“I’ll not starve.”
That was the thought that crossed my mind as I pondered some weighty financial issues.
“I could always live on chickpeas” (and, before you ask, there is an implied “and potatoes” in that sentence).
I know for a fact that the modest sum of €3.30 will buy me a hefty 2kg of dried chickpeas at The Asia Market. Allow me to illustrate just how many chickpeas that is:
I adore chickpeas and would really survive both happily and well if they were my dietary mainstay. I’d eat them in Indian-style curries, stewed Spanish-style with leafy greens, in their many Middle Eastern guises (of which hummus is king), in assorted salads or cooked on a pan burger style. That jar-full, for example, would make about 200 of these little baked chickpea burgers, which would, no doubt, keep me going for quite some time…
Dried chickpeas are, of course, anything but convenient. They do require soaking overnight and cooking for hours on end (unless, like me, you have a pressure cooker). But they are cheap. And cheap in a good, nutritious way, not like industrialised and overly-processed foods which can be made cheaply but which lose so much of their value as real food in the process. With a little bit of advance planning and perhaps a weekend at your disposal, dried chickpeas will repay your investment well.
Baked Chickpea Burgers
These burgers are packed with things that I love to eat with chickpeas, including garlic, ginger, carrot, coriander and parsley. As a change from frying, I baked these on an oiled tray which, I have to say, worked out pretty well. Like their deep-fried falafel cousins, these little burgers are lovely stuffed into pita breads and eaten with salads, yoghurt and tahini.
You can, of course, used tinned chickpeas here if you don’t have time, or can’t be bothered with the endless cooking required for the dried variety. If you are cooking dried chickpeas, though, do save the chickpea cooking liquid and freeze it – it makes a nice base for soups.
- 150g dried chickpeas (or used tinned – you’ll need about 375g chickpeas once drained)
- 1 tblsp olive oil plus more for greasing the baking sheet
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 baby leeks or 5-6 spring onions, green and white parts finely sliced
- 0.5 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tblsp grated root ginger
- 1 medium carrot (about 125g), coarsely grated
- 2 tblsp chopped fresh coriander
- 4-5 tblsp chopped parsley (either flat leaf or curly)
- 1 tblsp lemon juice
- 6 tblsp rolled oats / porridge oats (or use wholewheat breadcrumbs)
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
You’ll also need:
- A large baking sheet – mine was about 20cm by 30cm – or a couple of smaller ones.
- If using dried chickpeas and you haven’t had time enough to soak them overnight, you can quick-soak them as follows: cover with several inches of cold water, bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to soak for at least an hour in the heated water.
- Drain the soaked chickpeas, put into a heavy saucepan with about 1 litre of fresh water. Bring up to the boil, then simmer, partially covered, for about 1.5 – 2 hours or until the chickpeas are tender. Alternatively, if you have a pressure cooker, they’ll only need about 20 minutes of cooking once they’ve been brought up to pressure.
- If using tinned chickpeas, just drain and rinse them.
- Preheat your oven to 200C and brush your baking sheet(s) with olive oil.
- Place a large frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil and swirl it around the pan. Add the garlic and leeks (or spring onions) and stir and fry for about 4 minutes or until the leek whites have become translucent.
- Add the cumin, grated ginger and grated carrot to the pan and stir and fry for another couple of minutes, then remove from the heat.
- In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas coarsely, either using a potato masher or a fork.
- Add the carrot and leek mixture to the mashed chickpeas, along with the chopped coriander and parsley, lemon juice, oats and salt. Mix well to combine – you should end up with a fairly stiff mixture.
- To make each burger, scoop out a generous heaped tablespoon of the mixture, flatten and form into a patty around 5cm or so in diameter and around 0.5 cm thick and place on the baking sheet. Continue until you’ve used up all of the mixture.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, then flip the patties over and bake for another 7-10 minutes until golden.
- Serve with pita bread, yoghurt and/or tahini and salads.
- You could easily add some fresh mint here I think – either use it to replace the fresh coriander or use both.
- This amount make 12-15 burgers and feeds 3-4, along with pita breads and salads.