Or for those of you who don’t speak Armenian, that means “Easy Armenian.” This dish was one that we had copied out of The Complete Middle East Cookbook a few years back and have never made. Why that is, I don’t know. This meal was simple, flavorful, and budget-friendly. It reminds us a lot of our Mujadarra recipe that is equally simple, appetizing, and cost-conscious. It involved similar kinds of ingredients and took about the same amount of time to prepare.
Since this was a SND, I was in charge of making everything. We decided to enjoy some yellow jasmine rice along with the main chickpea dish, which posed two challenges for me: cutting an onion for the main dish and cooking rice without burning it. But with Will’s watchful eye (and my beloved onion goggles), I accomplished both! Not only did I cut the onion without crying, I diced it into smaller pieces than I’ve ever managed before, even receiving the compliment “well done” from Will! And as far as the rice went, I think yellow jasmine rice is a bit easier to make because it doesn’t involve water as the first ingredient, but instead spices then rice before adding a liquid. Therefore, it allowed for the end result of me not burning it! Success!
This dish may look fancy and intimidating in a picture, or maybe my Armenian language skills have turned you off from it, but seriously. Just try it-it’s so easy and surprisingly delicious.
Cooking Notes: We did not use the full amount of chickpeas or spinach for the meal, but did use everything else to the scale the recipe calls for. Still turned out well as far as we’re concerned! I will include our revised recipe here.
Nivik (adapted from The Complete Middle East Cookbook; serves 2)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tomato paste
Ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
3 oz. baby spinach leaves
Fry onion in oil until transparent. Add tomato paste, about 2 tsp salt, a generous grinding of black pepper and sugar. Add cooked chickpeas to mixture. Add spinach and simmer for about 10 minutes until spinach is wilted and tender. Add water to keep moist, but not liquidy. Serve immediately or enjoy cold the next day.
A version of the recipe can be found here: Cooking the Globe: Nivik
Yellow Jasmine Rice (adapted from Budget Bytes; serves 2)
1 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 whole bay leaf
1 tbsp ghee
Heat the ghee, then mix in the turmeric, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir and heat until ghee has melted. Add dry rice, stir, and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes to slightly toast the rice. You might/should hear popping or crackling noise as the rice toasts.
Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and one leaf to the pot. Place a lid on top, increase heat to high, and bring pot to rolling boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Once done simmering, turn heat off and let it rest for another 10 minutes (don’t remove lid). Fluff with fork and serve!