Tag Archives: chickpeas

Hummus (eating healthy in Thailand)

Street food, street food, street food… We were obsessed with it, and that was one of our main reasons for coming to Thailand. We used to watch Mark Wiens’ videos nearly every day and drool over amazing-looking dishes he tried across the country. Then we came here.

We found that 90 % of food on the street is meat-based, and the other 10 % is fruit. With an aim to lead a healthy vegetarian lifestyle we quickly invested in some kitchen appliances and our exotic foodie adventures shifted from the street to our own kitchen.

It’s just meant to be I guess – if you enjoy doing something, circumstances WILL make sure you end up where you should, in our case – the kitchen. So here we are in Thailand, off the beaten foodie path, making our own creations and enjoying old classic dishes. One of which is HUMMUS – a simple moreish supper that we recently made. It’s like peanut butter – you just can’t get enough of it.

If you follow the recipe without changes (maybe just the water content to help blending), it should come out not too smooth or thick, tasting a bit smokey, a tiny bit acidic, with a gentle touch of garlic and a protein-ish texture. Leftovers? (happens for meal-planners, right?) Make a hummus-veg sandwich with a nice toasted baguette, bell peppers, some rocket salad or sunflower sprouts, and freshly ground black pepper. It’s also great with falafels.

Hummus

HUMMUS ingredients:

1 teaspoon cumin

2 chopped garlic cloves

3 tablespoons of each water and oil

Juice of ½ lime

1 can chickpeas

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1- Toast the cumin in a dry pan for under a minute until smoke starts appearing, then grind it in a food processor (or pestle and mortar, OR a bag and a dough roller/heavy item)

2 – Mash/blend the drained chickpeas with garlic, lemon juice, oil and water (I prefer not using water, but it just doesn’t blend in our processor)

3 – Add ground cumin, salt, pepper and mix everything thoroughly

4 – Sprinkle with the paprika and some parsley for more aroma, both being optional.

Falafel bites

After a good year and a half of planning and organising our thoughts around pursuing our long-term goals, Auste and I have finally come back to Lithuania. However, before we settle down indefinitely, we have a little trip planned ahead (can’t believe we’re leaving in five days’ time!). But before that, we have been exploring our country together, as we met in England and haven’t had a chance to do so.

Due to the weather being incredibly warm, we were spending our days (and nights) camping, swimming, foraging and sightseeing in general thus we haven’t had time to post many recipes. But we went to a vegan picnic in Vilnius yesterday, so we finally spent some time in the kitchen.

vegan picnic Vilnius

Even though we’re not vegan, we have one dish which I started calling our “family staple”, and it doesn’t require any animal products. I have made these tiny falafel many times, and each time they used to turn out somewhat different, but never again! After a session of about 150 cute little chickpea bites, I have nailed it down to precise measurements.

falafel ingredients

For about 30 golf-ball sized falafel you will need:

3 400g cans of chickpeas, drained (or soak and cook dried chickpeas)

2 small onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 fresh chilli, chopped

1 inch ginger, grated (optional)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 handful of fresh parsley (optional) chopped, without stalks

1 big handful of fresh coriander (a must!) chopped, without stalks

8 tablespoons of plain flour (use chickpea flour if gluten free)

Oil for frying (I usually use extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil)

falafel

Directions:

1 – Mash the chickpeas with a fork. I just gently crush them, as using a blender makes the mass too runny.

2 – Grind the cumin – I recommend toasting the seeds in a dry pan to release the flavours first. If you have time, try using a pestle and mortar to feel a really aromatic cumin flavour, but an electric grinder works fine too.

3 – Mix the chopped onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. I prefer not to puree them in a blender, as tiny pieces of onion and chilli give an element of surprise for each bite. Or you can puree half of the ingredients and leave the rest chopped. If you’re one of the people who just can’t stand wasting food, blend in the coriander and parsley stalks.

4 – Mix the chickpeas with the onion mass, and the rest of ingredients: salt, pepper, ground coriander seeds and cumin.

5 – Add the chopped coriander, parsley and flour. Please note, I only add flour to make the falafel balls stick together, as the canned chickpeas I buy are very soft. I prefer plain flour as it doesn’t change the flavour, but Auste said she liked them with gram (chickpea) flour, which (in my opinion) made the falafel taste of yellow split-peas. I made a batch without flour, but the falafel just dissolved into the oil when both deep and shallow frying them.

6 – Form tiny falafel balls with your hands and fry batches of 15-20 in an oiled pan until slightly browned and crispy. I use 1-2 tablespoons of oil per batch, and toss them straightaway to cover all sides. Otherwise, once you place the falafel in the pan and turn them over one by one, one side will absorb most of the oil, and the other sides will be likely to burn.

These tiny falafel bites go exceptionally well with hummus, raita, even guacamole or on pitta bread with salad.

falafel with hummus