Posts Tagged With: chickpea

Shiro (Spicy Ground Chickpea Stew)

Eritrean Entree

(Spicy Ground Chickpea Stew)


1 jalapeno
5 garlic cloves
1 large onion
1 large tomato
⅓ cup vegetable oil
3 cups water
2 tablespoons Berbere spice*
¾ cup chickpea or garbanzo flour*
1 teaspoon salt

Serves 4. Takes 50 minutes.

* = Can be found in Middle Easter or African supermarkets or online.


Seed jalapeno. Slice jalapeno into small circles. Mince garlic cloves and onion. Dice tomato. Cook onion at medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until it turns brown. Stir frequently. Add oil. Sauté for 2 minutes at medium heat. Stir frequently. Add garlic and tomato. Sauté at medium heat for 3 minutes. Stir frequently.

Add water. Bring to boil. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Add Berbere spice. Add chickpea flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir with whisk after each tablespoon until lumps disappear. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or until stew reaches your desired level of thickness. Add jalapeno circles and salt. Stir until well blended.


1) About 6,000 years ago, people everywhere grew terrified over solar eclipses. These eclipses meant that the moon god was eating the sun god. If the sun god got devoured, we’d have perpetual darkness. Crops wouldn’t grow in the perpetual gloom. It was all quite distressing.

2) 500 years later, Chief La Fong of the Rohohoe tribe was contemplating the infinite while eating Shiro in a bowl exactly like the one above. Amazing coincidence, isn’t it? Anyway, he noted that while he couldn’t see the bottom of the bowl, it was still there. Shiro had merely come between his eyes and the bottom of the bowl. La Fong then embarked on a campaign of conquest by invading during solar eclipses. He’d simply told the invaded tribe to surrender and he’d make the Moon give back the Sun. How do we know this? Culinary archeologists have decoded the Rohohoe alphabet, which was based on dried out doughnuts. We don’t have the doughnuts anymore. Someone dropped a safe on them. Ironically, the safe was meant to preserve the doughnuts. Oh well.


– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Koftay – Pakistani Meatballs

Pakistani Entree



½ inch ginger root (½ inch more later)
1 onion (1 onion more later)
1 egg
1¼ pounds ground beef (80% is best)
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt (¼ teaspoon more later)
¼ cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour


1 garlic clove
½ inch ginger root
1 onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup full fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon coriander
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon turmeric
2 cups water
½ cup fresh (3 tablespoons if dry) tarragon, cilantro, or parsley


food processor or blender

Serves 6. Takes 45 minutes.


Add ½” ginger root and 1 medium onion to food processor or blender. Blend until you get paste. Beat egg in small bowl. Add ginger root/onion paste, egg, and all other meatball ingredients to large mixing bowl. Mix ingredients with hands until well blended. Form mix into 1″ meatballs.


Mince garlic clove, ½” ginger root, and 1 onion. Add garlic, ginger, onion, and oil to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, turmeric, water, and yogurt. Reduce heat to low. Blend with fork.

Add meatballs. Simmer at warm-low heat for 30 minutes. Stir gently and occasionally. While meatballs simmer in sauce, mince tarragon. Garnish meatballs and sauce with tarragon.


1) Koftay is an Ancient Urartian word meaning meatball.

2 Urartu was an ancient kingdom with lands in what is now eastern Turkey.

3) Urarti civilization thrived under King Sarduri I (832 BC – 820).

4) He formed the fierce Urartian Guard. These proud horsemen swept everything before them.

5) Indeed, the floors of Sarduri’s palace were as clean as anything. Hence, the well-know saying, “As tidy as Sarduri.”

6) Yeah, you could have a safe operation on his tiled floors.

7) And people did. Especially since the Urartian Guard’s practice of riding into battle with brooms meant they incurred quite a few casualties.

8) But it was okay, they were sewn up and were as good as new.

9) Ordinary Urartians noticed the medical success of Sarduri’s palace. They clamored for equal treatment. In 827 the king granted universal health care to his grateful subjects. He could afford this as his other band of horsemen, Urartian Band, armed with lances, sacked one city after another. The gold coins they looted all flowed into the king’s coffers while the meatballs they carried off went to the people

10) Sarduri assessed his people a 10% copay for health care. The coinage starved inhabitants paid in koftay. Our modern word “copay” derives from this concept.

11) However, the Urartian empire declined soon after the king’s death, and eventually disappeared. So did the concept of koftay health care.

12) Universal health care system resurfaced briefly in the late Roman Republic when the reforming Gracchi brothers proposed reinstating koftay. However, the patrician nobility refused. Indeed, they killed the reformers. The Republic soon fell, then did the Empire, followed by barbarian invasions. The Dark Ages of Europe would stretch on for a millennium.

13) However, universal health care would come back to Europe in the late twentieth century. Not so much in America.

14) That’s because Italy loves meatballs so much more than the United States. However, we do have the concept of copay for our private health-care system. We owe this idea to the innovative Urartians and their scrumptious meatballs.

15) Now you know.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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