On Christmas Eve there is a tradition in Bulgaria that only odd number vegetarian dishes are allowed on the table, including grains, pulse, vegetables, fruit and nuts. The day is the last one of the fast before Christmas and on the next day 25 December, meat is widely and abundantly available.
Although non traditional to the region, from a dietary point of view chickpeas in the form of hummus and falafel meet most of the requirements to be on the Christmas Eve table.
I don't really remember to have come across any dish cooked with boiled chickpeas, but my grandparents have been growing some. It was mainly roasted, dried and salted (no in this particular order) and was a very popular snack.
I would now add it to stews or curries or make hummus dip or falafel.
To break the traditional dried bean soup we make for Christmas Eve I though we should go with the little chickpea balls instead, ie falafels.
My recipe is in fact vegan as it does not include any animal product.
However, the balls were quit soft and quite easy to break but the taste was very intense as I did not add any flour.
I used cooked chickpeas.
2 cans chickpeas (2x400g)
1 medium sized onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - crushed and chopped
leaves from 5-6 springs lemon thyme
1 cup fresh parsley leaves -chopped
cracked black pepper
vegetable oil for frying
Wash, drain and dry the chickpeas.
Process them in a food processor until coarsely blended.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and sautee the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add the parsley and lemon thyme and sautee for more 1 minute. Remove from heat and combine with the chickpeas. Process in a food processor until well blended.
Pressing with fingers make small balls. Heat the oil in a pan and fry on both sides until crunchy. Be careful they don't' break.
Serve with lemon/lime wedges.