Sour Chickpeas

12 oz. chickpeas, dry
3 pints water
10-11 oz onion, very finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 fresh hot green chilli, finely chopped*
1 T peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 T vegetable oil
8 oz. tomatoes, finely chopped
1 T ground coriander
1 T ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Soak the chickpeas overnight. Put the chickpeas and their soaking liquid in a large pot. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Strain the chickpeas and save the cooking liquid.

Combine 2 T onion, 1/2 tsp salt, green chilli, ginger, and lemon juice in a teacup. Mix well and set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy, wide pan over medium-high heat. Add remaining onion and saute for 8-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Continue to stir and fry for 5-6 minutes, mashing the tomatoes with the spoon. Add the coriander, cumin, and turmeric and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add the drained chickpeas, 14 oz of reserved cooking liquid, remaining salt, garam masala, and cayenne. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook very gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the mixture in the teacup. Stir just to blend. Serve hot or lukewarm.

From Madhur Jaffray’s Indian Cooking. Good with basmati rice and a vegetable (cabbage and peas, or green beans and tomatoes).

*Depending on your chilis, a whole one can be really really spicy. I regularly halve the amount of chili and cayenne and then add more if I want it.


Emeril’s Black Bean Cakes

I had one of my most memorable meals at Del Inti here in Portland, for Adam’s and my 6th anniversary. We shared a huge grilled chop, topped with apricot reduction, and sides of black bean cakes, grilled summer squash, potato gratin, and ceviche. I’ve been thinking about it ever since, and last night I thought I’d try to recreate it. I chose the black bean cake recipe from, and they were fantastic! I used egg replacer and sorghum flour to make them work for us.

Emeril says, “Talk about “knock your socks off”! These bean cakes end up crispy and crusty on the outside, but oh so tender and creamy on the inside. A true study in contrasts, this dish is elevated to notches unknown when served garnished with your favorite guacamole, salsa, and sour cream.”


    7 tablespoons olive oil
    1 small onion (5 to 6 ounces), cut into small dice
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons Emeril’s Original Essence or Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning
    Two 15.5-ounce cans black beans, drained and quickly rinsed
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    2 teaspoons hot sauce


Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onion and cook until soft and lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Place the flour in a shallow bowl or plate, and stir in the Essence. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, mash the black beans well with the back of a fork — the mixture should be relatively smooth, with no whole beans remaining. Stir in the cooled onion mixture, cilantro, egg, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and hot sauce and mix well. Divide the mixture into 8 evenly sized patties (about 1/3 cup each).

Heat the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, dust the patties in the seasoned flour mixture and carefully transfer them to the hot skillet (the cakes will be delicate). Cook the cakes until golden brown on both sides and heated through, about 2 minutes per side.

If necessary, season with more salt. Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Mulligatawny from Gluten-Free Goddess

This is Karina’s recipe over at Gluten-Free Goddess (she actually has two versions, which I combined just slightly. The other version also has 2 cups of shredded cabbage and more liquid.). She adds jasmine rice and garbanzo beans and diced red onion to her soup. I’m going to ladle it over brown rice with chicken one night and garbanzo beans the next. One commenter on her blog said she subbed butternut squash for the cauliflower, which I think is a nice twist. Or perhaps you could use both?

1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
1 tablespoon Thai Kitchen Green or Red Curry Paste, or GF curry powder, to taste
1 medium red onion, peeled, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 quart light vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk
Juice from 1 or 2 medium limes, as needed
1 teaspoon raw organic agave nectar or organic raw sugar
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 14-oz. can chick peas, rinsed and drained
Finely diced red onion, apple, or chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

You’ll also need:
1 pot of cooked jasmine rice

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a medium size soup pot. Add the curry paste and stir briefly to season the oil. Add in the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, apples and sweet potato; stir and cook until softened, about 7 minutes.
Stir in the vegetable broth. Bring to a high simmer and then cover the pot; reduce the heat and simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Add the coconut milk, a squeeze of lime juice and a touch of agave or raw sugar. Stir with love. Taste for seasoning adjustments. Could it use more lime to tart it up a bit? A little salt and pepper?
Adjust the seasonings to your liking. Heat through gently; don’t boil.
Puree the soup with a handheld immersion blender (you could also puree in small batches, covered tightly, in a blender or a food processor; hold the lid on, though as hot soup sputters and expands when it is blended). Return the puree to the soup pot.
Stir in the drained chick peas. Heat through on low heat until serving.
Note: If you prefer a little more texture, you can also puree only half the soup- or mash it lightly with a potato masher until you have the consistency you desire. Then add the chick peas and warm through.
Serve the mulligatawny with a garnish of diced red onion, apple or cilantro. Offer a side of hot cooked jasmine rice.
Add a spoonful of rice to the soup as you eat it. Delicious!
Serves 4.

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Cuban Black Beans

Cook black beans according to recipe below. When cooked, add several heaping tablespoons of recaito and a few chopped ajices dulces, and stir. This is traditionally served with white rice, but I made long grain brown rice with it and it was delicious.

Black Beans
Frijoles Negros
Most people soak their beans before cooking them, but you don’t have to. It takes longer to cook them, but they are still delicious. If you’d like to soak your beans before cooking them, go ahead.
Makes about 4 cups

1 pound black beans
1 smoked ham hock
2 bay leaves

Put the beans and ham hock in a medium saucepan and pour in enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Toss in the bay leaves and bring the water to a boil. Adjust the heat so the water is boiling gently and cook the beans, skimming off any foam that rises to the top, until tender, about 2 hours. Keep an eye on the beans; they should always be covered by liquid. When the liquid meets the level of the beans, top it off with a 1/2-inch or so of cold water.

