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!
- 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
- 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.
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Add the celery, minced garlic and ginger, and saute briefly until fragrant.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.