|Fresh Chick Peas|
Bean dishes around the world, shown here, fresh "Chick Peas" or the "Garbanzo Bean", supply us with protein structures, our bodies need to sustain human life. When and where meat is omitted from the diet, beans can offer a balance of carbohydrates and complete proteins, when mixed with whole grains. Around the world, cultures have passed down traditions that gift us pleasure and long life.
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Written by Sara Hohn: Another one from the list of foods-I-didn’t-know-what-they-looked-like-fresh — These green, slightly furry pods each contain between one and three garbanzo beans (aka chick peas), a staple of Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines for thousands of years. Growing on a bushy plant, chick peas are ready to eat straight from the swollen pod – no soaking or cooking required. Younger, smaller peas taste sweet and approximate a regular green pea. The mature, plumped chick peas are a creamy yellow color resembling a tiny 1/2-inch brain, losing some of their sweetness to a nuttier, more complex flavor. Like sitting down with a basket of shelled peanuts, there’s something quite enjoyable in cracking open each chick pea pod for a tasty, fresh surprise inside.
About Israel's signature food--plus, a recipe.
Every Israeli has an opinion about falafel, the ultimate Israeli food, which is most often served stuffed into pita bread. One of my favorite spots is a simple stand in the Bukharan Quarter of Jerusalem, adjacent to Mea Shearim. The neighborhood was established in 1891, when wealthy Jews from Bukhara engaged engineers and city planners to plan a quarter with straight, wide streets and lavish stone houses. Reprinted with permission from The Foods of Israel Today (Knopf).
After the Russian Revolution, with the passing of time and fortunes, the Bukharan Quarter lost much of its wealth, but even so the area retains a certain elegance. There, the falafel is freshly fried before your eyes and the balls are very large and light. Shlomo Zadok, the elderly falafel maker and falafel stand owner, brought the recipe with him from his native Yemen.
Zadok explained that at the time of the establishment of the state, falafel--the name of which probably comes from the word pilpel(pepper)--was made in two ways: either as it is in Egypt today, from crushed, soaked fava beans or fava beans combined with chickpeas, spices, and bulgur; or, as Yemenite Jews and the Arabs of Jerusalem did, from chickpeas alone.
But favism, an inherited enzymatic deficiency occurring among some Jews--mainly those of Kurdish and Iraqi ancestry, many of whom came to Israel during the mid 1900s--proved potentially lethal, so all falafel makers in Israel ultimately stopped using fava beans, and chickpea falafel became an Israeli dish.
The timing was right for falafel in those early years, with immigrants pouring in. Since there was a shortage of meat, falafel made a cheap, protein-rich meal ; and people liked it.
Rachama Ihshady, daughter of the founder of another favorite Jerusalem falafel joint, Shalom's Falafel on Bezalel Street, told me that her family recipe, also of Yemenite origin, has not changed since British times. Using the basics taught to me by these falafel mavens, I have created my own version, adding fresh parsley and cilantro, two ingredients I like and which originally characterized Arab falafel in Israel.
Give me mine wrapped in a nice warm pita bread, swathed in tahina sauce and overflowing with pickled turnip and eggplant, chopped pep pers, tomatoes, cucumbers, amba (pickled mango sauce)--and make itharif, Hebrew for "hot." The type of hot sauce used, of course, depends on the origin of the falafel maker.
A Falafel Recipe
YIELD: ABOUT 20 BALLS
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 teaspoon cumin
Half a large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
Diced onion for garnish
1 teaspoon salt
Diced green bell pepper for garnish, diced cucumbers, mint leaves or diced fresh tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves garlic
Pita bread (any flat bread or whatever other bread you may have in the house will do also)
2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle Eastern markets.
5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few min utes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled turnips. Drizzle with tahina thinned with water.
Note: Egyptians omit the cilantro and substitute fava beans for the chickpeas.
Israeli Hummus Recipe
You've seen it in the stores. Now you can make it at home. By Joan NathanI have been making hummus for years and have concluded that despite the temptation to use canned chickpeas, the flavor is much better when it is made with dried chickpeas found at Middle Eastern or Indian food stores. First I soak a large quantity overnight, cook some, and then drain and freeze the rest in two-cup batches in plastic bags.Reprinted with permission from The Foods of Israel Today (Knopf).
Whenever I need them for hummus, falafel, or for the many chickpea soups and stews in this book, I just take them out of the freezer. When substituting canned beans, figure that one cup of raw chickpeas equals two cups of cooked or canned. Some old-time cooks in the Middle East either peel cooked chickpeas or pass them through a food mill before using them. I find there is no need for this laborious extra step. I add to my hummus a little bit of cumin, which blends beautifully with the garlic and lemony flavor.
A Hummus Recipe
YIELD: About four cups, or six-to-eight servings
1 cup dried chickpeas (1 can 16oz, small batch)
1 cup tahina (2 tablespoon, small batch)
1/2 cup lemon juice, or to taste (less, small batch)
2 cloves garlic, or to taste (less, small batch)
1 teaspoon salt (to taste, small batch)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts (small batch, optional)
Dash of paprika or sumac
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1. Put the raw chickpeas in a bowl with cold water to cover and soak overnight.
2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then place them in a heavy pot with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, for about an hour or until the chickpeas are soft and the skin begins to separate. Add more water as needed.
3. Drain the chickpeas, reserving about 1-1/2cups of the cooking liquid. Set aside 1/4cup of the cooked chickpeas for garnish. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the remaining chickpeas with the tahina, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and at least 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. If the hummus is too thick, add more reserved cooking liquid or water until you have a paste-like consistency.
4. Heat a frying pan and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread the pine nuts in the pan and stir-fry, browning on all sides.
5. To serve, transfer the hummus to a large, flat plate, and with the back of a spoon make a slight depression in the center. Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top and sprinkle the reserved chickpeas, pine nuts, paprika or sumac, and parsley or cilantro over the surface.
6. Serve with cut-up raw vegetables and warm pita cut into wedges
Note: You can also add cayenne pepper to the hummus. Sometimes leftover hummus tends to thicken just add some water to make it the right consistency.
Joan Nathan lived in Israel for three yeas where she worked for Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem. She is the author of several cookbooks, contributes articles on international ethnic food and special holiday features to The New York Times, Food Arts, Gourmet, and the B'nai B'rith International Jewish Monthly. Thank you Joan Nathan for your contribution to Falafel and Hummus. And Thank you http://www.myjewishlearning.com/culture/2/Food/Ashkenazic_Cuisine/Israel/Hummus.shtml
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Image: Dried Chick Peas
Blessings come from a pod, bringing richness to our yards, gardens of paradise, that's what we see, the heart of abundance in you and me. There is a seed, that knows to grow, into lush gardens overgrow, our heart believe in places of dreams, where all does flower and produce live, a green (grass home).