Friday, April 9, 2010

Homesick cure

I'm getting homesick, I can tell.

Last time I was home was in September for my cousin's wedding. It's now April.  Which makes it the longest I've ever been away from Chicago and my (extended) family.

Thank goodness for Facebook- at least I can somewhat pretend I'm still around to see things like family gatherings and watching my cousins' kids grow up.

But the homesickness is setting in and I can tell because I find it harder and harder to get out of my little funks.  In the past it wasn't until I went home and came back to California that I realized why I was starting to feel that way.

I know better now.

So when hunger pangs set in at 10:15 tonight I decided to do what my family used to do so often and late at night when we'd all get the munchies.

When that happened, my dad would immediately crack open three different varieties of beans.
Chickpeas, small fava beans and broad (or large) fava beans. And each would be prepared differently.

(I'd like to note that my mom did all the cooking in our house save a few things my dad was the master at. Namely: omelets, grilling steak, his artery-clogging garlic bread, chopping up fruit post dinner, and these late night snacks.)

* The chickpeas got a healthy dose of curry, lemon juice and salt.
* The small fava beans (foul m'dammas as we called it) got garlic, lemon juice, and salt and were topped with chopped parseley.
* The broad beans (foul) were the simplest of the bunch, and simply topped with oregano (or mazra, what my mom calls "Assyrian oregano") and salt... I think.

p.s. Foul is pronounced "fool" (like Mr. T likes to say).  The never ending joke in my house was "You're a fool if you don't like foul!" Man I was am a dork.

Luckily I had all the ingredients required to make the curried chickpeas, so I did. And I'm eating it right now. Delicious! (burp)

I had to make sure to only put half the can in my bowl, otherwise I literally would have scarfed down the entire thing. These late-night snacks (which were sometimes also eaten for breakfast or snacks) are some of my favorites.  And wow, it's been a while since I've made them.  Wish I could have had the entire tri-fecta, but alas, when you're cooking for yourself you probably shouldn't open three cans of beans...

To make this all you need are chick peas, salt, curry, olive oil (optional) and lemon juice.  In place of lemon juice we've also been known to use citric acid and/or some lemon flavored unsweetened Kool-Aid (my mom's secret way of adding tartness and lemony flavor to dishes without adding liquid).

The flavor combo is probably a bit unique, but  I don't think it's one of those things that's a crazy acquired taste. So I say you try it.

Open wide...

Buen Provecho,

Curried chick peas


1 15 oz can chick peas
1/4 tsp salt (more/less to taste)
1/4 tsp curry (more/less to taste)
2-3 TBSP lemon juice, preferably fresh (more/less to taste)
drizzle of olive oil, optional.


1. Empty entire contents of chick peas (including liquid from the can) into a small pan.

2. Heat on medium/ medium high heat and use the back of your spoon to slightly mash the chick peas.  (This will help thicken the liquid a bit as the starches from the beans get released). Mash the chickpeas as much or as little as you like. I like to leave them fairly intact for some nice texture.

3. Add the salt, curry and lemon juice to the chick peas.  Continue to cook until they're heated through (or cook longer if you want the chick peas very soft), at least 5 minutes.

4. Add a drizzle of olive oil at the end if you'd like, and stir to mix.


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