Creamy chickpeas curry favor beyond hummus

It worked for quinoa. The South American seed’s fame and popularity skyrocketed after the United Nations declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa.

If such trends hold true, “pulses” will be the next household catchphrase. That’s beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas to you and me. A spread in this month’s Oregon Healthy Living reinforces the many benefits of eating beans and familiarizes readers with the lesser-known species of edible seeds long cultivated for humans and animals to consume.

Some of the members of this plant family already are riding a wave of popularity, namely chickpeas consumed as hummus by the majority of Americans. Water from cooking this legume also is garnering some attention as an egg substitute in vegan cooking.

But the creamy chickpea needs no gimmick to recommend it, particularly this year, the International Year of Pulses. As a simple salad topping or hearty stew, chickpeas are packed with protein, fiber, folate, iron and phosphorous. Like all legumes, chickpeas are inexpensive, making them an attractive protein alternative to meat.

The following dish is one such example. While lentils more often are associated with Indian cuisine, this chana masala is a classic. Bon Appetit’s version calls for curry powder, rather than a variety of traditional Indian spices. But the shortcut, particularly combined with canned chickpeas, makes this a fast and practically effortless dish.

Tribune News Service photo

Chana Masala

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons peeled and chopped, fresh ginger

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cardamom pods

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 (28-ounce) can peeled whole tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cooked basmati rice, for serving

Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, cook the onion, garlic and ginger in the oil with the cardamom and curry powder until onion is soft, for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the chickpeas; simmer until soft, for 25 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Serve with the rice and cilantro.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Bon Appetít

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