On the pulse, part one

23 Nov

Here begins the first in an irregular series of posts in which I aim to promote the joys of the humble lentil and its brethren, through recipes which I eat regularly and with pleasure.

For the benefit of new readers or doubters, I’d like to state before going any further that I am not a vegetarian and cannot stand dull-tasting food. I just reckon that if you’re eating on a budget and are not doing fun things with pulses, then you are missing out.

Chickpea curry (Sindhi style)

The basis of this comes from Camellia Panjabi‘s ace 50 Great Curries of India. It’s got amazing depth of flavour due in part to the spice blend, and in part due to using onions cooked three different ways.

I can happily live on it for a week – this’ll serve three if you’re as greedy as me, up to six if less so. If you need to source ingredients then check my last post.

You will need:

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 3 onions
  • A thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 250g tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 green cardamoms, cracked
  • 8 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt
  • A pinch asafoetida
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp mango powder (amchoor)
  • About 200g baby spinach
  • Chopped coriander, to serve

Ingredients get busy in the wok


To prepare:

  1. Chop two of your onions, grate or process the third along with your ginger and garlic.
  2. Drain the stock from your chickpea cans into a pan and add one chopped onion, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, cumin seeds, a tsp of salt and the asafoetida. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer gently with a lid on.
  3. Meanwhile heat your oil in a big heavy wok or similar. Fry the remaining onion until brown, then reduce heat slightly and add your pureed onion, ginger and garlic followed by chickpeas. Saute for 10 mins.
  4. Add turmeric, garam masala and coriander powders, pepper and mango powder and stir for one minute before adding chopped tomatoes. Leave to cook for a few minutes before straining in the remaining liquid from the other pan, which will now be rich and spicy.
  5. Now put in your spinach leaves and leave to cook down for 10 minutes or so, while you make ready some rice or flatbreads to serve with the curry. Season if necessary and top with chopped coriander.

The finished article

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