HOW TO COOK CHICKPEAS
Soak chickpeas overnight with kombu, a sea vegetable, and lots of water (at least 3 inches above the chickpeas). Discard the kombu and soaking water, and transfer the beans to a large pot. Cover with fresh water 3 inches above the beans. Bring to boil and simmer for approximately 1 ½ hours, until they’re soft but not mushy. Add salt towards the end. Skim off the foam as you cook. (Using kombu and eliminating foam will help with the gas.)
A postscript on kombu: Most is sold dried in packages and comes from Japan. If you buy it, make sure it’s been sitting around a long while–harvested, that is, prior to the Spring 2011 disaster. Your store should ask the distributor.
BALILA, A LEBANESE SIDE DISH
Prep time: 5 minutes (once chickpeas are cooked)
1 cup cooked chickpeas (1 can or ½ cup dried, soaked overnight and cooked as above)
1 piece kombu (if you’re cooking the chickpeas)
2 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
½ t ground cumin powder
Salt to taste
Parsley for garnish
● Follow recipe above for cooking chickpeas or rinse canned several times in running water, making sure to get rid of the foam.
● Mash about half of the chickpeas—but just a little bit. You want them to be a but soft, but not mushy like humus.
● Mix the remaining ingredients (except the parsley) and pour over chickpeas. Garnish with parsley.