Recipe: Chickpeas with Pumpkin, Lemongrass, and Coriander
Cookbook: Tender, by Nigel Slater
When I saw that the theme for this fortnight of the Cookbook Challenge was Love, my first thought was “Bah, humbug”. Actually, that’s a lie. My first thought was actually a duet from Fiddler on the Roof, which I immediately started singing to myself (both parts, because I’m talented like that):
Do you love me?
You’re a fool!
I know… but do you love me?
Do I love you?
For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes,
Cooked your meals, cleaned your house…
But after that, I promise you, I thought “Bah, humbug”.
However, a day or so later I was chatting to the BFF, and she asked me if I had any ideas to share for the Love theme. After some surely-very-witty repartee, we came up with a rather brilliant plan. We would make the Love theme a celebration of BFFLOVE, and would choose recipes for each other to make.
See? Brilliant! Particularly as we each sent each other multiple recipes to pick from, including dishes we ourselves loved the look of and dishes we thought the other would love (there was, of course, some crossover).
I wanted to make everything Agnes sent me (and perhaps, one day, I will), but I ultimately chose this recipe for chickpeas with pumpkin, lemongrass, and coriander. Agnes told me she sent this recipe because she loves chickpeas, spices, and Nigel Slater’s Tender cookbook, and now I’m telling you I picked it because I love chickpeas, spices, and the overwhelming sense of achievement I feel when I cook a proper dinner.
This recipe was a winner. I’ve never cooked chickpeas from scratch before, and I loved how they were firmer and nuttier than the canned version. The coconut milk lent a lovely creaminess to the overall dish, and its richness countered the spices beautifully. As you may see, I forgot to buy coriander, and so I garnished my first bowl (for aesthetic purposes) with some entirely inappropriate oregano from the garden.
I’m going to get some fresh coriander for the leftovers, though.
I love that I have leftovers. I love that my leftovers are good for me. I love my BFF. I love that I’m currently wearing a t-shirt from Japan that reads “Crass-Flower-Woods / We Seed Flower – 1994 / We Have Meny Forests”.
I also love Agnes’ Love post, in which she reports back on one of the recipes I chose for her. Make sure to check it out here!
Pumpkin with Chickpeas, Lemongrass, and Coriander
From Nigel Slater’s Tender
- 200g dried chickpeas, soaked in water for several hours
- 2 medium onions
- 2 tbsp groundnut oil (I used olive oil)
- 4 cloves garlic
- thumb-sized knob of ginger
- 3 stalks lemongrass
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 6 green cardamom pods
- 2 hot red chillies
- 500g pumpkin, weight once peeled and seeded (I used butternut)
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 400ml coconut milk
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- handful coriander leaves
- TO SERVE
- cooked basmati rice for 4-6 people
- 2 limes, halved
1. Drain the chickpeas and bring them to the boil in deep, unsalted water. Let them simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, until tender. (My chickpeas only needed 30 minutes, as they’d been soaking for 12 hours.)
2. Peel the onions and chop quite finely. Heat the oil in a deep heavy-based saucepan and add the onions, letting them cook over a moderate heat until soft and translucent. Meanwhile, peel the garlic and the ginger, remove any tough leaves from the lemongrass, then make all into a rough paste in a food processor. (I may or may not have just finely chopped these.) Stir into the softened onions and continue to cook. Add the ground coriander and turmeric, then lightly crush the seeds of the green cardamoms and deseed and finely chop the fresh chillies before stirring them in.
3. Keep the heat fairly low and on no account allow the ingredients to brown. (NO BROWNING! NO BROWNING! Ahem.)
4. Chop the pumpkin into large chunks, though no larger than you would like to put in your mouth (am I the only person who reads this and snickers?), then add to the pan, along with the drained cooked chickpeas and the stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and continue to cook at a gentle bubble until the pumpkin is tender (mine took about 20 minutes). Stop as soon as the flesh is yielding to the point of a knife, as you don’t want it to collapse.
5. Stir in the coconut milk and continue to simmer. Put a splash of oil into a nonstick pan and tip in the yellow mustard seeds. As soon as they start to pop, add them to the pumpkin together with the coriander leaves. Serve with the rice and the lime halves, ready to squeeze over at the last minute.