Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chickpeas with Brown Rice Maifun Noodles, Quinoa with Vegetables (No Added Fat)

My brother in Southern California sent us a package that we just received today of pomegranates! We love them fresh, but they are also interesting to cook with.

One of our favorite local restaurants, Sage Cafe, makes an excellent fesenjan pomegranate and walnut stew with tempeh; I should try their recipe. I made a stew with pomegranates when my brother last shipped the fruit to me last November; perhaps I could try a variant on that again in the coming days.

For today, I had already soaked about a cup of chickpeas overnight and wanted to use them. I had the idea of using thin maifun brown noodles and mixing them in. Here is what I did; my Dad has been visiting since Monday night, so it was for my family, including him.

  • 1 cup dry chickpeas
  • Water
  • Bay leaf (I was out so instead I put in about a half dozen cloves for their flavoring)
  • 3 1" squares of kombu (I realize this isn't a common ingredient; it could be skipped and salt and other preferred seasonings could be added at the end of the pressure cooking)
  • 1/4 cup onion cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t salt
  • Approximately 1 cup of thin brown rice maifun noodles; really, any thin noodle could do


  1. I rinsed and then soaked the chickpeas in ample water (at least 3 parts water to 1 part chickpea) overnight. I have read that the number of hours makes a difference; I think that the chickpeas were soaked for about 15 hours.
  2. I drained the chickpeas, rinsed, and put in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. I put enough water in to just cover the chickpeas, as well as the cloves and kombu, then cooked on high pressure for 25m. It's important not to fill the pressure cooker more than halfway when cooking beans and not to let pressure out quickly, for fear of foam generation that can clog the steam outlet.
  3. I let the pressure cooker come down in pressure naturally for as long as I could then gently let out remaining pressure.
  4. I added the onion, cumin, and salt.
  5. I boiled water and added the noodles, stirring for a few minutes till they were done, then drained and stirred in to the chickpeas, roughly cutting some of the noodles into smaller pieces with the stirring utensil.
I served along with a simple quinoa dish (I sauteed with no fat some onion, bell pepper, and small potato cubes, then added a vegan bouillon cube and, in a 1:2 ratio, quinoa and water, and cooked for about 4 or 5 minutes, then covered and let sit with no more heat for another 5 or 6 minutes till the water was absorbed and the quinoa got its characteristic spiral), that I topped with fresh pomegranate. A thick slice of a luscious heirloom tomato completed the meal.


We all loved the meal. I was surprised that my daughter had seconds as she often fills up after her first serving.

Ideas for the future

To my wife's surprise, the combination of chickpea and noodle turned out well. I'd like to try this combination with beans like cranberry or great northern ones. My Dad doesn't eat garlic, but a little garlic in the chickpea, along with jalapeno, would be good.

I'm glad that the chickpeas came out just right - still firm and intact but fully cooked. So, 15h of soaking then 25m of cooking under high pressure seems to do the trick. I should note that another minute or two of cooking would be in order if I want soft chickpeas.

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