chickpea curry recipe

I thought it might be quite nice to post a savoury "dinner-type" recipe after all the sweetness of last month. You must all think that we live off sweets! It is actually far from the truth believe it or not. Yes I do bake often, but mostly just once a week, occasionally twice if I have a special reason to bake more. I would be lying if I said I didn't have a sweet tooth and love for nothing more than to set aside the morning to bake, but more than that it's practical right now for me to post mostly sweet recipes. See cakes, cookies and slices are forgiving. They don't freak out if left to cool for half the day before I get around to taking photos. They don't go limp or discolour. And it doesn't usually matter if half of them are eaten before the camera is pulled out; in those times just one or two of the end product are photographed!
You may even sometimes wonder if we ever eat a proper dinner as most of the savoury recipes I post are well, kinda light. Salads etc (usually made for my lunch). Here's the thing. We have two young children. And my fellow parents will know this well... kids don't wait for you to get "the shot" if they are hungry and need feeding, now. So while we do eat savoury foods 99% of the time and a cooked meal every night, I'm not mad enough to try and stand in the way of the kids and their dinner, taking photos so I can blog about it! That and I shoot using natural light, which is pretty much gone by dinner time.

In a bid to be super-mum organised I will sometimes get dinner ready at lunch time so all that is needed to do later-on is put on a little rice and re-heat whatever was made earlier. On those days curries are my first choice. Not only do they keep and re-heat well later, but the flavours actually improve with a little time (also leaving me a little moment to take photos before the madness of mealtimes begin and the light disappears!). Chickpeas provide a high protein vegetarian (or vegan) meal and if you are caught out at the last minute tinned ones are a great alternative to dried. I always keep at least a few tins in the pantry for such times, just rinse them well before using to remove the salty brine.
As I wrote about in more depth in my eggplant curry recipe, please don't skimp on the time spent browning the onions. You are after a deep, rich, golden brown. Only a few shades off burnt! The flavour you get from doing this is insane and truly makes a good curry.
Chickpea curry recipe
Like I've said before, most curries actually improve in flavour on sitting. Making this the perfect do-ahead dish. Asafoetida (hing) is a yellowish powder made from the dried latex of a type of fennel. The powder I have actually has wheat in it. So if you are super sensitive to wheat or have coeliac disease try to track down the pure resin form, or just omit completely. It’s used to make pulses and legumes more digestible and is sometimes used in place of onions and garlic. Keep it in an airtight container to avoid spreading the smell throughout the house! You will find it at Indian supply stores. You could also use ghee (which is lactose-free) in place of the vegetable oil for a richer taste. Serves 4-6 as a main with rice.
  • 250g dried chickpeas (or use 2 x 440g tins, rinsed and drained well), soaked overnight in plenty of water
  • 3 medium onions
  • 1 x 2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tomatoes (350g), skinned and de-seeded*
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil (I use ricebran oil)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a pinch of asafoetida (optional)
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves and basmati/brown rice to serve

    Drain the chickpeas, cover with fresh water and cook for 30-50 minutes, or until soft. Drain and reserve cooking liquor.

    Finely chop one of the onions. Puree the remaining two, along with the ginger and garlic in a food processor to form a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl then puree the skinned and de-seeded tomatoes. No need to wash out the processor in between.

    Heat the oil in a medium pot. Add the chopped onion and cook over low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes until really soft and deep golden brown (don't skimp on this time, it's important to add the beautiful depth of flavour we are after here). Add the onion, ginger and garlic puree and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring often to stop sticking.

    Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala and freshly ground black pepper, stir thoroughly. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the pureed tomatoes and cook a further few minutes. Add the drained chickpeas and stir to coat in the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquor (or water if you are using tinned chickpeas), sea salt to taste, asafoetida if using and the lemon juice. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the chickpeas have heated through. Serve garnished with coriander (cilantro) leaves.

