In The Armchair

Warm Chickpea Salad

Posted in Food by Armchair Guy on April 25, 2009

I used to make this dish quite regularly when I was on a bit of a health binge.  It’s easy, healthy, filling and absolutely delicious: the perfect recipe.  It’s been a while since I made it, though, and when I tried to find this recipe again today — I couldn’t.  For about a half hour.  It was a major scare for me; I thought I’d lost it forever.  When I finally found it, (the original is here on recipezaar) I decided I’d blog it immediately so I don’t forget it again… so here goes!  I’ve made some modifications to suit my Desi palate.


3 tomatoes, cut into quarters
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 small red chilies, crushed
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine (I prefer a chardonnay or riesling)
400 g chickpeas, drained and rinsed (garbonzos 14 oz)
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, zested finely (I omit this if I’m feeling lazy)
1 handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped


Chop tomatoes into a rough dice and crush chillies.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the chilli, garlic and red onion. Stir over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and the wine. Reduce heat to low. Cover the skillet and cook for another 2-3 minutes. The mixture should be soft.

Stir in the chickpeas, add salt to taste and cook covered for another 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat, add lemon juice, lemon zest, stir.  Garnish with coriander leaves.


I read somewhere that wine works in such recipes because it’s acidic (turns into vinegar if oxidized), and this helps to break down proteins in the chickpeas, giving them a better taste.

Advani vs. the Congress PR Machine

Posted in India by Armchair Guy on April 15, 2009

In what looks like a carefully orchestrated series of moves designed by an ad agency, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and Manmohan Singh recently began coordinated attacks against Advani.  The Gandhi family is obviously trying to protects its own grip on power; Manmohan, unfortunately, is an academic who has had a politician’s role thrust upon him, a role he is ill suited for.

Advani apparently started it by calling Manmohan Singh weak and without authority.

This apparently either enraged or alarmed the Congress Trinity.  The sheer variety and breadth of statements the Congress folk have made against Advani is surprising.  They’ve called Advani weak, claimed he is a slave of the RSS, said he’s a man of words and not action, and that he has no achievements.

But here’s the thing: whatever he is or isn’t, Advani is patently not any of those things.  And it’s equally obvious Manmohan has been installed by Sonia Gandhi and her children, who hold the only real power in the Congress party.  This perception is so strong that it’s become the topic of jokes in the popular media.

I thought the most interesting statement, though, was when Sonia said Advani had no accomplishments.  This, coming from a lady whose sole accomplishment is her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi.  A sense of irony is seriously lacking.