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Chickpeas with Two Rices, Currants & Herbs

Yes, I'm still here, really I am! Happy New Year everyone! I simply have to say what an exciting time it has been to start the year with a BRAND NEW BLOG DESIGN. I hope you guys like it! Without boring you all about any of the behind the scenes details, a quick read of my last post will confirm that it was simply time for both a refresh and, as it turns out, a little extended break. You know what they say about absence and the heart right? Well, that is exactly what happened to me and this space. With the pace of the last few years, I was simply struggling to make time to post here, and if I'm truthful, I have still barely been able to comprehend the fact that my site is now brand new, a decision I made after spending three weeks reflecting in France this summer. There really is something about stepping away from your life to be able to see things with more clarity.

Rather than stalling on posting any longer thinking "Will this be right?", "Will anyone still read it?", or seriously, "In Pursuit Of What?!", I'm just simply going to get the first post out into the world, as a way of saying hello, I still really love you, and to let you all know that I'm excited to be back, and I hope you like the new blog look too! I don't have anything too profound, or exceptionally earth-shattering to say (yet), other than I know I'll relish in some writing time eventually, and this brand new space is here to continue to grow with the brand new me. After all, aren't we all brand new every day? Every moment? Yeah, you bet we are. So, would any of you mind if I move forward with fewer words and more delicious recipes, at least for now? Ya, I didn't think so.

So without further ado, I must get to this recipe, which I can't take that much credit for, other than for the realization that this year I wanted to incorporate more structured food influence into my life. What do I mean by that? I mean that I consider myself truly lucky to have collected a set of some gorgeous cookbooks, many from people I know, or follow on social media, and all that I happen to admire greatly. Having said that, I am often a little short on bandwidth, and I rarely have the capacity to enjoy the lead up (research, list making, shopping, actual follow-through) required to truly take advantage of these resources. Meaning, 6 PM rolls around, and I still don't know what's for dinner. Sure, those crunch times are when a lot of creativity happens, but it's also (in my eyes) a missed opportunity to enjoy one of my very favourite activities. Cooking as a way to relax.

So at the start of the year, I decided that I would choose one cookbook to focus on and cook as many recipes as I could that appealed to me within a certain window (so far I'm thinking a month). This would allow me truly enjoy each book within a very concrete period, and in that time explore and enjoy recipes that are entirely someone else's. So a way to have a little fun, and also a lovely way to ease any pressure I put on myself to be 'on' all the time with new recipes. I'm not going to lie; so far it's been really refreshing! I started this new plan with one of the sexiest books in my collection, Jerusalem by Ottolenghi. This recipe as it was written in the book was an instant hit and was loved by both kids and adults. But, if I'm truthful, it was a little complicated for every day, or for folks who don't want 12 pots to wash after cooking just one dish (perhaps that is an exaggeration, but this book, in general, feels like the recipes have a few more steps than I'm used to, or at least for a cook like me). So I decided to simplify it and share it here with you all since I did make the same recipe 3 times in one single weekend. That's the 100% truth, it is that yummy. If you are feeling adventurous, I definitely recommend including the fried onion, as it really adds a lot. However, if you're looking for something a little simpler with one less pot to wash, I recommend enjoying this combo without it. It will still be great.

A few new things around here in the blog world, most importantly: you can now print recipes! Scroll to the bottom of the post and use the print function, which you'll find with the social sharing. On that note, feel free to share away while you are there! But only if compelled. Also, recipes are now sorted on the Recipe page alphabetically and by category. So, not only can you find any recipe easily by its name OR category, but since some recipes are in several categories, it makes me look way more impressive/prolific than I actually am. I hope you laughed at that.

Chickpeas with Two Rices, Currants & Herbs:

~ Adapted from Jerusalem by Ottolenghi

2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/3 cup wild rice
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided into 1 tbsp & 1 1/2 tbsp
3/4 cup sunflower or canola oil
2/3 cup currants
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chopped dill
Salt & black pepper to taste (start with 1 tsp salt)

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour

Start by putting the wild rice in a small saucepan, cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil, and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes, until the rice is cooked but still quite firm. Drain and set aside.

To cook the basmati rice, pour 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and place over high heat. Add the rice and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and stir as you warm up the rice (about 2-3 minutes). Carefully add the water, and decrease the heat to very low, cover the pan with the lid, and leave to cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the heat, keep the lid on and leave off the heat for 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the chickpeas. Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a large wok or sauté pan over high heat. Add the cumin seeds and curry powder, wait for a couple seconds, and then add the chickpeas and 1/4 teaspoon salt; make sure you do this quickly or the spices may burn in the oil. Stir over the heat for a minute or two, just to heat the chickpeas and set the pan aside.

Optional Fried Onions
In a saucepan, pour in the sunflower or canola oil, and place over high heat. Make sure the oil is hot by throwing in a small piece of onion; it should sizzle vigorously. Use your hands to mix the onion with the flour to coat it slightly. Take some of the onion and carefully (it may spit!) place it in the oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown, then transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with salt. Repeat in batches until all the onion is fried and set it aside.

To serve, add both types of cooked rice to the chickpeas in the pan and then add the currants, fresh herbs and fried onions (optional). Stir, taste, and add salt and pepper as you like. Heat gently and serve warm. This dish can be enjoyed on its own, or served with your favourite fresh vegetable salads. I love it topped with Dukkah, as shown here, which truthfully I love on everything.

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