Tonight is my first attempt in cooking at home after being in California a few days. It is 05h30 and I am starting to think about a menu. I am off to the farmers market in a few hours to see what is available. The vegetables in California are usually excellent but this year, no water, a serious drought.
I decided to buy the faithful Garbanzo bean, a leguminosae, a word associated with ‘rhizobia’, which comes from the ancient greek ‘rhíza’, meaning “root” and bios, meaning “life”. These roots are developed via nitrogen fixation, essential for all forms of life because nitrogen is required to biosynthesize, the basic building blocks of plants. The air we breathe contains more than 78 percent nitrogen in the form of nitrogen gas. These leguminosae (pronounced le-gu-me-na-say) have the unique ability to form a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria to convert atmospheric nitrogen gas to ammonia nitrogen, a form usable by the plant.
There are actually two forms of chickpeas; the Desi type has a darker color and tends to be smaller. The Kabuli type is more familiar to the American consumer with a lighter color and a softer coat. Of the two, the Desi is considered a better dietary choice, but is harder to find in the USA.
If you wonder why the beans are stinky after soaking, it is because there are two polyamines present in putrescine and cadaverine are to blame. These polyamines are also part of what makes flatulence smell so bad, and they are present in a variety of legumes.
To cook them, I soak them in water, no baking soda, which is supposed to help real ease the gasses and I did not remove the shells. I do sometimes but it is a serious level of work. I cooked them with some lemon and water and some olive oil at the end. I used a small amount of salt and that’s it. I cooked them so they are not crunchy, yet not too soft, just right.
I will add some virgin olive oil and a touch of fresh garlic and plenty of herbs once ready to serve – keeping it simple and honest, respecting the original flavours of the dish and adding some texture and contrast.
Lastly, before serving add some fresh cloves of garlic and louisa known as verbena and some fresh lime peel to give it a pick up.