Visually, this dish looks like a simple chickpea stew, but its lemony and gingery fragrance is assertive and intoxicating. This is Madhur Jaffrey’s attempt to recreate her childhood memories of the intensely-flavored chickpeas sold as street food in Indian bazaars. As I write this, I notice that the other Indian pulse recipe I’ve shared on keitopotato so far is also lemony — my lemon dal. As a native Californian, I guess it’s natural that I’m drawn to lemony recipes.
I own several of Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbooks, but when I lived in London I discovered this slim, older paperback called Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking. This sour chickpea recipe quickly became a favorite, and I made a batch of it probably every other week while I lived in London. Before I started keitopotato, I typed out and emailed this recipe to various friends and family. It’s finally time to post it here and share it with a wider circle.
This recipe calls for using dried chickpeas. Canned chickpeas simply won’t work here because their texture is too soft. Dried chickpeas give this dish a firmer and more defined texture, and are much cheaper than the canned ones. They’re easy to use as long as you plan ahead and let them soak overnight.
2 1/4 cup (350 g) chickpeas
7 1/2 cups (1.75 litres) water
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 fresh, hot green chili
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions
2 medium tomatoes
1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
1 tablespoon ground cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pick over, wash, and drain the chickpeas. Soak the chickpeas in 7 1/2 cups of water for 20 hours.
Put the chickpeas and their soaking liquid into a large pot and bring to a boil. As they come to a boil, a white foam will emerge on the surface. Skim off the foam with a ladle.
Cover, lower the heat, and simmer gently for an hour and a half, or until chickpeas are tender. Strain the chickpeas and save the cooking liquid.
Finely chop the green chili. Grate the ginger. In a small bowl or teacup, combine the chili, ginger, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well and set aside.
Finely chop the onions. Finely chop or puree the tomatoes. Heat the oil in a heavy, wide pot over medium-high flame. When hot, add the chopped onions. Stir and fry for 8-10 minutes, or until the onion bits develop reddish-brown spots. Add the tomatoes. Continue to stir and fry another 5-6 minutes.
Put in the coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Now put in the drained chickpeas, 1 3/4 ( 400 ml) of their cooking liquid, 2 teaspoons of salt, the garam masala, and cayenne. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook very gently for 20 minutes. Stir a few times during this period.
Add the lemon mixture to the chickpeas. Stir again to mix. Serve hot or lukewarm.