Recently I had some friends over for the first time for dinner and board games.
Ticket to Ride, in fact. Have you played? It’s one of the best!
I was pretty short on time, having worked that day, so I put together one of my favorite quick recipes: creamy coconut chickpea curry. I felt super guilty as they heaped praise upon me, because this is one of the quickest and easiest things I make! So quick and easy, in fact, that I threw it together on my lunch break today when I ran home to grab a few things I’d forgotten and needed at the office.
It’s also quite pretty!
I think it’s about time that I share this magic with you. You need only a handful of ingredients to eat well:
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (you can also use vegetable or canola)
- 2 medium to large onions, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small knob ginger, minced (optional but great)
- 1.5 tablespoons spices – curry powder, chana/chhole mix, or your own blend (see below)
- 3 cups of chickpeas
- 1 28 oz can organic chopped tomatoes, partially drained
- 1 14oz can organic full-fat coconut milk
- salt to taste
- juice of one lemon, or chaat masala (per instructions)
- optional: squeeze of agave nectar or teaspoon of sugar for sweetness
- optional: fresh methi (fenugreek) or cilantro, chopped
- optional: a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes, for extra spice
You have three choices for the spice mix. If you have a standard curry powder on hand, feel free to use it. If you have an Indian market nearby, you can search the spice aisle for a packaged chana/chhole mix and use that, making sure to follow package instructions. Or you could make your own blend – I previously shared a nice spice mix from PPK in this post.
I usually make my own blend, but recently I picked up my first box of packaged spice mix and wanted to give it a try. Regardless of your choice, the instructions that follow will be the same. It’ll taste slightly different, of course, but still great!
To start, soften the onion in a large skillet, with a pinch of salt. Be sure to warm your pan first, then add the oil, then add the onions.
Next, Add the garlic and ginger (if using) and mix well, cooking over medium about a minute.
Now add the spices and toss well to coat:
Add the can of tomatoes, partially drained, and increase heat:
Add the chickpeas:
I used chickpeas that I’d prepared from dry. If you’re using canned, you’ll want two cans, drained and rinsed. If from a can, expect your chickpeas to be a little softer.
Add the can of coconut milk and mix well to thoroughly incorporate.
Let simmer on medium-high for about 10 minutes to reduce and thicken.
Add salt to taste. Start with a half of a teaspoon and go up in quarter-teaspoon increments til you get to a place you like. Taste, taste, taste!!
Add the juice of a whole lemon or, if you have it on hand, the chaat masala. It’s a blend of salts and spices that will give your dish a tangy taste. Ingredients are listed below to the right:
If you find you need a little sweetness, add in a bit of agave nectar. You could also use a teaspoon of organic sugar or coconut palm sugar. Again, very flexible!
For a little something extra, add chopped fenugreek (fresh methi leaves) or chopped cilantro.
Play around with the finished dish adding this or that to your taste: a little more salt, sweet, spicy, sour. This is a great way to learn more about your taste and the way flavors play together. Don’t be afraid to be a little adventurous.
This dish keeps very well in the fridge for about a week. Some say it even tastes better the next day!
Instructions re-cap (so easy!!):
- Warm the pan
- Warm the oil
- Add onions and a pinch of salt
- Soften/brown the onions (about 10 minutes)
- Add the garlic and ginger
- Add the spices, stir to coat onions
- Add the tomatoes
- Add the chickpeas
- Add the can of coconut milk
- Simmer 10mins to thicken
- Add salt, taste for salt
- Add the lemon or chaat masala
- Taste of salty, sweet, spicy, sour and adjust as needed by adding more salt, sugar or agave, cayenne or red pepper flakes, lemon, etc.
- Optional: add fresh fenugreek leaves or cilantro
Serve on rice! Play a board game! Be happy.