A study in chickpeas – from salad to paratah

Have to love it when Roxy Laker took a picture of your dish at lunch. It looks a lot more professional. Thanks Rox

Recently I rediscovered the little dried up legume by name the chickpea.  It’s such an underrated little critter.   Once you bring this bean to the water it puffs out, showing it’s hidden talents.  This little bean (in respect to the Spanish who call it the garbanzo bean) is packed with goodness.  It’s a source of essential fatty acids, low in fat and can supply loads of energy.

Naturally, I got completely carried away with finding and creating recipes for chickpeas.  And during all the making and testing, I only used the dried chickpea. I have to be honest that it makes a big difference using the dried version rather than the canned version.  The canned version is fine when you need it, however especially for the salads, it’s a lot more tasty to use the dried one.

Don’t judge this legume by it’s size.  See what you can learn from the chickpea – don’t judge people and things around you on what they look like on the outside.   You’ll be surprised what things pack a punch.

The recipe that surprised me the most, was the one that called for using radishes from the garden as well.  With the organic veggie patch, you get into a situation sometime where you have loads of certain veg that must be used.  And we ran into a radish invasion.  I have to say thank you to Carol Weideman from ICA that gave some recipes on Pasella so you can use radishes for things other than salad.  I took the recipe and made some slight changes of my own, and then went crazy and stuffed it with a chickpea and butternut filling and fried them like little parcels

Paratah’s parcels with chickpeas and butternut

Makes 4 large ones or 8 small ones



60 ml Dried chickpeas

(Soak overnight and simply place in a pot with water and 2 bay leaves.  Bring to boil and simmer for just over an hour or until the chickpeas are done.)

This gives you around ¾ cup of cooked chickpeas.

Oil for frying

1 Onion, finely diced

2 Garlic cloves, crushed

10 ml Roasted fennel

7.5 ml Whole cumin

2.5 ml Salt

125 ml (½ cup) Butternut, diced in small cubes

250 ml (1 cup) Water


Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until translucent.

Add the cumin and salt, stir and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the butternut, cooked chickpeas and the roasted fennel.

Turn down the heat, cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

As it is a filling, you want it to cook down quite a bit and become a slightly thick mixture.

Set aside and make your paratahs.



100 g Radishes, peeled and grated

Pinch of salt

2.5 ml Smoked paprika

5 ml Dukkah

5 ml Whole cumin

2.5 ml Sunflower oil

150 g White bread flour

50 ml Water

Flour for dusting

180 ml Oil for frying

Paprika for serving


Mix the radishes, salt, paprika and cumin.  Cover and let it stand for 10 minutes.  Some liquid will be drawn from the radishes, don’t through it out, you will need it to help form the dough.

Add the oil and dukkah.

Now add the flour bit by bit to start forming a dough.  Depending on how much liquid was drawn from the radishes, you might not need to add water to form the dough.  If your dough is too dry to form, add some of the water, until you have a soft dough.

Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes.

Dust your work surface with some flour and divide the dough into 4 big balls or 8 small balls.

Roll out each ball into a round.

Now place about 2 tablespoons of the filling in the midde of the paratah (if you’re making the large paratahs) and close up your paratah.  Start by folding up the bottom. then fold in the sides to close up the filling and fold in the top and seal the little paratah parcel.

Heat your oil in a pan and gently place the paratah parcel into the oil when it’s hot.

Fry till brown on both sides, around 3 – 4 minutes a side.

Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with some paprika for serving.

Spanish chickpea and chorizo salad

Serves 10 as a side dish

Photo credit: Roxy Laker


300 g Dried chickpeas

2 Bay leaves

6 Cloves

1 Cinnamon stick

1.7 L Chicken stock

40 ml Olive oil, for frying

2 Medium onions, finely chopped

2 Cloves of garlic, crushed

4/5 Sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stalks

600 g Chorizo sausages, sliced

60 ml Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil, for serving

Lemon juice, for serving


Place the chickpeas in a large bowl, cover with water and let it soak overnight.

Drain well and place in a large saucepan with the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks and the stock. Cover with water, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to let it simmer for around 1 hour or until the chickpeas are tender.  Add more water if it starts to dry.

When they’re done, drain well and remove the bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon sticks.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan/pot, add the onion and cook over a medium to low heat until the onions are translucent.

Add the garlic and the thyme and cook for around 1 minute over a medium heat.

Increase the heat to high and add the chorizo slices and cook for around 3 minutes or until they’re slightly crispy.

Add the chickpeas to the pan, mix through.  Stir the mixture over a medium heat until the chickpeas are heated through.

Remove from the heat and add the chopped parsley.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

It can be served at room temperature or hot.

Just before serving drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice over the salad.

The following salad is actually so simple and you can adjust and vary it just as your mood dictates.

Chickpea and feta salad

Serves 4


250ml (1 cup) dried chickpeas

3 Cloves

1 Lemon slice

2 Bay leaves


30 ml (2 Tbsp) Olive oil

30 ml (2 Tbsp) Lemon juice

1.25 ml (¼ tsp) Salt

1 Small garlic clove, crushed

30 ml (2 Tbsp) Fresh oregano leaves


100 g Olives (marinated – see the tip below)

60 g Capers, drained

2 Squares of feta cheese, cut into blocks

4 Sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves only


REMEMBER:  You must soak your chickpeas at least overnight.  Place it in a bowl and cover with water, be liberal with the water as they will increase quite a bit in size.

Place the drained chickpeas, cloves, lemon slice and bay leaf in a large enough pot.  Add water to the pot to cover the chickpeas completely.

Bring this to the boil and turn down to simmer.  Let this simmer for around 45 minutes to an hour to cook the chickpeas.  Add some water if it starts to dry.  You don’t want them soggy, but still with a bit of a bite, so check after 45 minutes to make sure how far they are.

During this time I normally make my vinaigrette, so it can stand and the flavours can marry well.

TIP:  To make my vinaigrettes, I’ve got a bottle with a tight fitting lid that I use to shake them up in.  Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and oregano leaves in a bottle, close the lid and shake it well to emulsify.  Open and taste to make sure you’re happy with your flavours and adjust the seasoning if required.

When the chickpeas are done, drain them well and let them cool.

Place your chickpeas, olives, capers, feta cubes and oregano leaves in a bowl.  Mix them through lightly, then drizzle the vinaigrette and other fresh oregano leaves over and toss well.

Serve as a side with any other dish, or as a light lunch.




Talking about small packages – Lola might be the smallest dachsie at home, but boy she’s dynamite.


2 thoughts on “A study in chickpeas – from salad to paratah

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