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Chickpea Curry

Chickpea Curry
This vegetarian curry is awesome after it sits for a day and the chickpeas have time to absorb the flavor of the spices. You might want to make it a day ahead of time for just that reason. Spoon this vegetarian curry over hot, steamed basmati rice so you can fully appreciate the flavors in the sauce. If you like a bit of heat, add some minced serrano chili. Serve with spoonfuls of raita for a cooling contrast.

Ingredients:

For the cucumber raita:

  • 3 1/2 cups plain yogurt or 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 small English (hothouse) cucumber
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

For the chickpea curry:

  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups thin yellow onion wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3 Tbs. peeled, grated ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 cups fresh or canned diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 2 cups cubed Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 5 cups cooked, drained chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • Steamed basmati rice for serving

Directions:

To make the cucumber raita, if using regular yogurt, spoon it into a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth placed over a bowl and refrigerate overnight, stirring the yogurt before you go to bed. The next morning, you will have about 2 cups of very thick yogurt and over 1 cup of yogurt water. Discard the water and spoon the yogurt into a bowl. If using Greek yogurt, spoon it into a bowl.

Peel the cucumber, halve lengthwise and scrape out any seeds with the tip of a small spoon. Grate on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor fitted with the shredding attachment. Squeeze out the excess water from the cucumber with your hands until almost completely dry. You should have about 1 cup. Add the cucumber to the yogurt.

Add the garlic, mint, cilantro, salt, cumin and cayenne and stir well. Cover the raita and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to marry, then taste and adjust the seasonings before serving.

To make the chickpea curry, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and pour in the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until the garlic starts to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the cumin seeds, tomatoes and their juices, garam masala, turmeric, coriander, 2 cups water and the 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Add the potatoes and chickpeas and continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Season with salt and stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Transfer the curry to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately. Pass the rice and the raita at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Family Meals, by Maria Helm Sinskey (Oxmoor House, 2008).