Whole milk yogurt contributes a silky, creamy texture to this mild vegetarian stew from India. Serve Chickpea Curry with steamed or sautéed spinach and Indian bread. Replicate naan, the Indian flatbread, by cooking flour tortillas in a grill pan or cast-iron skillet until blackened in spots. The cinnamon sticks and bay leaves are removed before the dish is served, but the cardamom pods are more difficult to fish out. Be careful as you eat not to bite into one.
2 teaspoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
6 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped plum tomato (about 1 large)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
How to Make It
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add cumin, coriander, cardamom, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add onion, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add ginger and garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in garam masala, and cook 10 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup water, tomato, salt, and chickpeas; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; discard cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Stir in yogurt and cilantro.
Don't use water! It just robs flavor. Use chicken or vegetable stock. I have made this several times and we enjoy it a lot with basmati rice and a green vegetable such as spinach or green beans. Nonfat Greek yogurt works fine, too. Sometimes (like today), I substitute cauliflower for one of the cans of beans. I also put in a dried red chili, but that's because we like hot food. You can also add to the flavor by serving a bottled Indian relish (such as Patak's egglant or lime relish) along the side.
I made this twice. The first time I followed the recipe exactly and was not impressed. I made it again last night and this time added more salt and pepper (so simple) and that made all the difference for me. My husband repeatedly mentioned how much he liked it. And yes, even my four year old ate it, although it took some effort to get him to try it.
I have made this dish a number of times now and am thrilled with its fool-proof results that just burst with flavor every time. Also it is the first curry I have ever made that did not call for "curry powder" which can really vary in taste depending on what blend you get. It is now my go-to recipe for any event when I expect vegetarians in the house....but omnivores like it too!
I was so disappointed in this dish after reading all these wonderful reviews! It held such promise with so many wonderful spices, and it smelled great as it cooked and had a great texture. However, the flavor was seriously lacking. I tried adding salt, pepper, more garam masala, more tomatoes, etc., all to no avail. Again, it had great texture but very little flavor, especially considering all the tasty ingredients. I won't be making it again.
This was just exploding with lots of exotic flavors. It was 100% worth the extra effort to seek out the whole spices called for. I used fat free greek-style yogurt instead of whole milk yogurt (by accident, actually), but the texture of the greek yogurt made up for whatever might've been lost by the lower fat content. It was very flavorful and creamy. We will definitely make this again.
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