I have a bit of bad conscience about chickpeas. I’m not that fond of them. They’re OK once in a while, but to me there’s always a bit of an aftertaste of tea-towel to them. I once made a chickpea and spinach curry for Sharon, the other fat veggie, and a friend. They loved it and I couldn’t finish it. I like chickpeas in things – hummus and falafel for two – but not when they’re the main event.
There is an exception to this, though. I love them raw and sprouted. Then they’re sweet, crunchy with a mild nutty flavour.
And they’re really easy to make. Actually all pulse sprouts are easy to make. All you have to do is this:
1) soak pulses over night
2) in the morning rinse and drain pulses
3) leave in a covered, but not airtight, container in a dark place
4) in the evening rinse and drain pulses
5) leave in a covered, but not airtight, container in a dark place
6) repeat steps 2-5 until pulses have sprouted to your satisfaction
That’s it. The only rules are, after the initial soaking, don’t leave the pulses sitting in water and make sure that they have access to air when they’re sprouting. You can buy specialist sprouting jars that make the process easier, but you can get the same result with a jam jar with holes in the lid, or a bowl with cling film that doesn’t completely cover it.
You can grow the sprouts as long as you want them to be, maybe an inch or two for mung beans or puy lentils, but chickpeas are good as soon as they start to show little white shoots.
Once you have your sprouts, you have to use them. I put together this great crunchy salad that showcases them properly. The dressing is an absolute star. I came across the idea as a marinade for roasting corn on the cob. It’s a great balance of spicy, hot and fresh flavours. I’m definitely going to use it again in other things.
For the dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp harissa paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp olive oil
For the salad
100g chickpeas (dry weight and then soaked and sprouted)
2 spring onions, chopped
100g cucumber, deseeded and chopped
1/2 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
Does this need a method?
Mix all the dressing ingredients together.
Put the salad ingredients together in a bowl and mix.
Add the dressing to the salad and mix until coated thoroughly.
Serves 2 as a light lunch with green leaves and some bread