Chickpeas with Saffron

I have a generous hunk of saffron in a jar. I bought it in Dubai, where it’s super cheap and high quality. I went into a souk and bought a massive chunk, threads dangling, for $35 (it costs more than 20 times that), with the idea that I’d use it all the time. And I didn’t. In fact, the saffron sat there, for ages, until I discovered a recipe on The New York Times food section using chickpeas and saffron. Done and done, I thought. Why wouldn’t I? Saffron is a revered spice. Turmeric could either enhance or destroy the delicacy of the saffron, but who cares, I had plenty and never used any of it. Turns out turmeric and saffron work very well together in this dish. And, I finally figured out what saffron tastes like; I always thought it tasted naturally of shellfish because I only eat it in paella. Silly girl, saffron is for chickpeas. But if you don’t have saffron, use just the turmeric, and add another teaspoon (or half if you like a lighter touch with spice – a little goes a long way with turmeric). In fact, turmeric has been called the Indian saffron. It’s wonderfully anti-inflammatory spice.  I add a little cumin for depth, but if you’re not a fan, skip the cumin. (I am a big lover of the spice and probably overdo it.) And, saffron, is a delicious addition to this recipe. Saffron comes from the crocus plant and is a laborious spice to pick. It’s expensive, but it’s worth the money, at least in this dish. Saffron, turmeric, chickpeas, mint, cilantro all seriously anti-inflammatory. All totally ageless. And the taste? Delicious. Earthy, subtle, and evolving. Plus this recipe is a super simple one to make. Try it today. 

Chickpeas with Saffron and Fresh Herbs
Serves 6
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Prep Time
12 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
12 hr 30 min
Prep Time
12 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
12 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water
  2. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  3. 4 bay leaves
  4. 1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
  6. 1/2 cup olive oil
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  8. 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  9. 2 pinches of crumbled saffron
  10. 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  11. 1 cup cilantro, leaves and tender stems, chopped
  12. 1 bunch of scallions or spring onions, green and white parts, cut on the bias
  13. 1 large lemon, juiced
  14. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  15. Splash of apple cider vinegar (about 2 tablespoons)
Instructions
  1. Soak chickpeas overnight with a teaspoon of baking soda.
  2. Drain water, rinse chickpeas, and place them in a big pot with water to cover.
  3. Cook the chickpeas with a teaspoon of baking soda, bay leaves, cinnamon, and salt on medium high heat for about 25-30 minutes, skimming the foam as it cooks, until chickpeas are tender, not mushy.
  4. Drain chickpeas.
  5. In a big bowl stir the still hot chickpeas with saffron, cumin, and turmeric. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice, season with salt. Fold in the fresh herbs and scallions. Serve warm.
Notes
  1. An easy trick when using dried chickpeas is to soak them overnight with baking soda and then cook them with another teaspoon of baking soda. The soda – an alkaline – helps speed the softening process of the peas by breaking down the tough cellulose walls of the chickpeas. It also makes for a much silkier texture and a faster cooking time.
Adapted from The New York Times
Adapted from The New York Times
Ageless Diet Life http://agelessdietlife.com/