For the past few weeks I’ve been cooking up an South Asian storm. I love the flavors and spices in all types of South Asian food – and use many traditional ingredients in my everyday cooking – a lot of ginger, turmeric, cumin, and coconut milk to name a few.

I just wrote my first review up at The Good Taste Review for Ruta Kahate’s book ‘5 Spices, 50 Dishes’. Head on over and let me know what you think!

I didn’t want to leave you all hanging, so this chickpea recipe is one of my favorites that I tried from the book. I love chickpeas in any permutation, but this recipe was particularly fresh and light. It could either make a nice side dish, or a good vegetarian meal if served over rice. When I first made it, I ate it as my dinner, and was quite satisfied.  Although the recipe called for canned chickpeas, I made this with Rancho Gordo chickpeas that I had soaked overnight and cooked.

Chickpea Curry with Fresh Dill Leaves

from ‘5 Spices, 50 Dishes’, page 42

Serves 4

This recipe traditionally uses a split and skinned Indian chickpea called chana dal, but I’ve found that canned chickpeas work just as well – which makes it possible to create this dish in minutes. The other interesting thing is that it uses dill leaves in the typical Indian style – as a vegetable, rather than as an herb. Serve with Marathi Yellow Fried Rice (page 103), and Roasted Onion Raita (page 98) for a hearty vegetarian meal.

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (or less)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated garlic (about 2 large cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (about 2-inch piece)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cups finely chopped dill leaves and tender stalks (about 2 bunches)
  • One 15.5 ounce can low-sodium chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the onion over medium heat until it has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cayenne, coriander, garlic, ginger, and turmeric and stir for 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the tomato and cook until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the dill, chickpeas, water, and salt, and simmer until the dill is soft and tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve warm.