Do you ever eat something for the first time and wonder why on earth you’d never eaten it prior to that moment? That was the experience I had when I first tried Indian food.
I’ve been a little obsessed ever since that first time about 6 months ago, and frequently scour the internet in search of recipes that mimic the dishes on the menus of our local Indian eateries. A few weeks ago I tried a chicken tikka masala recipe that came pretty close to the delicious takeout we’d eaten the month before. But all the mixing and marinating and stuff put it in the “high maintenance” recipe category for me. I then came across a curried chickpea recipe on Budget Bytes that looked easy enough, but of course I just had to doctor it up to suit our needs. I kinda melded the two recipes together and came up with a dinner that just about knocked our socks off. Even the kids and husband had seconds, so you know it must be good. And to boot, it was quick, easy and cheapy-cheap cheap. It’s definitely going into regular rotation.
On a side note, I kind of can’t wait for Friday to come – our upstairs neighbor (who just so happens to cook some amazing smelling Indian food) has invited us to lunch and I can’t wait to see what she makes!!! Perhaps I’ll make her this recipe and get her opinion on whether or not it could pass as a legitimate Indian dish!
Now that I’ve officially reached my limit for exclamation points in a two sentence paragraph, onto the recipe:
Creamy Curried Chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1-29 ounce can tomato sauce
- 3 teaspoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2-15 ounce cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups uncooked basmati rice, prepared according to package
1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and onion and saute until onion is brown around the edges.
2. Add the tomato sauce, curry powder, garam masala and cayenne pepper to the onions and stir to combine. Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the drained chickpeas and continue simmer for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sauce from burning to the bottom of the pot.
3. Add the heavy cream and stir. Heat through, but do not boil.
4. Add the prepared rice to the pot and mix thoroughly, or spoon chickpea mixture over rice in a bowl. Serves about 6-8.
Tips and Tricks:
* You may notice that I didn’t add salt. The canned tomato soup that I used was chock full of sodium so I didn’t need to. But if you’re watching your intake you can use low/no-sodium crushed tomatoes instead & add your own salt to taste.
* If heavy cream isn’t your thang, substitute it with some plain yogurt, half and half, milk or sour cream thinned with milk. You’ll get a different consistency but you won’t have to sacrifice the creaminess of it.
* This is a vegetarian friendly recipe, but if you want to make it vegan feel free to omit the butter in favor of all olive oil, and use coconut milk instead of heavy cream. Just do me a favor, skip the lite and indulge in the full fat coconut milk. You can do it, just this once! But if you’re waist watching and do use the lite coconut milk, you might want to simmer it down so it’s less runny. It’s a soupy mixture to begin with, which is why I suggest adding the rice to it before serving, and the fat of the cream/milk/whatever gives it a little more body and a wonderful velvety texture.
* Garam masala is an indian spice mix that I recently discovered and I’m obsessed with it. It can be tricky to find, I had to trek to Whole Foods to find it after striking out at three local grocers. If you can’t find it at your usual haunts, check your local ethnic market, order it on Amazon.com or make your own (try THIS recipe).
* If you or someone at your dinner table isn’t a fan of onions in onion form, pulverize them with an immersion blender before adding the chickpeas. Luckily my own didn’t bat an eyelash at them this time around, but I know some kids (and spouses) can be haters when it comes to “chunky” veggies. No worries, pureeing them into the tomato sauce won’t affect the outcome (the onions that is, NOT your children (or spouses). As a matter of fact, I take no responsibility for potential misunderstandings of that nature).
Do you like/have you ever tried Indian food? If so, what is your favorite Indian dish? Let us know in the comments section below!