This Moroccan dish is one of those foods that tastes delicious, (comfort food at its best), but just isn't so photogenic. But don't be fooled by looks — this is the number one recipe that guests request after having eaten Shabbat meals in our home! We eat it hot at the night meal and cold together with salads, by day.
This chickpea dish is traditionally served together with Moroccan fish but cooked separately. And in my husband's family this is the dish that is eaten on Friday afternoon, instead of the traditional Friday couscous. Though I'm not certain whether this is infact the case, rumour has it that this recipe is unique to the town of Meknes, Morocco (where my husband was born). Any insights readers?
- 500g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water with 2tblsp baking soda
- 2 sweet dried peppers (see photo)
- 1/2 fresh red pepper
- 2 heads garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tblsp sweet Moroccan paprika (preferably in oil)
- salt to taste
Paying attention? Here are the secrets you absolutely must follow in order to get authentic results!
Step 1: THE secret to cooking chickpeas without all the fuss is to soak them overnight in plenty of water and a few tablespoons of baking soda! With this information, your life will never be the same, trust me! And if you forgot to soak them overnight, no problem, soak them in boiling water and baking soda for a few hours.
Step 2: Rinse beans and check for black spots or possible bug infestation. Remove any questionable beans.
Step 4: Place chickpeas in pot. In a glass or small bowl mix together oil,paprika and about 1tsp salt, to form a thick sauce. Gently pour the sauce over the chickpeas, distributing over the entire surface as much as possible.
Step 5: Add water to just to cover beans and bring to a boil. The liquid will foam a bit as seen here, but this is normal! Note: Be careful not to add too much water, you can always add more if you need too.
Step 6: Cook on low for about 1 1/2 hours or until almost allof the liquid has evaporated. Check during cooking to make sure the water level doesn't cook off too fast, if so you may need to add a little more water.
Beans are ready when they are totally soft, and look golden reddish brown. (See top photo) Don't forget about them, overcooking results in brown mush!
Serving suggestions: As a main dish these chickpeas are delicious over a bed of rice or couscous accompanied by crunchy fresh salads and some good hearty bread. Left overs could be used as a pita filling for a satisfying sandwich.
Tips: If your family likes spicy food, use dried spicy peppers, or replace some of the sweet paprika with hot paprika. To liven up the looks of this dish,you can add a handful of fresh coriander to the pot at the end, or use as a garnish.
Enjoy, and if you decide to try a different chickpea recipe, be sure to remember the secret you learned here!