A Turkish spiced chickpea stew (etli nohut yemeği) is a satisfying meal that is extremely easy to make. The amount of flavors you get for 20 min of hands-on time is amazing! The stew is delicately spiced and enlivened with tender pieces of meat but the soft and starchy chickpeas are the real stars of the show!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKPEA STEW
→ First, cook the chickpeas! Soak the beans in water overnight or for 12h. They will expand considerably so pick a large enough bowl. Drain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Sort through the chickpeas, if you see any debris or chickpeas with a dark discoloration, discard them (it’s pretty rare). Then add the chickpeas to a pot with plenty of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 2h. If you want them a bit softer and creamier, add an extra 15 min of cooking time. Drain the chickpeas again and you’re done! There’s little hands-on time when it comes to cooking chickpeas from scratch. However, you do need to plan sufficiently ahead to make sure you’ll have enough time to soak the chickpeas and cook them. If not you can always cheat and prepare this traditional spiced chickpea stew with canned chickpeas. I won’t tell!
→ Second, make the spiced chickpea stew. Nothing could be easier. Chop 1 onion and cut the meat into cubes (if using). Cook the onion in olive oil and then add the meat to the pan to brown it. Add the red pepper (or tomato paste) and cook it for 2 min. It helps to develop the flavors of the paste. Then stir in the rest of the ingredients; spices, cooked chickpeas and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook the spiced chickpea stew uncovered for 20 min. You’re done!
CHICKPEAS IN SAUCE
Etli nohut is not as thick as what you might consider as a traditional stew. With this recipe you basically get saucy chickpeas. But what a sauce! It’s absolutely mandatory to soak it up with fluffy white bread or Turkish rice pilaf.
This recipe belongs to the sulu yemek (watery meals) category. It doesn’t sound very appetizing but I promise you it’s delicious! The designation encompasses every kind of starch, vegetable or meatballs cooked and served in a thin sauce that is broadly made with red pepper or tomato paste and water. Spiced chickpea stew is a very common meal, often eaten at home but you’ll also spot it served in lokantas (cafeteria-style restaurants). Pickles are often served on the side, as they are the perfect crunchy and briny counterparts to the tender spicy chickpeas.
You can also make this spiced chickpea stew:
- with beef: substitute the leg of lamb for the same amount of beefsteak and then follow the recipe. Beef is usually cheaper than lamb (if you’re not living in NZ) and pretty tasty too!
- with chicken: substitute the leg of lamb for the same amount of chicken breast. Cook the chickpeas, and the onion as written in the recipe. Poach the chicken covered with simmering water in a separate saucepan for 15 min over medium heat. Drain and shred using 2 forks. Spread the red pepper (or tomato) paste over the chopped onion. Add the chicken to the stew alongside the chickpeas and spices in step 3 and then follow the rest of the recipe as written.
- vegetarian: use 350g (1 ¾ cups) of dry chickpeas in total and add the paste directly after having cooked the onion for 7 min.
- with canned chickpeas: canned chickpeas sure are useful when you don’t have time to soak and cook the chickpeas yourself! Substitute the dry chickpeas for 2 cans of chickpeas that have a net weight, undrained, of 425g (15.5 oz). Start the recipe from the second step. Then drain the canned chickpeas in a colander, rinse them under cool running water and add them to the pan during step 3, as written in the recipe. Canned chickpeas are less firm than chickpeas cooked from scratch so the consistency of the spiced chickpea stew will be a little different.
HOW TO FREEZE
You can totally freeze this spiced chickpea stew! It’s a great way to get ahead or to save any leftovers. Allow to cool down to room temperature and pour into a large airtight container (or a freezing bag to save space). You could also divide it into several portions. Freeze! It can be kept frozen for up to 6 months. To reheat, first, thaw the spiced chickpea stew overnight in the fridge. Then place it in a pan and reheat gently over low to medium heat for about 10 min, stirring occasionally. If you didn’t have time to thaw the spiced chickpea stew first, you can reheat it directly from its frozen state but you’ll have to cook it for longer.
Looking for other lamb recipes? Here are some of my favorites recipes:Print
A Turkish spiced chickpea stew is deeply satisfying and extremely easy to make. The stew is delicately spiced and enlivened with tender pieces of meat but the soft and starchy chickpeas are the real stars of the show!
- 250g dry chickpeas (1 ¼ cups)
- 1 large onion
- 285g leg of lamb (10 oz), or use your preferred beef cuts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sweet red pepper paste (tatlı biber salçası), or use tomato paste
- 2 tsp fine sea salt, divided
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp red chili powder (acı toz biber)
- Soak and cook the chickpeas. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover completely with cold water. Allow to soak for about 12h or overnight. Drain in a colander and rinse the chickpeas under cold running water. Add the chickpeas to a cooking pot and cover with 2.5L (11 cups) of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to low heat, cover with a lid and cook at a simmer for 2h. Top with more water during cooking if it gets too dry (the chickpeas need to be covered with water at all times). Taste to make sure they are tender enough for you. If not, cook the chickpeas for a little longer (15 to 30 min) but keep in mind that they’ll cook a bit more in the stew. Drain in a colander and put aside.
- Brown the meat. Peel the onion and finely chop it. Cut the lamb into small cubes. Heat the oil in a deep non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion along with 1 tsp of salt and cook, stirring from time to time, for 7 min. The onion should have softened and turned translucent by then. Tip in the cubed lamb (or beef), and cook stirring often until the lamb starts to color a little and is no longer pink, about 5 min.
- Cook the spiced chickpea stew. Add the red pepper (or tomato) paste and spread it all over the lamb and onion using the back of a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 min. Stir in 1 tsp of salt, the rest of the spices and the cooked chickpeas. Pour in 475ml (2 cups) of water and increase the heat to quickly bring the stew to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer gently uncovered for 20 min. Taste and add a bit more salt or red chili powder if desired.
You can keep any leftover stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 574
Keywords: stewed chickpeas, boiled chickpeas, typical turkish food