Indian cuisine often gets a rap as too complicated or too spicy or too time-consuming or too ingredient-heavy (or all of the above) to cook at home.
This recipe disproves all of that – and happens to be bold and delicious to boot.
It erased every bit of intimidation for me, and now my husband and I cook Indian food – often this very dish – almost every week.
And chickpeas are practically their own food group in our house now.
Easy Chickpea Curry Recipe
8 ounces ripe tomato, hulled and coarsely chopped
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Fresh hot green chiles of choice, such as 2 or 3 Thai green chiles or 1/4 to 1/2 jalapeño (optional; seeds removed, if desired)
1 cup packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1-1⁄2 teaspoons salt
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
5 whole green cardamom pods, smashed with the flat side of a chef’s knife
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, cut into small dice (about 1 cup)
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 3 cups total)
Combine the tomato, ginger, garlic, chiles (if using), cilantro, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 6 tablespoons of the water in a blender or food processor. Puree to form a smooth, pourable sauce.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and bay leaves; stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant, then add the onion and potatoes.
Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens and the potatoes begin to turn golden.
Stir in the pureed sauce, so the onion and potatoes are well coated. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, then uncover long enough to stir in the chickpeas, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the remaining 1 cup of water.
Once the mixture begins to bubble, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. (If the curry is bubbling too vigorously, reduce the heat to low.)
Allow the curry to cool for a few minutes, then discard the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cardamom pods. Serve warm.
Adapted from “From Curries to Kebabs: Recipes From the Indian Spice Trail,” by Madhur Jaffrey.