masala roasted chickpeas

Back in August I posted a recipe for a chickpea salad. We love this salad. It’s perfect on top of a bed of lettuce. It completes a meal. Going low carb? This is your friend. Needless to say, we eat this a lot. We almost always have chickpeas on hand. However, things got a little crazy. We got ahead of ourselves and anticipating our need for chickpea we somehow ended up with a 5lb container of them. This has happened once before in my life, but with cheese – but that’s a story for another time. I don’t want to scare you any further. Anyways, unsure of how to go about consuming 5 lbs of chickpeas, we decided it would be unwise to commit it entirely to the chickpea salad. We didn’t want to end up hating chickpeas.

Fortunately, Martin has an appreciation for Desi snacks and for cooking adventures. He decided that he would make masala roasted chickpeas, similar to the kind you can get at your local Pakistani/Indian grocery store but without the mustached man staring you down from behind the counter (kidding, kidding they aren’t all mustached).

masala roasted chickpeas

makes about 2 cups

1 15 oz can organic chickpeas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chunky sea salt
2 tsp garam masala

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pour chickpeas into a colander, rinse and drain. Pat dry.
2. Toss the chickpeas with olive oil and spread out onto a large cookie sheet.
3. Roast for 50-60 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Chickpeas should be brown, crispy and completely dry.
4. Once baked, toss with salt and garam masala.

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Ramadan Mubarak & Yogurt

Ramadan has arrived!

Nothing brings people together like food, and during Ramdan, the lack thereof. Ramadan at my parent’s house always consisted of the same ritual. My mother and I would vow to eat better meals, and healthier food. We would promise to cut back on delicious fried potato samosas and pakoras. We would eat fruits and vegetables and be content. My father would look at us with horror. I’m sure he wondered how we had the audacity to deprive him oil soaked foods.

Of course this never lasted. We would start out well intentioned and stick to our plan. But, within a week, we would break down and someone would begin frying something… anything really. And how can you avoid it? Whenever I smell pakora or samosa I think of Ramadan. I always remember my family coming together to prepare an iftar. My father making fruit salad, my mother and I wrapping and freezing samosas, my brother placing only 2 dates per plate (my mother set a 2 date per person, per iftar quota).

Sticking to tradition. I have vowed to eat healthy (stop laughing). I’m not sure how long it will last, but I’m motivated by the fact that I really only have a few select meals that will nourish my body with the things that it needs… not what it wants.

Yogurt. This seemed a good place to start.

Unfortunately, I failed, I think. Whatever it was, it was definitely more than 400 degrees from perfection. I followed a recipe my mother gave me. I googled some directions on how to make yogurt and in the end it was just a runny mess of chunky stuff. I wasn’t able to achieve perfectly smooth and creamy yogurt. If you’ve made yogurt successfully, please help me out!

I began by boiling 4 cups of milk. Once the milk began to boil, or froth rather. I stirred vigorously, and allowed it a good minute or two to boil. I then turned the heat off and let the milk come to a lukewarm temperature. At this point I added two tablespoons of yogurt with active cultures and mixed well. I stuck the pot in the oven set to 100 degrees and allowed the bacteria to do their thing. 8 hours later, I had a soupy yogurt. It was yogurt, I think, but thin. Almost like a raita. Draining some of the water that accumulated on top helped, but still… it wasn’t thick and creamy. So I googled some more and learned that homemade yogurts tend to be thinner because it doesn’t contain Pectin, a gelling agent.

What is a girl to do? Do I buy pectin? Do I just use some cheese cloth and strain the whole thing? No, going to the store is not an option. I must conquer bacteria!

Scallion Pancakes

There are certain foods that I obsess over, that I like to revisit and savor. Scallion pancakes are one of those obsessions. To be honest, the obsession began with this hole in the wall Chinese restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown. King Fung Garden. Martin and I came across it through Phantom Gourmet and we try to return every time we’re in Boston. The whole experience is fantastic. Once you’re seated you immediately receive hot jasmine tea (which is wonderful on a chilly Boston evening). There has rarely been a line, but people are always coming in picking up orders. The atmosphere is cozy and more than likely you will be seated near a group of kids from one of the many universities in the area. We even overheard a conversation about high calcium intake causing kidney stones in men. Needless to say that was the last day Martin snuck in one of my chocolate calcium chews.

Anyways, we always start of a meal with an order of scallion pancakes. Not surprisingly, they are amazing. What better way to start off a meal of hand stretched noodles? Recently, New York magazine featured a recipe for scallion pancakes and there was an urgent need to make them.

Gut Reaction: These turned out really well and they are sooo easy to make. Now if only I can figure out how to make hand stretched noodles!

Recipe:

Hooni Kim’s Pajeon

For the Batter:
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup club soda
1 tsp. garlic, grated
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 egg yolk
A pinch of salt and pepper

For the Pancakes:
1 bunch scallions
Vegetable oil

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the batter and let cool in the refrigerator or freezer until very cold. (The colder the batter, the crisper the pancake.) Trim the ends off the scallions, and (1) cut into 1-inch pieces. (2) If the white ends are thick, split them lengthwise before cutting them into pieces. Add the scallions to the cold batter. Heat a medium sauté pan over high heat, and add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil until very hot. (3) Using a 2-ounce ladle, add the batter to the pan, cooking 1 pancake at a time, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until bottom is golden brown and crisp. Flip pancake, and sauté until cooked through. Remove to paper towel to absorb some of the grease. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil as needed. Cut pancakes into quarters and serve with a dipping sauce made from a mixture of 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon each of rice vinegar and mirin, and 3 drops of sesame oil.

Recipe Notes:

I followed the recipe as is and they were perfect. Just be sure to have your heat on high so they turn out crisp and not soggy. Lastly, I believe mirin is some sort of rice wine, so we just skipped it. Our dipping sauce consisted of soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil. It was a bit on the salty side – so maybe add a touch of sugar if it’s a little too salty for you.