Cold, damp, winter weather needs a bit of spice.
That is my opinion as I happen to like modestly spiced foods most in miserable weather.
Having made that statement I immediately paused typing this post and went down the Google rabbit hole to see if I’m right.
I am…. sort of.
People do like spicy foods in cold weather as there is a perception that it will warm them.
Which is also the reason that people living in hot climates like spicy food. It raises their body temperature, inducing sweating which cools them off.
More about that after the recipe.
I was just hungry for slightly spicy food.
Add ghost peppers and sriracha as needed.
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Spicy Moroccan Chickpeas
This is an easy, unusual side dish with the flavors of North Africa. You could use white beans if you prefer, but chickpeas would be more traditional
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Winter Vegetables
- 3 cups (30oz, 900gr) chickpeas, rinsed, drained (16oz, 480gr net)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbs chopped fresh ginger
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes, with juices
- 2 tbs dried parsley
- 1 tbs dried marjoram
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, and spices in olive oil until onion is tender and spices fragrant.
- Add tomatoes, juices, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add chickpeas, herbs and simmer for 15 minutes longer.
- To use dried chickpeas:
- 8oz (250gr) dried chickpeas
- Soak chickpeas in cold water for 5 hours or overnight.
- Drain, add fresh water to cover by 3 inches (7cm) and cook until tender, about 90 minutes.
- Drain and cool.
- When cool, peel: Cover chickpeas with cool water and stir with your fingers, rubbing lightly. The outer peel will come off and float to the top.
- Remove and discard. This is not necessary but will allow the flavors to penetrate the chickpeas.
Substitute 1/4 tsp powdered ginger for fresh.
Keywords: chickpeas, Moroccan spices
The cooling effect is why hot, spicy foods are so predominant in hot climates like India, Mexico, Thailand, Northern Africa, etc.
Sadly, the benefits are lost when the when the humidity is high so it won’t really work in Minnesota summers.
The other reason hot climates have hot food is that the spices have anti-microbial and anti-parasitic properties that help protect people from meat that is starting to, or about to go ‘off’.
The spices also mask the flavor of less than perfect food, making it more palatable.
I’m guessing the flavor benefit came before people realized there was also a health benefit.
I’m never going to look at spicy street food the same….
But then I never eat spicy street food so I don’t need to worry.
I love going down the rabbit hole….