I have always been a fan of chickpeas in any way, shape or form. Not only are they tasty and packed with plant-based protein, they can also be cooked and presented in endless ways. Two of my favorite chickpea dishes are falafel and hummus, offering different flavors and textures.
This dish is inspired by my love of chickpeas, with an added Persian twist. I have taken the essential flavors and ingredients of hummus and falafel and combined them with one of my favorite Iranian dishes, Kuku, to make a new dish I call Falafel Kuku! Kuku is an egg-based dish with a combination of different vegetables and/or meat mixed into the egg mixture and baked or pan-fried to create a light and fluffy, savory delight.
The end result was everything I love about all three of these dishes. The texture was soft and creamy on the inside, with a slightly crispy crust on the outside. The flavor profile featured the familiar flavors of cumin, coriander, parsley, cilantro, lemon, and tahini.
A bit about chickpeas
Depending on your choice of cooking method chickpeas can be a bit time-consuming, but you will find them to be very rewarding with a little bit of patience.
My go-to method for cooking dried chickpeas is to pressure cook them, while the second option is to slow cook them in a slow cooker. Either way, it is best to soak the beans overnight or for at least 4 hours, rinsing them with fresh water before cooking.
All beans are not created equal, and not everyone’s gut will be able to digest these hearty dried proteins the same way. For that reason, I also throw about an inch of kombu (kelp) into my cooking liquid to make the beans easier on the stomach and the digestion process. You don’t need to worry about your beans tasting “fishy,” as that small amount of kombu will not affect the taste, but you will appreciate all the significant minerals it adds to your dish. While you certainly don’t have to eat the kombu after cooking the beans, I always leave it in my dishes for more sea mineral goodness.
Lastly, if time is of the essence and cooking the dried beans would be too time-consuming, a good quality canned bean can absolutely be a feasible substitute. I prefer the Eden brand, as their bean quality and cooking method are very similar to mine: cooked with kombu and no salt!
Falafel Kuku – Kuku Nokhodchi
- 1 can cooked garbanzo beans, no salt added
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup tahini, raw and unsalted
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon cumin, seeds
- 1 teaspoon corriander, ground
- 4 tablesoons fresh parsley, leaves
- 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, leaves
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 6 large eggs
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Place all the ingredients except the eggs and oil in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs and add the chopped garbanzo mixture.
- Mix well and set aside.
- Heat a medium-sized frying pan on high heat, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and pour the garbanzo mixture into the pan.
- Gently shake the pan to make sure the mixture is evenly spread in the frying pan.
- Cover and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.
- The kuku should be firm and set at this stage. Place a plate large enough on top of the pan and carefully flip the kuku onto the plate. Alternatively, you can cut the kuku into quarters to make it easier to flip each piece individually.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the frying pan, slide the kuku back to the pan and cook on medium heat uncovered for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the kuku from the pan and serve with flatbreads, a side of yogurt, and Persian Salad Shirazi.