Chickpeas in a Tomato and Tamarind Gravy with Spices

chickpeas chutney
Often I have been asked where my inspiration comes from in the kitchen. Plenty and varied it is. At times, when I am having a sleepless night, I will draft a recipe in my head and jot it down in the morning. At other times, I will get an idea and fuse a few recipes ideas into one that can surely be said to be my own. I enjoy looking through cookbooks and, time permitting, visiting my favorite blogs for ideas that I can adapt from and enjoy. At this point in time, after cooking for many years, I understand the correct balance of flavors and proportions that will please the senses of most of my friends and myself and husband.

Oddly enough, this food blogger who cooks up creations that receive rave reviews does not like to eat too much at a time. Not a bad thing when you consider it. Why tax your system with a huge meal? All the same, if I am not really that hungry, my own food is the cure to that problem most of the time. I don't mean to sound arrogant here, but just saying that I know what I like. This thick chickpea dish is almost like a chutney and certainly pairs well with grains or wrapped up in a flatbread.

  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 - 5 black cardamon pods, crushed
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cups water

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds or dried thyme
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch of asafetida
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 large tomato, diced

  • 3 fresh green chilies, seeded and sliced into small strips
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, trimmed and chopped
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain and rinse, and transfer to a large saucepan along with the ginger, garlic, baking soda, cardamon pods, cinnamon, bay leaves and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are tender. Mash some of the chickpeas with a fork or potato masher.
  • Heat the oil or ghee over medium heat in a frying pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and ajwain seeds or dried thyme. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Toss in the onion and stir and fry for 5 minutes or until the onion begins to brown. Now add the spices and salt and stir and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook until the mixture is thickened. Transfer to the pan of chickpeas along with the chilies, tamarind and half of the chopped herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat slightly. and cook for another 15 minutes or until thickened.
  • Garnish with the remaining herbs and serve hot with fresh cooked rice or flatbreads. 

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