Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Spicy Chickpeas--Easy After Holidays Dish

It is hard to talk about food and share recipes when there is still plenty of holiday leftovers in the refrigerator and in the past days we almost never felt hungry between meals. But I am afraid my kids are done with all the Polish specialties and even every one's favorite borshch does not excite them too much any more. When given choice of some leftover dishes, my younger son asked "Maybe something different--a butter chicken?" So it seems I will have to cook something special for them today anyways.

Sometimes when I have no idea what to cook for kids I prepare some nutritious grains. Not often but once in while I make a chickpeas dish, which is high in protein and tasty. It is slightly spicy and everyone likes it. I think Asian recipes for grains are best. A great variety of spices nicely contrasts with the rather mild chickpeas and makes it taste interesting.

I like this dish because it is served with yogurt chutney, which goes very well with the tomato sauce in which chickpeas are cooked. I do not serve it with rice but rather with some Asian breads, which we dip at the end in the yogurt sauce. Because the day is rainy and lazy here is this easy, perfect for such time, recipe.

Spicy Chickpeas
(Serves 4-6)

Two 15 oz cans of chickpeas,
6-8 medium tomatoes, chopped, or two 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes,
1 medium onion, chopped,
2-inch piece of ginger root, grated,
3 garlic cloves, minced,
3 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves,
2 tbsp vegetable oil,
1/2 tsp ground turmeric,
2 tsp garam masala,
salt and pepper to taste.

Ingredients for the Yogurt Chutney:
1 cup of European style or Greek yogurt,
3 spring onions chopped,
2 tbsp fresh chopped mint,
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds,
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Heat oil on a frying pan. Fry for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and fry for another two minutes. Add turmeric and garam masala. Fry for a few seconds to make a smooth paste.
2. Add tomatoes to the pan with spices. Season with salt and pepper. Mix and add drained chickpeas. Simmer on low heat for about 15 minuets, or until tomatoes turn into thick sauce.
3. To make yogurt chutney mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.

4. Just before serving add chopped cilantro, mix with chickpeas, and serve with yogurt chutney on top.

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