Melting Chickpeas - Julie Le Clerc

vRecipe ©copyright Julie Le Clerc, from Taking Tea in the Medina cookbook (Penguin Books NZ)

Serves 6

I had dinner one evening in Beirut with Houda Bouri (chef Greg Malouf’s charming aunt). Houda took me to a fabulous restaurant where a dish like this one was served. The chickpeas were so meltingly tender and delicious – I could not get the dish out of my mind. As soon as I returned home I was determined to recreate the memorable chickpea recipe – and this is the result.

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil


Drain chickpeas and discard soaking liquid. Place chickpeas in a large saucepan and cover with plenty of fresh cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn down heat, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour or until very tender. Drain well.
Heat a frying pan, add 1/4 cup measured olive oil and the onion and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until onion is softened but not coloured. Add garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute longer to release the flavours.
Add drained chickpeas and 1 cup of cooking liquid. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently until chickpeas melt into the onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove to a bowl to cool to room temperature. Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
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