Herby, Spicy Chickpea Ricey

Ooh, look! A nice food photo. Did I take it? No. My cousin, Ross Freeborn did. I have never taken a nice food photo.

Herby, Spicy Chickpea Ricey

Lately, I’ve been using my blog to share some of my frustrations about various food issues, but I’m deeply aware that this is not what all 23 of you came here for – life is miserable enough as it is without me being grumpy with words. Henceforth, I shall save up any more rants I have and pour them into a rant jacuzzi which I can open up and have a good old wallow in when I need to. You’d be welcome to join me as long as you bring crisps and wear a mankini. 

For now, though, you can have a nice recipe for an enormous quantity of chickpea and rice salad, which makes a lovely, affordable addition to a BBQ, picnic, or potluck that you might be invited to in the coming weeks. 

I made this as part of my mum’s birthday spread, which you can have a mosey at just here, but I needn’t have bothered to make quite so much as I did, because I’d already made 7 kg of potatoes, 4 chickens, two pork shoulders, two huge green salads, a tart, a focaccia, a bread boule, 1kg of marinated olives and 800g of pink pickled onions. We all have had to eat spicey ricey leftovers for days. 

Of course, do feel free to make a much smaller batch – even quartering this will be plenty as a side for 6, or as part of a main with marinated lamb or chicken for four. 

But to make 3.5kg of rice salad, should you so wish, you’ll need:

  • 1kg of basmatic rice
  • 4 tins of chickpeas
  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of  ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of chili flakes 
  • ½ a packet of fresh dill*
  • ½ a packet of fresh mint**
  • 1 packet of parsely 
  • A cucumber
  • A medium red onion
  • A lemon
  • Salt
  • Some almonds (optional)

Drain the chickpeas of their aquafaba, tip them into a big bowl and sprinkle over two tablespoons of oil, plus a teaspoon of salt, and the cumin, paprika, turmeric, ground coriander and chilli flakes. Stir everything until combined and evenly coated. Spread the chickpeas out over two big trays and bake until crispy – mine took about 20 minutes at 200 but if you’re using a smaller batch, you could air fry it. I don’t have an airfryer but from what i’ve seen on TikTok, it doesn’t take long to make crispy chickpeas in it. I dunno. Maybe. 

While that’s baking, you should firstly wash, then secondly cook your rice. I did mine in a giant wok and it worked fine, but use the biggest pan you can and keep the heat low and slow, topping up with water if you’ve misjudged just how much 1kg of rice will sook up. (If you have a rice cooker, you are the object of my envy). When the rice is cooked, tip it into a colander and cool it down immediately by running cold water over it. This also helps wash off some of the starch so it doesn’t stick to itself when cold in the salad. 

Find a big bowl. No, not that one, it’s not big enough. The biggest one you have. 

That’s better. 

Tip the rice into it and then remove your chickpeas from the oven, leave them to cool for like 10 minutes, and then tip them in too. Chop your cucumber into 1cm dice and add that to the bowl. Finely chop your onion, and then your herbs and add that all in too. Zest and juice your lemon over everything, then drizzle over the rest of the oil and toss. Toss like you’ve never tossed before cos OH BABY that’s a lot of rice. Taste for salt and acid and then adjust as you see fit. When you come to serve it, roughly chop your almonds then toast them in a dry frying pan before tossing them through for some good cronch. 

(Speaking of cronch, I have trained my instagram algorithm to only show me cats eating crunchy things, and I highly recommend you do the same.)

Serve the herby spicy chickpea ricey with something saucy, like a this Sexy Thomas the Tank Engine print.

*use the rest of the dill in a mackerel pate with chopped capers and gherkins

**use the rest of the mint either in a homemade tzatziki with yogurt and garlic, or plant it in someone else’s vegetable patch, just to be annoying.

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