Efforts in recent years to create a great chick pea curry in our kitchen have been uniformly desultory.
The results have been watery, pallid and unappetising.
And none of my current crop of Indian cookbooks have been much use.
Then I recalled that I had cooked a winning chick pea curry regularly in another time and another place.
I even recalled the author’s name and the book involved.
So I went looking and found it first time.
The Madhur Jaffrey book from which the recipe comes is still available and is now on my wish list!
So what makes this a success when other recent attempts have failed?
Well, it’s heavily seasoned for starters – so much so that the ground spices, including both roasted and unroasted cumin, actually help make the sticky gravy.
The tanginess comes from roasted cumin, lemon juice and amchoor (powder made from sour, unripe mangoes).
It really does have the lusty depth of flavour that goes with the chick peas I eat when out and about on Indian adventures.
It will keep real well for a few days, too, and maybe even improve with age.
2 cups dried chick peas, soaked overnight and cooked until tnder
oil or ghee
2 medium onions, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp coriander seeds, finely ground
2 tsp cumin seeds, finely ground
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp roasted cumin seeds, finely ground
1 tbsp amchoor powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon
1 green chilli, chopped
2 tsp finely grated ginger
1. Fry onions and garlic over medium heat until browned.
2. Turn heat to medium-low and add coriander, unroasted cumin, chilli powder and turmeric.
3. Add tomatoes and stir into spices and onion/garlic mix. Cook for a few minutes until well combined and sticky.
4. Add drained chick peas and 1 cup of water
5. Add roasted cumin, amchoor, paprika, garam masala, salt, lemon juice. Stir to combine and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
6. Add grated ginger and chopped chill and cook for another minute.