    * To skin the tomatoes, remove the core with a small knife and make a cross slit on the top of each one. Plunge them into boiling water for 30-60 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon. Drop them into some cold water and then peel the skin off. Chop into quarters and then scrape out the seeds. (These are great to add to pasta sauces or vegetable stock if you are like me and can't bear to waste anything!)

    Recipe linked to: Slightly indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply sugar & gluten free

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  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef
    September 15, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Yumm, they certainly do taste better as they mature. I knoe what you mean about sweet food, we only ever eat it when I blog about it!

  • Reply
    September 15, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Looks amazing 🙂 I can almost smell all the spices just reading this post! Loving the serving dish too, I've been looking for something similar for *ages*

  • Reply
    September 15, 2011 at 10:42 am

    I love chickpeas! And I understand *completely* about not being able to take a photo of dinner when people are hungry. Baking is much more forgiving (and greatly outnumbers anything else on my blog).

    Love the sound of this curry – will keep the tip about the onions in mind.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    chickpeas are my favorite! your curry looks so warm and comforting, perfect for this transition into fall.

  • Reply
    Leigh @ Toasted
    September 16, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Hey up.. tis true, was great to meet the other day. Let's do it again soon – I'll be in touch. Lx

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Chickpea curries are always delicious, this one looks so yummy! I actually made that eggplant curry again for dinner tonight, as we had an eggplant that needed to be eaten. It was great and I served it with cous cous 🙂 x

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Thanks all

    Intolerant chef~ Totally. And let it be known that I only let the kids eat tiny portions of most of the baking I do, unless it's a really healthy one like tofu bliss balls 😉

    elengenesseajm~ My dear friend gave me that for my 21st if I remember rightly. They are awesome. Can go from stove-top to oven and then are beautiful enough to serve in too! I dream of owning one of the huge ones one day.

    Laura @ hungryandfrozen~ Do try the onion trick 🙂

    Caitlin~ And perfect for us here too, just at the start of spring. We've had beautiful warm weather for the past few weeks, but yesterday it turned cold and wet again…

    Leigh~ It was great, talk soon xx

    Hannah~ So glad you like that eggplant curry

  • Reply
    This American Bite
    September 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I love chick-pea curry. For a while I would cheat and buy something from Trader Joes but nothing compares to the real thing. This reminds me of childhood – thank you!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2011 at 1:53 am

    Yes with you on the sweet thing & sometimes dinner just gets eaten 🙂 The curry sounds great & healthy too!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2011 at 7:48 am

    I can add this version of chickpea curry to my archive. There's a slight difference which make it irresistible for me not to prepare it.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Yes to chickpeas and yes to make-ahead dishes! I always appreciate when dinner only involves popping something in the oven to warm briefly…so much more relaxing. This looks lovely!

  • Reply
    the good soup
    September 21, 2011 at 7:37 am

    ha! I never knew asafoetida makes beans more digestible. I always thought of it as a stand in for garlic and onions in Indian food cultures that don't approve of their 'stimulating' tendencies. But digestion! This could be the answer to my difficulty with chickpeas. I'm fine with all other legumes- just chickpeas give me a gut ache. I've also just read, in Patience Gray's Honey from a Weed, that cooking in stone crocks can help with beans digestibility. And I see you have a crock pot just like mine! isn't it beautiful? Anyway, lots to say! bye for now! x

  • Reply
    September 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    delicious and easy to make! thanks

  • Reply
    Shelley Alexander
    April 24, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Emma, This chickpea curry looks delicious! I love curries and just posted a recipe for kale coconut curry on my holistic blog. I will have to make your recipe. I just found your blog from Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and I look forward to trying your recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Judy Grebeldinger
    November 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Turned out excellent, thanks!

  • Reply
    Wool garden
    September 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Just made this with fresh tomatoes and onions from the garden.
    Thank you for the recipe

  • Reply
    April 12, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Hi emma, yum, I cooked this for dinner the other night. My time saver is to have my chick peas soaked and cooked and portioned in the freezer. Your book is lovely I have plans to make sure it becomes bday presents for a few people. Chris beebe

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