Middle Eastern Chickpea Stew

For nights that are slowly turning cooler, when something familiar and something comforting is the need of the hour, try this Middle Eastern Chickpea Stew. Make a large batch for the table and surround it with warmed pita breads, a simple tzatziki, and maybe some oven-roasted vegetables, and you have a table that exudes warmth and love. What’s more, when it comes together, it looks like a lot of effort went into it but really, it’s just a few minutes of work in the kitchen!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpeas, soaked for 6-8 hours
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, blanched and pureed
  • 1 tablespoon celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves
  • 1-inch stick of cinnamon
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • juice of half a lemon

Method:

  1. Pressure cook the chickpeas with twice the volume of water alongwith the cloves, cinnamon, and a little salt, until soft. Once cooked, lightly mash  small portion of the chickpeas; this will help thicken the stew.
  2. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Add the celery, minced garlic and ginger, and saute briefly until fragrant.
  3. Tip in the onions and saute until transparent. Now, tip in the pureed tomatoes and cook well until the oil begins to appear at the sides.
  4. Add the cumin, coriander, and red chili powders, and a pinch of dried thyme, followed by the chickpeas and 2 cups of water. Simmer on a medium flame for 15-20 minutes or until reduced to a consistency you like. Adjust salt, if necessary.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and the remaining thyme. Cover for 5 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to merge. Serve alongside warm pita or over couscous.

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