Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tangy Chickpea Curry & Bengali Yogurt Fish

Ok, let's be honest - I've always been a little intimidated by recipes for Indian food, probably due to the many spices that are required. However, I like to tackle my fears, and ever since a blissful week eating my friend V's mom's homecooked Indian food several years ago, I've wanted to try and make some at home myself. There's a different quality to homecooked food that you just can't get in restaurants, no matter how good they are. Thankfully, Anjum Anand, author of I Love Curry, has come to the rescue with a book full of curry recipes that are done with a lighter touch on the oil. While it was hard to pick which recipes to try first, I went with a couple that wouldn't require me to purchase too many new things to start off with. Both came out wonderfully - the spicing was distinctly different and flavors were delicate yet full - not like the takeaway curries I've had before. I can't wait to try out more, and while I'm writing out the recipe for the Tangy Chickpea Curry here, if you're interested in trying out more Indian dishes at home, get this book.

Tangy Chickpea Curry
From I Love Curry by Anjum Anand
Serves 4-5


12g fresh ginger, peeled
4 fat garlic cloves
2 largish tomatoes, quartered (I used 3 smallish ones)
5-6 tbsp vegetable oil (I used slightly less than 5)
4 cloves
4 green cardamom pods
1 black cardamom pod (I didn't have this so just used an extra green cardamom pod)
2 large shards of cinnamon
2 tsp cumin seeds (I used ground as I didn't have whole seeds)
2-3 green chillies, whole but pierced (I used 2 birds eye chillies since that's what I had)
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/4 - 1/2 tsp chilli powder (I used closer to 1/4 tsp due to the birds eye chillies)
salt, to taste
2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 -2/3 tsp tamarind paste, or dried pomegranate powder (sadly I had to omit this as I didn't have it)
handful of finely chopped fresh coriander


Blend together the ginger, garlic and tomatoes with a little water until smooth with a stick blender. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon and half the cumin seeds and cook until they release their aroma and start to crackle. Add the green chillies and onion and cook until the onion is well browned. Add the tomato paste with the turmeric, ground coriander, chilli powder and salt and cook over a moderate to high heat until the oil comes out at the sides (around 15 minutes), stirring often.

Meanwhile, use the remaining cumin seeds to make roasted cumin powder. Put them in a small dry pan for about 40 seconds, stirring constantly, until they have darkened quite a bit. Grind to a fine powder. Add this to the pot.

Add the chickpeas and 500ml water. Bring to a boil then simmer over a medium heat for seven or eight minutes. Stir in the garam masala and tamarind paste. Mash a few of the chickpeas on the side of the pan to thicken the sauce a little. Taste for seasoning and tartness, adjusting if necessary, then sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve.

*Thanks to Quadrille for sending me a copy to review.

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