Looking for a chickpea recipe that will go well with tachin
March 2, 2020 4:23 PM   Subscribe

I've recently been playing around with tachin (persian baked yogurt rice) recipes, and they look so pretty and taste so good I want to take it to a get-together. However, one of the participants is vegetarian, so I'm going to make the tachin just with barberries and then have side options. One is going to be the ground lamb I like as filling, so I am looking for a vegetarian option. I'm thinking something with chickpeas.

I looked around for Persian chickpea recipes, and they mostly seemed to be soup or mash type recipes. I'm looking for something that's pretty simple to do (the lamb is just ground lamb patties with salt and pepper, sauteed until brown and then chopped up and stirfried with cumin and coriander for a couple of minutes), relatively dry so it is plausible as a tachin filling (I may in the future actually put it as filling), and flavorful but not spicy (the person does not like spicy food.) The tachin is a pretty mild flavor, since it is flavored with just saffron, salt, yogurt and butter, so I don't want bland chickpeas!

I'm not stuck on chickpeas, any vegetarian suggestion will be fine. A Persian flavoring profile would be cool, but anything that suits saffron will be fine.
posted by tavella to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Glomar response at 4:30 PM on March 2, 2020

Best answer: Falafel, if you can deep fry, and if that's appropriate. Crumbled? I'm not sure what works in this dish.

This filling for "chickpea shwarma" seems like it might have potential.

Maybe tabouleh, as an alternative? You can accent it with whatever imparts the flavor profile you want.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:17 PM on March 2, 2020

Another option might be eggplant. Slice, salt & drain, season slices as desired, roast briefly w/olive oil, chop and use as filling. Maybe with some mint.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:23 PM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

That's very thoughtful of you, and honestly it sounds like cooking the chickpeas the same way you do the lamb (separately, obviously!) would be pretty tasty! I'd probably add some oil/veg broth/water to a rinsed can of beans and just cook it all in the pan.
But falafel would also be great, if you want something more patty-like.
posted by PaulaSchultz at 6:36 PM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

These aren't Persian, just two options that came to mind as jumping-off points:

Mujadarra is always a delicious veg option - it's lentils with rice and onions, simple but so, so good. It's good with yogurt-based sauce, don't know how it would be with saffron.

There's a Spanish chickpea dish that uses saffron; this recipe is good: chickpea and spinach stew.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:41 PM on March 2, 2020

Best answer: I'm wondering if fava beans would be a better analogue for lamb than chickpeas. There are some promising looking Persian recipes out there that pair favas with dill.
posted by toastedcheese at 7:16 PM on March 2, 2020

Best answer: Maybe oven roasted crispy chickpeas? Good crunch and flavor, and since it's just olive oil and salt they will go well with any flavor profile. You could toss them with some cumin after they bake if you want.
posted by ananci at 7:28 PM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you! Some of these look like very good ideas.
posted by tavella at 8:03 PM on March 2, 2020

How about ghormeh sabzi, only leave out the lamb and increase the kidney beans? The linked recipe is just for reference; my mom actually makes it with spinach and a bit of tomato paste rather than all the different herbs, no idea if that's just an Afghan thing or a my mom thing. There are probably a ton of different variations online.
posted by yasaman at 8:09 PM on March 2, 2020

Here's one from the NYT that might work. I've only made it once, and it is indeed very oily, as you might suspect, even holding back somewhat on the oil. But it's very rich and satisfying for a vegan meal.

I'm not sure if it is ok to just copy and paste the original here as written, so I deleted the commentary bits and revised the phrasing of the instructions below.


Spiced Chickpea Salad

• 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, well drained, or 4 cups cooked chickpeas
• ¾ to 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin, or 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
•  Salt and pepper

• ⅓ cup tahini
•  Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
• 1 garlic clove, minced
•  Warm water, as needed

•  Olive oil, for cooking
•  About 10 ounces kale, chard or spinach, well washed and thick stems removed
• 3 cups store-bought or homemade pita chips (see Tip)
•  Handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
•  Handful of roughly chopped mint
• 1 large or 2 small cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
•  Lemon, cut into wedges

1. Mix the chickpeas, oil, garlic, and spices in a small baking dish and bake at 425 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until oil bubbles and the chickpeas start to color. Set aside to cool.

