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Yamuna Devi's Spiced Chickpea Salad with Spinach

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Yamuna Devi's Spiced Chickpea Salad with Spinach

Yamuna Devi writes: "As an alternative to spinach, try red or green Swiss chard leaves - they are delicious. Because chard is not as tender as spinach, blanch or steam it for a minute or two before assembling the salad".

Soaking time: 8 hours or overnight,

Cooking time: about 2 hours,

Serves: 6.

1½ cups (290g) chickpeas, soaked in water 8 hours or overnight, then drained,

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds,

½ teaspoon celery seeds,

4 tablespoons lemon juice,

6 tablespoons olive or nut oil
Scant ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika,

¼ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder (hing),

2 tablespoons tomato paste,

2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey,

½ teaspoon salt,

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper,

1 large ripe tomato, diced,

1 small cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and diced,

½ of a yellow bell pepper, seeded, and diced,

½ pound (230g) fresh spinach, washed, trimmed, coarsely chopped and patted dry

Place the chickpeas in a heavy saucepan with 4 cups (1 litre) of water and simmer over low heat for 1½-2 hours or just until tender. Keep an eye on the chickpeas during the last ½ hour to prevent them from overcooking. Drain and let cool.

Crush the mustard seeds and celery seeds with a mortar and pestle. Place them in a salad bowl with the lemon juice, oil, cayenne or paprika, asafetida, tomato paste, sweetener, salt and pepper, and beat with a fork or wire whisk until emulsified.

Add the chickpeas, tomato, cucumber and bell pepper. Gently toss, cover and chill for 2-4 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, remove the salad from the refrigerator. Add the spinach, toss, and bring back to room temperature.