Friday, January 8, 2010

What I'll be cooking this weekend: Chickpea Curry with Tomato and Mango

I'll be making a dinner for 12 people on Sunday night, many of whom are vegans. Here's what I plan to serve. I published this recipe on in 2007. If you want to see the original article, it's here:

I'm doubling the recipe so that we should have more than enough. I'll let you know how it goes...

Chickpea Curry with Tomato and Mango

This recipe is fantastic with Meyer lemon juice added at the last moment. Meyer lemons have a nice lemon flavor but they are not as sour as regular lemons. They tend to be smaller than regular lemons and have a smoother rind. Warming the spices will make the house smell fantastic and make your dinner extra delicious.

Serve with basmati or brown rice.

I thought this would easily serve 8 people, but it depends entirely on how hungry you are.

1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup canola oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion (approximately 2 medium onions)
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 big cans (28 oz cans) fire roasted organic tomatoes (it doesn't matter if they are crushed or whole, as you will crush them in the cooking process)
½ cup dried mango slices, cut into strips (a pair of scissors is good for this)
2 regular cans (about 15 oz each) chickpeas, rinsed and strained
a few small red hot chili peppers (I used ones called piri piri that you can buy in a jar)
salt to taste
lemon juice from a Meyer lemon or 1 tablespoon regular lemon juice
1 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed (more is fine, but you need at least 1 cup)

1. Warm the spices in a skillet over low heat until they become aromatic, then dump them onto a plate. (I say warm rather than toast because they really do not need to change color.) I warmed the spices in the pot I was going to use to make the curry. I just dumped the spices onto a plate once they were warmed through and wiped out the skillet with a paper towel.

2. Add the oil and warm it over medium-high heat. Once the oil is pretty hot, add the chopped onions. Add the ginger and garlic. Cook until they are translucent. They do not need to brown.

3. Add the two cans of tomatoes. If you are using whole tomatoes, use a spoon to break them down. Toss in the dried mango. Cook for five minutes. Add the spices.

4. Add the chickpeas. Add the chili peppers if you want some heat.

5. Cook the curry for about 20 minutes or until the chickpeas are slightly softened and completely warmed through. The dried mango should be completely hydrated and softened by now too. You may need to cook it for 30 minutes, but start checking at the 20 minute mark.

6. Take the curry off the burner. Throw in the lemon juice and stir. Taste the curry. Now add a pinch of salt and taste again. Correct the seasoning with more salt if necessary.

7. When you serve the curry, throw some cilantro on top of each portion. Ask your guests to stir it into the curry.


Thaiish Cabbage Salad
This is completely inauthentic. I made it up out of my imagination, using flavors that I associate with Thai food, and then I threw in some weird stuff, like apricot jam. You can use the other half of your bunch of cilantro in this salad.

Serves 8 as a side dish

1 head Napa Cabbage, roughly chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded if necessary, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into crescents
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small triangles (cut the pepper into strips and then cut the strips on angles to make triangles)
1 blood orange, tangerine, or regular orange, peeled, seeded, and cut into sections
a few leaves of basil (optional: this is just as good without it if you don't want to spring for it)
½ bunch cilantro, leaves stripped off the stem
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

1. Wash the chopped cabbage and shake it semi-dry or put it in a salad spinner. It doesn't have to be completely dry for this salad.

2. Add all the rest of the ingredients except for the peanuts.

3. Dress the salad and toss it. If there's too much dressing move the salad to another bowl, leaving the extra dressing in the bottom of the first bowl. (But save the extra dressing in the fridge for your next salad!)

4. Now add the peanuts.

Salad dressing
1 tablespoon peeled chopped ginger
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
juice from one blood orange or 1 regular orange
2 tablespoons apricot jam
2 tablespoons lime juice (or more to taste)
juice from a Meyer lemon or 1 tablespoon regular lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (option: rice vinegar with ponzu flavoring)
1/3 cup olive oil
a few tiny red hot chili peppers (I used piri piri from a jar)
pinch salt
1 or 2 teaspoons sugar to taste (optional)

Place all ingredients except sugar in a blender. Blend until uniform. If you use a blood orange, the dressing will be an odd shade of pink. Taste it and see if you need to add sugar to tame the tart nature of the dressing.

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