Chickpea tomato curry! ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

03 February 2011

Chickpea tomato curry!

This is kind of a default meal that John and I eat when we're low on supplies, energy, and motivation. That doesn't mean it's not delicious, though.

Chickpea tomato curry has a plethora of benefits.

- Easy. All it takes is minor chopping and heat.
- Cheap. Chickpeas plus vegetables? They are cheap. They're even cheaper if you soak and cook dried chickpeas instead of using canned. Hooray!
- Fast. Assuming your chickpeas are already cooked, again, all you have to do is heat everything up. You can be eating in under a half hour.

I made quinoa to go with my curry. How did I do it? I threw a cup of quinoa and two cups of water in the rice cooker, turned it on, and walked away. You can't get much easier than that. You can use any grain you like, or eschew whole grain entirely and toast some pita bread instead. It's all good.

Chickpea tomato curry with quinoa and greens

olive oil
brown mustard seeds
cumin, ginger, turmeric, garam masala
cooked chickpeas
chickpea broth, veg broth, or water
chard (stems and leaves)
salt, pepper
lemon juice/white wine or apple cider vinegar
optional garnish: chopped parsley/cilantro, labneh/plain yogurt, cubed mild cheese.

Put your quinoa (or whatev) on before you start the curry; it'll be ready by the time you're done cooking.

Heat up a saute pan and add a little olive oil. If you have them, pour in a handful of brown mustard seeds. Shake the pan around; when the seeds begin to pop, add a chopped medium onion and several minced garlic cloves. You may want to add a chopped hot pepper; I didn't happen to have any peppers, so I didn't.

Give the onion and garlic a couple minutes to soften before you add spices. Since chickpeas are so solid and earthy, they stand up to plenty of seasoning. Anything that sounds good in curry is good to use. I had cumin, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, and I think some hot curry powder, so I added some of each. Fresh ginger would be much better than powdered (which was all I had; boo), so use it if you've got it.

Stir everything up and let it cook while you prep vegetables. First, tackle the tomatoes. I was using frozen ones, so I whipped four of them out of the freezer and under hot water for a minute to soften slightly. This also let me pull off the skins easily; yay! Then I chopped them all up. However, most of you will probably be using canned tomatoes at this point in the winter. That's also fine; you can use whatever chopped, pureed, smashed, or whole tomatoes are available. Chop them as needed and pour them (and maybe some juice) into the pan.

This is also the time to add chickpeas. I was using frozen chickpeas in broth that I'd previously cooked from dried, so I just chucked the whole brick into the pan and let it melt down. You can either do this, use freshly boiled chickpeas and broth, or use a can of drained chickpeas plus a cup or so of broth or water. It'll be fine. Stir everything up (or put the lid on to facilitate melting, as the case may be) and let simmer.

Next, wash a bunch of chard. I used red, but any color will be fine. Cut the leaves off the stems and separate them. Then finely slice the stems and put them into the pan of curry. Pretty!

Chop up the leaves as well, but leave them on the cutting board while everything else simmers together.

Let cook for maybe five or ten more minutes, or until the broth has boiled off to your desired texture. Salt, pepper, taste, and correct. Fold the chard leaves into the curry and cook for maybe 2-3 minutes further, or until wilted. Turn off the heat, season with a generous squeeze of lemon or tablespoon of vinegar, stir well, and serve over quinoa.

I think this is particularly good with chopped cilantro over the top, although this isn't exactly authentic--but then nothing about this recipe is all that authentic, just good and easy. You may also want to have lemon wedges available for additional juice purposes. If you're feeling ambitious, you can even make a simple raita on the side: chop up a Persian or English cucumber, mix it with labneh or yogurt, and add salt and pepper to taste. Voila!

Of course, if you aren't ambitious, that's fine as well.

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