Nivik

Hadrian's wall near Housesteads

This is not quite a traditional Nivik, hot chick pea and spinach salad, instead it is my slightly spicey version. I prefer to call chick peas, Garbanzo Beans, it sounds more exotic. This recipe was inspired by two friends walking Hadrian’s wall in northern England.  The wall was built of stone and turf by the Roman Empire beginning is 122.  It is thought that the construction only took six years to complete.  In 2003, the 134.5 km footpath was made a national trail extending from the east coast of Great Britain to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast.  My friends walked the first seven kilometers today beginning at Wallsend.  The path passes through Newcastle where one of my favourite pieces of art is installed, the Newcastle Angel, but that is a completely different story which I’ll save for another time.

So how did this trip inspire me? At the end of the first day’s hike they stopped for curry and beer, or in my world great English beer… and curry.  It seemed like such a perfect combination  —  hiking, beer, and curry — that by the end of the day I decided that instead of plain old spinach I would make a hot chick pea salad.  Nivik is the traditional name for this dish, but I’ve added a number of eastern spices which change the flavour from a somewhat mild dish to a spicy and pungent entree.

Nivik, hot spicy chick pea and spinach salad

Now, here’s the recipe.

The aroma from making this recipe begins with this first step and makes the whole experience a pleasure to your senses from creation to consumption.

In a mortar and pestle grind and blend together the following spices:
2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
2 tbsp ground cumin seed
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 tbsp turmeric
3 dried red chili pepper pods
1 tbsp sea salt

In a frying pan heat:
1/3 cup of olive oil

Add:
7 ounces of diced onions

Cook until the onions become translucent then add:
4 cloves of minced garlic

Fry on slow heat until the onions and garlic begin to brown then add:
1/3 cup of olive oil. Yes, I know what you are thinking but it’s correct, and olive oil is one of the best things for our health so just go along with me here and add this second third of a cup.

Add the spice mixture from above and stir until well blended. Should only take a minute or two before everything becomes a toasty golden colour.

Add and stir together:

32 ounces of hydrated chick peas. Canned are the best kind, with the water drained.
5.5 ounces of tomato paste

Okay you are almost there. On low heat add:
8 ounces fresh spinach. It will seem like a lot and may not seem to fit into the pan but be patient and stir it slowly, the spinach will melt quickly, and leave you with a beautifully pungent a colourful hot salad in only a couple of minutes.

I like to turn the mixture out onto a flat plate and present it steaming hot.  Of course, be sure to serve it with a pint of beer.