Thursday, September 22, 2016

Chickpeas with Bacon

Have ever heard about traditional Latvian dish - grey peas with bacon? Presumably, if you ever tried it, you will remember it for the rest of your life... Well, here is an adapted version of it made with chickpeas. 

Blog's Category: Healthy, International, My Own Fast and Easy, Vegetarian, Effortless


One of my Facebook friends made a post about that traditional Latvian peas cooked with bacon. There was a raving review of this dish, impressive enough to get me on board and make me research into the matter.. The problem was - grey peas used for this dish is actually a locally grown peas, which is impossible to obtain anywhere else. I figured, the closest legume would be black chickpeas, called Kala Chana at my local Indian store, a place where a lot of my ingredients come from in general.

Kala Chana, a black chickpeas, are not the same as your regular chickpeas. They have tougher skin, a more earthy flavor. You have to cook them longer too.

Traditionally, in Latvia, grey peas with bacon are served with a cup of buttermilk. I have to tell you, now from my own and my close folks experience, buttermilk comes with this dish as french fries with a ketchup, or milk with a cookie, and so on...

What is it?

It is a very simple fare - pre-cooked chickpeas are pan-fried together with some onion and bacon. 

Taste Description

Do I even have to mention how heavenly that flavor is coming from fried bacon? But, I'm sure, I have to let you know how perfect pairing of bacon-ised peas and cold, whole-milk buttermilk is. Especially if you were generous on a black pepper, when you were cooking peas. If this combination seems odd to you, try to think of it as sour cream, which goes hand -to-hand with most of Mexican dishes ;) 

How to Serve

- Serve hot, or warm, with a glass of cold, whole-milk buttermilk.
- To make a complete meal, serve on top of steamed rice.


- For myself, I cooked vegetarian version with olive oil and a lot of smoked paprika, added at the end. Yes, it has to be tried with a glass of nice buttermilk too!

- I'm sure, you can replace black chickpeas with a regular ones. It still will be fantastic. 

Latvian-like Chickpeas with Bacon

  • 3 cups cooked black chickpeas (1.5 uncooked)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb thinly or thickly slices bacon, cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • buttermilk (to serve with)
- I cook chickpeas in a pressure cooker without pre-soaking, in a lot of water and pinch of soda, for 1.5 hour.  For conventional way, soak chickpeas, with a pinch of soda, overnight. Then cook next day for about 2 hours until very soft inside (skin still will be a bit tough). 

- In a frying pan, cook onion and bacon until some fat will be rendered in a bottom.

- Rinse chickpeas and add it to a pan with onion and bacon. Cook on a medium heat to your liking - longer if you like it crunchier, less if you like it softer. Add salt and pepper at the end of cooking.

- It's done - enjoy!

In Pictures

This is bag from my black chickpeas I bought at Indian grocery store.

This is dry black chick peas.

In a pressure cooker, before cooking...

This is hickory smoked thin sliced bacon. Although I would recommend apple wood smoked bacon - it's the best.

No crime here to get onion and bacon in a pan at the same time...

Don't forget to rinse your chickpeas before adding to bacon and onion.

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