Sunday, March 3, 2013

spicy Indian chickpeas

Sometimes it is nice to just mix it up- enter spicy Indian chickpeas for dinner. Warm and spicy, I like to serve it with Trader Joes naan bread (you can find it in the frozen food section), plain greek yogurt and sliced english cucumbers. The yogurt and cucumber add nice cooling bites to contrast the heady sauce. The naan is good for scooping up- a spoonful of chickpeas on top and a dab of yogurt? It is like a cumin and coriander nacho.

Not only is this recipe good to eat, but it is also a lovely task to cook. It starts with chopped onion, garlic and ginger sauteing up and to that fragrant mix, add the cinnamon, garam masala, cumin, coriander and cloves. The combination sizzling away in the kitchen provides that sometimes necessary kick to help me shake off the day and transition to a relaxing meal with my family. That is part of the wonder of cooking, right? How a basic task we perform everyday can become a ritual of devotion.

This recipe is from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn. It is a book written with love about feeding her family. I highly recommend it.

spicy Indian chickpeas

2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped, about 1 1/2 cups plus 1 small onion, sliced, for garnish
8 garlic cloves, minced (2 tablespoons)
1 3-inch square piece of peeled fresh ginger, minced (3 tablespoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (I'd cut this back to 1, otherwise way too salty for my tastes)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3, 15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained, 1 cup liquid reserved
optional garnishes:
1 large tomato, sliced in wedges
3 hot fresh green chilies, sliced lengthwise

1) Heat a large skillet and swirl in the oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute until soft and lightly golden, 5 to 6 minutes.

2) In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, garam masala, cumin, coriander, cloves, cayenne, and salt. Add to the onion mixture; cook and stir the spices to lightly toast, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another few minutes to combine. The color should be dark red.

3) Add the chickpeas plus the cup of reserved liquid. Stir to combine. (I like this to have a bit more liquid to it, so I add an extra 3/4 cup of chicken stock in addition to the chickpea liquid.) Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, removing the cover in the last few minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for a minute to allow the beans to soak up the spice flavors. Season with salt to taste.

4) Serve in a shallow bowl garnished with the sliced onion, tomato wedges and slices of green chillies. (Or as I prefer, pictured below, with sliced cucumbers, plain greek yogurt, and naan bread.)

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