You may have noticed that my calendar of cuisines says “6-month retrospective” for April. I guess I should probably explain that. March was my sixth month of this cooking project, and I’ve learned a LOT and cooked a lot of good foods during that time. I spend a good bit of time each month reading about each culture so that I can write somewhat knowledgeably about the food and recipes, and so that I can start to understand the evolution of the cuisine and any regional differences within the country. Though I really enjoy doing that background work, it does take a lot of time each month! So April seems a logical time to take a month off.
By ‘taking a month off’, I don’t mean I’m going to stop cooking and writing, because there are plenty of topics I’ve been wanting to share about. First, almost every country I’ve tackled had a few dishes that I identified, but didn’t get around to making. I’ve also observed some interesting similarities between countries, like the fact every country has some form of stuffed pepper recipe. I’ve been learning about a recent trend (not so new really) called “mindful eating”. Finally, I’m putting together a new edition of the cookbook for the Raleigh International Festival, and I might want to try a couple of recipes from that collection as I’m typing them up. So the month’s posts will be all over the place, but hopefully still interesting and informative – I hope you’ll stick with me until we’re back on a regular schedule in May with Thai food.
Today’s recipe is Indian Chickpeas, brought to you from the Raleigh Mennonite Church Cookbook. We are having a potluck tomorrow at church, and everyone has been asked to choose a recipe from the church cookbook. This simple and tasty Indian Chickpeas recipe was submitted by Sylvia with a note that she learned how to make them from her friend Anuj, who is from Bombay. I adjusted the recipe to use canned tomatoes (easier and cheaper) and raw potato, which means a bit longer cooking but all in one pot (rather than using pre-cooked potato).
1 large onion, diced
1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2-1 tsp. salt, to taste
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 large or 2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp. lemon juice
Heat oil in a large pot, add cumin seeds and cook until they’re bubbling, browned and fragrant. Add onion and stir to saute until translucent. Add remaining spices and salt, and stir briefly, then add tomatoes with their juice, chickpeas and potatoes. (If you don’t like things very spicy, you might cut back on the cayenne pepper by half.) Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until potato is tender. Add lemon juice just before serving. Serve with bread or rice.