shane Delia, shut the front door. This Syrian-style hummus adds a welcome spin on the regular deal, as it's made with roasted chickpeas, which give it a distinct flavour. Once your lamb kebabs are seared and smokin', smother them in Shane's magical emulsion of toasty chickpeas and tahini. 

Syrian-style hummus, as shown on Shane Delia's Spice Journey.

5. A chick-y head start

This simple Italian pancake bread is made from chickpea (gram) flour, water and oil and, when cooked right, it is crispy on the outside with a warm and soft centre. This is one way to start your dinner party with a vibrant bang.

6. Bowl me over

Nutty chickpeas make a wonderful contrast to other textures and keep the paprika in check in this hearty Smoked paprika potato and chickpea salad.  But there is no cloying mayo dressing in this potato salad – instead, a slightly sharp-sweet herbal concoction.

7. You're my sweet pea

Proud Filipinos will tout forever of the wonders of their national dessert, halo-halo, which means "mix-mix", after the requisite stirring involved. In short, it's a carnival of flavours and textures, namely taro ice-cream, shaved ice, milk, fruit jellies and, most surprisingly, cooked chickpeas. Watch Peter Kuruvita give it a go here.

8. Aïoli smokes!

We heart snacks, obviously. So it was a welcome find when Feast magazine let loose with Matthew Evans' fried cauliflower with chickpea aïoli. Roasted till sporadically golden, it’s a wonderful way to make over this beloved winter veg. While we're on the topic, Matthew's cauliflower cheese has been known to stun tastebuds.

9. Be my brunch date

Without getting into particulars, chickpeas served with fried Indian bread already has our attention. This recipe for chana bhatura is Pamela Timms' (of blog Eat and Dust) domestic-kitchen version of the famous Indian street snack. Make a big batch, we're comin' over.

10. Shall we spoon?

Simple dumplings cooked in a tasty yoghurt and tomato sauce - count us in Anjum! Plain rice to serve and a hot paratha will do the trick in mopping it all up.

11. Where have you bean all my life? 

O Tama Carey does it again. These little fritters are like a light and fresh spring falafel and these are soft and spiced, served with a slightly hot sesame dipping sauce.

Broad bean and chickpea fritters with roasted sesame seeds

12. Dark and steamy

Tagines require very little input - the pot does most of the work for you. Mark our words: Feast's lamb tagine with couscous will have you at first bite, with its fork-tender meat, supple chickpeas and honey-spiked caramelised onions.

Tfaya with lamb tagine and couscous

13. Break a legume

If it's your first time making vego burgers, may we recommend our foolproof chickpea and quinoa burgers? Heck, make a double batch and freeze the leftovers (they’ll keep well for two months). For the vegans out there, ditch the yoghurt for salsa or tomato chutney.

14. When will I sea you again?

We're all for things that make you go crunch! Atop that list are these crisp fritters, which are a specialty of the Cádiz province in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. 

15. My chana romance

Break up with your local take-out joint and lap up the superb curries of Indian cuisine at home. Case in point, this chana masala recipe is surprisingly easy (once you track down black salt), and its deliciousness a result of black tea, tamarind and a heady mix of garam masala and cumin.

16. Dough or dough-not, there is no try

Traditionally, these Christmas cookies are made using pureed, freshly cooked chestnuts, although in some parts of Southern Italy, mashed chickpeas or ground almonds are used. Often they're deep-fried, and dipped in honey or rolled in cinnamon-flavoured sugar once cooked and Leanne Kitchen has us making 64 sensational pastries oh, and did we mention there's chocolate in there as well!

Chickpea and chocolate pastries (tortellini de ceci)

17. Don't be a tosser

You know that liquid that comes with canned chickpeas? Don't toss it! It actually turns into an emulsifier and foaming agent when whipped for long enough, making it an excellent egg white substitute in vegan baking. Known as “aquafaba” (Latin for “bean water”), the liquid can be used in nougat, macarons and these deliciously easy meringues

Meringues can be considered to have an ethereal quality.

18. Oh fudge!

This Indian chickpea fudge (besan ki brufi) showcases the earthy flavour of besan flour (chickpea flour) mixed with ghee and condensed milk.

Want more? Check out our complete chickpea collection here.

Have we got your attention and your tastebuds? Brand-new series Food Safari Earth airs 8pm, Thursdays on SBS then on SBS On Demand. For recipes and more visit the program site right here.

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