October 16, 2010

Spiced Chickpeas with Spinach

Spiced foods is not something I grew up with in Finland. Traditional Finnish recipes usually only call for salt and black pepper, with some exceptions like ground ginger, ground cloves and cardamom which are often used in baking. We don't even share the same passion for saffron like our beloved Western neighbours do. This has of course changed over time and nowadays Finns experiment with spices such as much as others. I still can't handle chilli, however, but I love using other spices in my cooking and my pantry is packed with different kind of spices at all times.

This simple chickpea dish is not only nutritious, but very tasty! I love spicing up chickpeas with cumin, coriander, turmeric and other spices and they just seem so natural together. Spinach is an additional ingredient, something I cook quite a lot, often making it Japanese way and just serving it with toasted sesame seeds or goma (paste made with toasted sesame, mirin and soy sauce). This is a simple side dish with lots of flavour! :-)

Spiced Chickpeas with Spinach

200g raw chickpeas, soaked over night
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon

small handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbs pomegranate molasses
2 tsp lemon juice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1 big bunch of English spinach, washed

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Start by draining the chickpeas, rinse and drain again. Cover the chickpeas with water and bring to boil. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until tender (do not over cook!). Drain and place in a large bowl to cool down slightly. Add the olive oil and the spices and stir well to combine. Place the chickpeas on a roasting tin lined with baking paper, spread out evenly and toast for 30 minutes or until crunchy, stirring every now and then.

Blanche the spinach in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then refresh under cold running water and drain well. Squeeze out the extra water and chop roughly. Set aside.

Combine the slightly cooled down chickpeas, the spinach, parsley, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice in a large bowl and toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.