Creamy Spicy Chickpeas

This is a fast, tasty, inexpensive, vegan, gluten-free, nutritious, make-ahead main dish that’s straight from the pantry for the most part.  It’s one of those dishes that I almost always have ingredients for.  But I make it mostly because it tastes so good.

I happen to have some lovely cilantro that’s gone to seed in my garden, and the plump green seeds added a beautiful aromatic quality to this dish.  Substitute fresh cilantro or coriander seed instead.  These two aromatic spices are one and the same plant.  The leaves is the herb cilantro, the seed is the spice coriander.  Here’s what the coriander seeds look like, on the plant:

Creamy Spicy Chickpeas

3 TB vegetable oil

3 TB good quality curry powder – I use Penzey’s Hot Curry powder.  Use whatever type you prefer

5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

4 cans (15 1/2 oz) chickpeas, drained (garbanzo beans are chickpeas)

1 can (14 1/2 oz) canned diced tomatoes (you can use fresh, if you’d prefer)

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

1 can (13 1/2 oz) coconut milk (I prefer Chaokoh brand)

1/2 cup water

2 TB crushed green coriander seeds, or 1 TB ground dry coriander seeds

salt

optional: fresh chopped cilantro

In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat.  When oil is shimmering, add the curry powder and crushed garlic.  Fry for just a few seconds, as you want to develop the flavors of the spices but not burn them.  Immediately add 1/2 cup water, then the chickpeas, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, coriander seeds, and coconut milk.  Stir to combine, then bring mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching.  Add more water if it becomes too thick, or allow to simmer a bit if it’s too thin.  You are aiming for a creamy consistency.  Add salt to taste.

Top with fresh chopped cilantro if desired.

Serve with hot cooked basmati rice or naan.  Makes fabulous leftovers.

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