Chick Peas are a versatile and very nutritious food, and a staple in many countries. They can be really tasty when prepared with a little imagination as you can add whatever you like in whatever quantity to flavour them. They’re great for vegetarians/vegans or you can have with meat, chicken, fish etc. They’re also easy to prepare and cheap. A lot cheaper if you buy the dried version from your local Asian food market or wholesaler. This is how I choose to buy them rather than buying them in cans, as by weight, in the cans you’re also buying water. The canned version is also cooked in water, and it makes them tastier if you cook them in stock, as they’ll absorb the flavours of whatever liquid you cook them in. Then on draining you can still save this liquid and use it for a soup or sauce.
For the dried variety, preparation is easy.
1: Leave them soaking for 24 hours or overnight at least, in plenty of water,(soaking in stock, possibly infused with some liquor, will add more flavor to end product) and they will more than double in size, so allow room for this.
2: Drain all water and make up a pint or two of chicken/beef/veg stock and add to a pot with peas, add some seasoning and spices, you can also add diced onion, garlic, chilli, ginger or whatever.
3: Bring to a boil then allow to gently simmer for roughly one hour. And they’re done. Test to see and decide yourself if you’d like them a little crunchy and with some bite to them, or just simmer for a little longer for a softer pea.
4: Drain, and eat either hot as a snack, side order of veg with your main course, or have them cool as a salad, with the addition of a little lemon juice or your favourite vinegar, and some olive oil. You can add nuts, seeds, eggs, cheese etc. Raisins and sultanas? Just bring in an airtight lunch box and don’t forget the Spork.
If you prep a salad like this, it can also be heated up again real easily by stir frying in a big pan with other stuff like potatoes, cooked chicken or whatever.
Another thing I like about them is that the dried version is good if you’re planning a trip of a few days, as you’re not carrying the weight of the water in with you. Assuming you’ve planned your trip well and there’ll be clean drinking water on site, which you may need to purify first, depending on location and group.
2 kg of dried chick peas will get you well more than 4kg once they’ve been soaked. I’d have all my seasonings and veg chopped before leaving home to save work at location, where you wanna be taking it easy and doing more important stuff like reconnecting with nature, socializing, photography etc. But this is not necessary, and if you’ve not time at home, you can delegate this chore or some will even enjoy the social side of cooking and prepping for those you care for or are in charge of and tie this into the weekends activities and use it as an activity in itself. It just means you’ll have to carry other kit like particular knives, chopping bowls, chopping board etc. Fine if you’ve a base camp or are car camping to a certain extent, but not the kind of thing I wanna carry in a rucksack if hiking a few mile.
Follow steps 1-3 above, then after draining, blend in a food processor, liquidizer, or similar with the addition of some lemon juice or similar, along with enough olive oil, xtra virgin is nicer, and whatever spices you prefer, as above. Also you can add roast red peppers for extra flavor and color, spinach. The possibilities are endless, and the amount of oil added and blending time will determine the consistency of the hummus. Some like it nice and chunky with a little bite to it, others prefer it smooth and creamy to use as a dip. Great in all sorts of ways on breads or crackers and in sandwiches with all sorts of things. Did I mention how much nutritional value there is in these things? I just love em.
Another thing you can do is take this one step further, and create a meal in itself from this ingredient. If you like and you’ve made up your hummus, and have some left over, or just follow the simple steps above as a treat, you can put a few portions of hummus in a bowl, then add a handful or two of flour. Just enough to get a consistency that you can shape them into potato cake like patties. size and shape wise, then fry em off in some olive/coconut oil/butter, then fry and place in a pitta bread or similar along with some chopped tomato/salsa and lettuce, cheese etc, and eat while hot. Delicious.