2. In a bowl, whisk lemon juice and garlic into tahini. The tahini will thicken and clump. Slowly whisk in warm water until sauce becomes smooth and pourable. Taste and season with salt, pepper and more lemon juice, if desired. Set aside.

3. Wilt the greens on the stovetop with a little salt.

4. To serve, mix chickpeas and their cooking oil with the cooked greens, half the pita chips, and the chopped herbs. Divide cucumber slices around chickpeas. Drizzle with half the tahini sauce and scatter remaining pita chips on top. Serve with extra tahini sauce and lemon wedges at the table.
posted by slenderloris at 9:38 AM on March 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Cooking chickpeas from dried beans produces a wonderfully flavorful broth. Try sautéing some onions and garlic, then cooking a pound of dried chickpeas in it. When the chickpeas are tender, throw in a couple of handfuls of spinach or other sturdy greens. This is one of my favorite things over rice with a dollop of sour cream.
posted by slogger at 9:52 AM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

This doesn't quite answer your question but for your future reference, This cookbook includes vegetarian varieties for lots of traditional Persian recipes.

When we make vegetarian tahchin we use spinach and eggplant, although your chickpea idea sounds great to me!
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 12:05 PM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also, if you want to get creative, you might be able to prepare jackfruit with the same spices as the lamb, though the texture is closer to pork (probably best roasted on a sheet pan, not stir fried). It's used in vegan tacos. Here's a recipe that uses it for vegan gyros. Trader Joes has it canned (at least the one near me does).
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:16 PM on March 3, 2020

Response by poster: We tried some jackfruit at a previous dinner, and the vegetarian was not too impressed. I'm not a big fan of eggplant, so I'm leaning towards maybe the roasted chickpeas tossed with some spices and spinach. Thanks for all the ideas! Should I post my tachin recipe?
posted by tavella at 7:40 PM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Please do!
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:27 PM on March 3, 2020

Response by poster: Ok. This is based off a few different recipes and some trial and error:

Tachin with Ground Lamb (working recipe)

For the ground lamb filling:
1 lb. ground lamb
Salt and pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tb crushed garlic
Put a small amount of oil in a skillet, medium high heat. Make thin patties of the lamb and salt and pepper both sides. Cook about 5 minutes until well browned, then flip and do another 5 minutes. Pour off excess fat, then chop up the patties roughly. Add cumin, coriander and garlic and stirfry until the spices are well heated and lamb is fully cooked, a couple of minutes.

For the tachin:
Pinch saffron
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (I like regular, some people like a more sour greek)
2 egg yolks
2 cups basmati rice, washed until water runs clear
Ground white pepper (optional)
3-4 tablespoons barberries
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Pyrex casserole (you want to be able to check the color of the bottom)

Crumble saffron threads a bit then add to a quarter cup boiling water and let steep for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350° F and butter the casserole dish. In a large pot, boil 4 cups water and a pinch of salt, and then add the rice in. Cook the rice until no longer crunchy in center but not fully cooked. Depending on how old and dry your rice is, you may need to drain the rice. I’m lazy so I usually don’t care if it’s a bit damp.
Check barberries for any debris, rinse, then add enough water to cover and soak for 10 minutes. Add a little oil or butter to a pan, and when warm remove barberries from the soaking water and add them with the sugar and stir. As soon as the sugar is dissolved and the barberries have plumped up, remove from heat.
Combine the yogurt with the liquid saffron and 1 tsp salt (and some white pepper if you like), and add in egg yolks, mixing until yolks are broken and ingredients are just combined. Fold rice into mixture, then taste and add more salt if needed.
Add half the rice mixture to the buttered casserole dish. Pat down rice to get it evenly spread and well pressed against the dish.
Layer the ground lamb (or other filling) evenly on the rice, sprinkling with the barberry mixture and then add any syrup from the pan in a drizzle.
Add in the other half of the rice, pressing down lightly until flat. Drizzle with melted butter and cover tightly with aluminum foil, then bake for 1 to 2 hours at 350° F (I find it is usually around 1 hour 45, but will vary a lot depending on the configuration of your casserole), until the bottom is golden brown and the sides have started to lightly brown as well.
When cooked through, remove foil, cover the casserole with your serving dish (flat is best), then flip so that the golden brown bottom is on top.
posted by tavella at 9:38 AM on March 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

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