Toward the end of cooking, ease up on the liquid you add; the goal is to have the beans barely covered with liquid by the time they’re tender.


There really is no translation for this mixture of onion, garlic, peppers and green herbs. Recao is culantro (see below) in Puerto Rican-speak, so this seasoning is nicknamed recaito, or “little culantro.” Recaito is used for dishes like Cuban black beans or Puerto Rican Style Pot Roast, where you don’t want the color or extra liquid that you have in a sofrito. Culantro is the defining flavor. Recaito, like sofrito, can get you out of any kitchen emergency. It pays to make extra (which this recipe does) and portion it out for the freezer.
Makes about 1 ½ cups

1 medium Spanish onion, cut into big chunks
8 cloves garlic, peeled
6 ajicitos dulces (see recipe for Sofrito) or 1 cubanelle peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into chunks
4 leaves culantro (if you can’t find culantro, increase the amount of Iajicitos or cilantro by half)
6 big sprig cilantro, stems and all, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup packed)

Place the onion and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients, one at a time and process, until the mixture is smooth. Set aside the amount you need for the recipe you’re preparing. Pack the remaining recaito in ½-cup portions in sealable plastic bags and store in freezer.

Cuban Black Bean Soup (Sopa de Frijoles Negros al Estilo Cubano)

Another recipe from Daisy Martinez at Daisy Cooks! Aired on OPB’s Create show on Saturday, Jan. 8 2011.

I like a little heat in my black bean soup, so I add a tiny piece of Scotch bonnet chili pepper like I do in the previous soup. If you don’t, leave it out. This is such a favorite of mine, that a bowl of this and a little crusty bread is a meal. I also think of this as my “ice cream sundae” soup–fill bowls with the soup and let people top them as they like.

Black Beans (recipe follows)
Two 14 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth
1/2 cup Sofrito (see “Staples”)
1/2 cup canned Spanish-style tomato sauce
3 tablespoons alcaparrado or chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
1 tablespoon fine sea or kosher salt
Healthy dose freshly ground black pepper
1/4 Scotch bonnet or jalapeño pepper
Any or all of the following “sundae toppings”
Cooked white rice
Chopped red or white onion
Chopped cilantro
One-quarter of a Scotch bonnet or jalapeno pepper, optional
Sour cream
Olive oil

1. Make the black beans.

2. Stir the chicken broth, sofrito, tomato sauce, alcaparrado or olives, salt, pepper, and chili pepper into the black beans. Bring everything to a boil over medium-high heat. skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Continue boiling until the soup is nice and thick, with just enough liquid to cover the beans. Pull the pot off the heat and let it sit 5 to 10 minutes so the beans soak up a little more of the liquid. Serve hot, ladled into warm bowls. Pass the toppings you have prepared.

Spaghetti with Chickpeas

It was the chickpeas and pancetta that got me. I love anything you can add crispy pork to, and chickpeas are an all-time fave. Plus it’s pasta…

Debbie recommends double-ing the amoung of sauce, or halving the amount of pasta (which would my choice, since usually cooking for two). The pic below is of the recipe as written.

15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained or about 2 cups, freshly cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup chicken stock
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pancetta, diced (a little shy of 2 ounces)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch chile flakes
1 14-ounce can tomatoes, chopped
10 to 15 basil leaves
Salt to taste
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Set 1/3 cup of chickpeas aside. In a blender or food processor, combine remaining chickpeas with chicken stock and pulse a few times until chickpeas are chopped.

Place a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil and diced pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned; a splatter screen will make your stove look better than mine did after this. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes. Continue cooking until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add chickpea mixture, tomatoes, and basil, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, or tastes like it could use an additional minute’s cooking time. Reserve one cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Toss pasta with chickpea sauce, reserved chickpeas and half of the reserved pasta water until evenly coated and heated through, about one minute. If sauce still feels too thick add reserved pasta water as needed. Season again, as needed, and serve with grated Parmesan to pass.

Asparagus with Chorizo and Croutons

Browsing through Smitten Kitchen’s Spring recipes, I stumbled up this. It struck me as very odd at first, but I like chorizo with beans, and I like asparagus, and croutons, and as Joey said in one memorable Thanksgiving “Friends” episode when Rachel misread her recipe and added ground beef to her trifle, “Jam? Good. Beef? Goooood” (or something along those lines). So we can all sometimes appreciate unexpected pairings. I’m going to give this a try since I already have chorizo and I keep buying asparagus at the Farmer’s Market.

Serves 4

1 pound large, thick, firm asparagus, lower third of the stalks peeled with a vegetable peeler or snapped off
1/4 cup good olive oil
4 ounces Spanish chorizo (but Portuguese chouriço will work as well), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups 3/4-inch bread cubes (croutons), preferably from a baguette or country bread loaf
1/4 cup whole almonds
1 cup cooked beans (optional; I used 3/4 pound fresh cranberry beans, shucked then boiled for 20 minutes in lightly salted water)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Make this right as you are ready to eat. Cut each asparagus stalk into 3 or 4 pieces. Heat the oil in a large skillet until very hot. Add all the ingredients except the beans, if using, and salt and pepper. Cover and sauté over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes (thinner asparagus might be done sooner), tossing or stirring the mixture a few times, so it browns and cooks on all sides. Add the beans, if using, and salt and pepper, toss again, and serve.