Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chickpeas Stew with Roasted Cumin and Tomatoes

So far, it's been a pretty spectacular April. It actually reached 70 degrees here in Seattle last weekend; last year the first time that happened was May 20th. I started lead climbing again, after taking a year-plus long hiatus. I'm loving my job and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I've brought lunch to work every single day.

I've been trying to cook something healthy, hearty and virile enough to last a week in tupperware. Last week it was a red quinoa & sweet potato pilaf (that sadly went un-photographed). This week I am thinking up some concoction with kale, caramelized onions, carrots, avocado and whole wheat pasta. But two weeks ago… two weeks ago I made this delicious Indian-inspired chickpea stew.

I would say the dish was easy to make, but it was slightly time consuming. I could probably attribute this to the fact I have two stove burners and a tiny oven (ah, the joys of living in a studio) but I would like to say all the ingredients were cooked with a coordination usually reserved for Thanksgiving dinner. There was some roasting, toasting and reducing going on and I just can't do that all by my lonesome that quickly. In reality though, there wasn't too much skill involved - a 19-year old dorm-dwelling collegiate guy could do it.

It was substantial enough that on it's own I could fill myself up at lunch. Usually though I tossed in some brown rice to avoid a serious case of the snack attacks at 3pm. I have a snack drawer full of almonds and trail mix at my desk for a reason, but I like to reserve those for desperate times. Like when I feel the urge to stress eat or am very actively trying to avoid the communal candy bowl.

Chickpeas with Roasted Cumin and Tomatoes
Adapted from eCurry

  • 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
  • 2 hot green chile peppers, chopped – Optional
  • salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1.5 cups fresh or canned tomato puree
  • 1.5  teaspoon roasted ground cumin

  1. Combine turmeric, salt, and the roasted cumin with the tomato puree and 1/2 – 1 cup water and stir it to mix.
  2. Dry roast the cardamom, clove in the pan. You will know they're done when you start smelling the spices roasting.
  3. Add the oil and the cumin seeds.
  4. Add the chopped peppers if you want it spicy. Once the cumin seeds start turning dark add the ginger paste. Cook for about a minute.
  5. Add the tomato puree mix, stir it in, and let it let it cook for about 4-5 minutes at medium heat.
  6. Add the chickpeas, cover and simmer for for 7 – 10 minutes. Uncover and mash up a few chickpeas with the back of the spatula. This should be like a soup, not dry. So if the water dries up, add more water when you are boiling. Simmer for couple of more minutes. Switch off the heat and keep it covered until ready to serve.
  7. Garnish with fresh cilantro/coriander leaves.

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