Chaat (Black Chick Pea Salad)

I was going to an event recently and there was a food theme to it.  I had to do some research and a friend gave me a great recipe for a Pakistan Black Chick Pea Salad, known there as Chaat (which also refers to many snacks).  Check out the Wikipedia info on it.  I’d had a bite of this salad from my friends’ fridge the weekend before and it was delicious so I had to get the recipe.  It was awesome to get this and translate it because it came from his mom so he was getting the true, true specs while speaking to her in Urdu and bringing it to me while applying some of the thoughts they have in the Middle East that they still use while cooking here to preserve the food.  I have brought it down to simple stuff (only took a couple things out).

Ingredients:

Two cups dry black chick peas/garbanzo beans

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper or red pepper flakes

1 lemon

1 tomato, chopped

1 avocado, cut into small pieces

1/4 packet “Chat Masala” from an Indian Store

1 jalapeno, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 medium thin skinned potato with the skin removed after baking or microwaving

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Go to a local Indian Store to get (two cups of dry) black chick peas. Rinse several times and then soak in a bowl of water overnight.  In the morning, boil until they are the desired consistency and chewiness (about 1.5 hours in boiling water is needed after an overnight soak).  If there is a time element, use regular Garbanzo beans/chick peas from a can in place of the black chick peas.

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IMG_0539Directions:

While the boiling is taking place…

Bake potato (I nuked it for a couple minutes) and chop into small pieces.

Combine salt, pepper, red pepper, jalapeno pepper, and chat masala in a medium sized bowl.

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Get out a second bowl and add the chick peas (once done), tomato, avocado, lemon juice, chopped cilantro. Mix together (hands work well to do this). Add the potato.

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Mix the second mixture with the first mixture and adjust salt, pepper, red pepper, to taste and add lemon juice.

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This salad was awesome!  It can be enjoyed warm or cold, I prefer the latter.  So fresh and so many flavors.  Would be great for tailgaiting!!!

Strawberry Hullin’

Kitchen gadgets can be so much fun!  I went to a business lunch and there were door prizes.  I never win anything.  Most of the giveaways were gift cards, anyway, and as nice as essential cash is (they were Visa cards), I knew I wouldn’t win.  Well, suddenly I heard my name.  But, I didn’t get a GC.  The stars aligned and I won the kitchen gift bag.  The rep giving this one away had been to Sur La Table and had a field day.  WOW!  I was in luck.  So, I got all sorts of new toys that I would totally never go buy for myself but loved getting.

The one I’ve played with the most is the Berry Pincher (that’s the formal name I give it).  The manufacturer, Chef’n, calls it the StemGem.  You can remove the leaves from strawberries and clean all sort of other things.

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You just plunge the sharp teeth of this thing right in the top of the berry.

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You give it a little twist.

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And yank it out.  The motion makes the picture a bit fuzzy!  Sorry.  The website has better pics.

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The other great toys I got in my bag were:

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A Kuhn Rikon Pepper Mill with Ratchet Handle — so cool with the handle!

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A Joseph Joseph Rocker Garlic Masher — SMASH!  Great fun, you can also use it to get rid of the odor in your hands.

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And the last toy, by the same producer as the strawberry toy, I got the Zipstrip Herb Stripper.  I haven’t actually gotten around to using this yet.  I needed it the other day and of course was cooking in somebody else’s kitchen when I was looking for it!!

So if you want so new additions to your kitchen, consider checking these out.

 

Wine Crack(ers)

You can drink wine alone — there is zero problem with that.  You can find a wine that pairs perfectly with your meal.  You can find a meal to pair very nicely with your wine.  Or, you can find snacks to nibble on while sipping your wine.  While at the wine store, namely Total Wine, working a wine tasting and they give you these little nibbles to include at your table.  Innocent little off-white globes, about the size of a thumb nail.  These are Wine CRACKers.  OMG.  So, so, so good.  I don’t know what is in these things but they are addictive!!!

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Per the website, they are “O.T.C. Original Wine crackers are delicate, dry, yet slightly sweet with a hint of lemon and a touch of vanilla. O.T.C. Wine Crackers cleanse the palate and enhance the subtle flavor of fine wines. But you don’t have to be a wine lover to enjoy OTC wine crackers. While many people first experience them with wine, most end up eating them as a delicious snack or treat.”

They are totally right — have them on hand — they are like candy, oh, I mean snacks.  So good!  I’ve seen them at Total Wine and Wegman’s.  Googling them brings up many other options, as well.