Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chickpea Curry with English Peas

A lot of people think that preparing Indian food is very time consuming and very costly.  Neither is true.  This chickpea curry probably took me 45 minutes from start to finish and that included only 10-15 minutes of actual prep assembling the ingredients.  The remainder of the time is for simmering on the stove to develop flavors.  Spices can be costly if you purchase them at a large chain grocery store, but if you have access to an Indian grocer or Middle Eastern market you can save a lot of money, and if stored properly will keep for up to a year.  I use a lot of spices in my cooking, but you can make this same dish, using only one spice (Madras Curry Powder) and it will come out just as delicious.

There are techniques used in Indian cooking for layering and building fry the whole spices first, then add your paste mixture, which can consist of pureed onion, garlic, ginger and chilies, then you add the powdered spices, then your liquid ingredients, pulses and so on.  But if you have all of your ingredients ready to go, this takes no time at all.   I served this with Roasted Baby Potatoes with Mustard and Coriander, but it would also go well with brown basmati rice or any Indian flatbread such as, chapatis or rotis.  Just make sure that if you purchase the flatbread that you check to see if it contains any butter/ghee.  But if you make the flatbread yourself, which I usually do, then you can substitute canola oil, or leave the fat out entirely.


1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (yellow or black)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced or grated ginger root
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp red chili powder or to taste
1 tsp tumeric powder
3/4 tsp salt (less or more depending on taste)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, pureed in a food processor or blender
2 cups filtered water
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1 tsp garam masala
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup English peas (frozen)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

  • If using dried chickpeas, soak overnight, and cook until tender, set aside.  If using canned, rinse really well before using.
  • In a 3 qt sauce pan, heat canola oil on medium-low and add mustard seeds and fry just until they start popping, about 30 seconds.
  • Next add the finely minced onion and cook until soft, about five minutes.
  • Once the onions are soft, add the minced garlic and ginger and cook for another two minutes being careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add all the remaining dry spices and stir until combined.
  • Add the tomatoes and water and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes for the flavors to blend and the sauce to thicken.
  • Add coconut milk, chickpeas, and English peas and heat through.
  • Adjust seasoning if necessary and garnish with cilantro.


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