Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coconut Chickpea Curry

I've developed a mild obsession with the Food column in The Guardian. They have a pretty good vegetarian section, with a decent number of vegan or easily-veganized dishes, so that's fun, but what I really like doing is taking podgy, meaty, traditionally "British" recipes and bending them to my inexorable vegan will (in fact, watch this space for a spectacular example in the next week or so).

Today, however, what we have is just a fairly simple, straightforward chickpea curry inspired by a recipe posted by Nigel Slater (slightly adapted to our own tastes as is my wont, but I did steal their photo). I upped the onions, added a few more seasonings, and used dried, soaked chickpeas rather than canned, since that's what we had on hand. That said, if/when you're pressed for time, you could easily substitute canned, and this will come together quite quickly, with a lot of creamy, coconutty curry bang for your time-investment buck. This makes a fairly generous amount but - as with all curries - it gets better as it sits, and makes great leftovers.

Coconut Chickpea Curry
~ 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (or 2 large cans, drained and rinsed)
~ 2 tbsp. canola oil
~ 1 tsp. hot chili oil, or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
~ 3 medium onions, coarsely chopped
~ 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
~ 2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, fenugreek powder, coriander, lemongrass
~ 1/2 tsp. dried cardamon
~ 2 cups vegetable stock
~ 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (not the "lite" kind!)
~ 1/2 cup chopped, fresh parsley or cilantro

~ Soak the chickpeas overnight, or 6-8 hours during the day, in cold water. Drain and rinse, then put them in a large, deep pot and cover with water. Add about a teaspoon of salt, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover partially with a lid and leave the chickpeas to simmer for about 1 - 1.5 hours, or until tender, checking the water level occasionally. Drain and set aside.
~ In a large, deep skillet or wok, heat the oil and cook the onions over low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until soft, giving them the occasional stir so they don't brown or caramelize.
~ Add the garlic, ginger, and spices to the softened onions and fry briefly, 1-2 minutes.
~ Pour in the stock and the drained chickpeas and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
~ Remove about a third of the mixture and puree in the food processor; return this mixture to the pot and stir to combine. (You can also partially puree with an immersion bender, but be careful not to do too much; you want some texture.)
~ Add the coconut cream, the fresh parsley or cilantro, and leave to simmer another 10-15 minutes, until thickened.
~ Serve hot with rice and/or naan bread and vegetable dish of your choice.

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