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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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Scorzonera or black salsify is not a particularly good-looking vegetable with its dark, earthy skin.
You can’t concentrate or your tummy is rumbling. Many people grab the simplest solution – a

Cook with chick peas for a typical Middle
Eastern taste

Chick peas are the basis for some tasty and exotic, but easy-to-make meals. They’re an essential ingredient in many oriental and Mediterranean dishes. Chickpeas and sesame seed puree mixed together create that familiar humous, which can also be flavoured in all sorts of delicious ways. Use it as a dip or spread it on bread. In the Middle East chick peas are typically combined with couscous, while in Spain they’re often combined with rice, for instance in the delicious Ropa vieja stew. In Turkey they use chick pea flour in tasty falafel.

Cooking with chick peas

These nutty-tasting pulses are also being used more and more often in European cuisine. They cook to a slightly floury, finely aromatic pea-shaped food that keeps its shape. Chickpeas add flavour and protein to soups, gratins, rice dishes and curries. But they also go well in salads or as a side dishe for meat and seafoods. Chick pea flour is also a basis for bread, pizza dough or even biscuits.

Botany and health benefits

Chick peas (Cicer arietinum) are legumes, members of the Fabaceae family. The English name actually could mean “pea pea”, because the name comes from the Latin word "cicer" meaning pea. Chick peas are the fruit of the plant and they’re a satisfying and filling substitute for foods like pasta or potatoes. They’re a high-fibre food and contain a lot of protein, B vitamins, vitamin A, C and E and minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium.

Dried chick peas must be soaked before

In northern Europe, you’ll usually find the dried, beige-coloured chickpeas in the shops. They’re grown in countries around the Mediterranean. It’s important to soak dried chick peas in a lot of water, preferably overnight. Drain the chick peas and throw the water away, because it will contain bitter substances. Before you drain the chick peas, pick out and discard any that are flowting on the top of the water – they will stay hard even after cooking. The chick peas will need simmering for anything from 30-120 minutes before they’re ready to eat. If you’re in a hurry, use tinned chick peas, which are ready to add to your dish right away. Soaking and cooking dried chick peas will give you a better flavoured result.


Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de