Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spicy Chickpea & Sweet Potato (Aloo)

You can tell that it's the end of the month and the end of my grocery budget.  Not that this dish couldn't be served and enjoyed anytime during the month, but it's a great dish to serve when you're cooking from your pantry.  I had all the ingredients (dried chickpeas, tomato puree, Indian spices, quinoa) in my pantry and so I only needed to purchase one large sweet potato, which cost me a whopping $1.70.  Normally I wouldn't be close to overspending for the month, but I traveled back east to visit my family and I always end up spending more trying to stock their pantry with healthy ingredients.  But just because this is a budget meal doesn't mean that it lacks flavor and certainly not nutrition.  One serving of this dish is packed with Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, Lycopene, Potassium, Fiber and Protein!  I should be eating this more often--everyone should!  Good for the budget and good for your health!

I served the aloo over yellow quinoa, but brown basmati rice, or whole wheat couscous would also be good to soak up the flavorful sauce.  For the tomatoes, I used Pomi crushed tomatoes, but they are really expensive, but since they were already in my pantry I didn't need to spend the money.  If it were summer and the tomatoes were bright red and juicy I would just blanch them to remove the skins and grate them for the sauce.   Also, this is another oil-free dish--there's so much flavor that you don't any processed oils.


1 tsp grated ginger
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less depending on taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
1-2 small whole green Thai chilies, halved or quartered
2 cups tomato puree
2 1/2 cups filtered water, (more or less depending on consistency)
1 large sweet potato or yam, diced into 1/2-1" pieces (about 3 cups)
2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas or garbanzo beans
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves

  • Soak 3/4 cup of chickpeas overnight and then cook until tender.  Drain and set aside. 
  • In a large sauce pan, over medium-low heat, add whole cumin seeds and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant.  Add 1/4 cup water, grated ginger and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until soft.
  • Stir in other spices and chilies and then add tomato puree and 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  • Next add the diced sweet potatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook on medium-low heat until sweet potatoes are just tender, adding more water if necessary.
  • Finally add cooked chickpeas and heat through and season with salt and pepper if necessary. 
  • Garnish with minced cilantro and serve over grain of choice.

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