Anybody out there love Indian food like I do? I could live on the stuff. Honestly. I first discovered it when we lived in Atlanta – ah, the vast culinary adventures we had back then – and have loved it ever since. So, for our Meatless Monday this week, I made a flavorful chickpea curry with some homemade falafel. What is falafel, you say? Well, they’re basically like little spicy chickpea fritters. Read on!
Quick Chickpea Curry
(Everyday Food magazine)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
pinch of ground cloves
2 cans (15 ounces each) no salt added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups water
chopped cilantro and lemon wedges (optional), for serving
In a large straight-sided skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark brown around edges, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, curry, cinnamon, and pinch of cloves and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chickpeas, ketchup, salt, pepper, and water.
Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 20 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium-high; cook until sauce is slightly reduced, 5 minutes. Serve topped with cilantro, and lemon wedges alongside if desired.
(Cooking Light magazine, February 2007)
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh curly parsley, stems removed, tightly packed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
pinch of cayenne
canola oil for frying
Rinse the chickpeas, then soak them in a medium-size bowl in several inches of water overnight. The patties won’t hold together as well if you use canned chickpeas.
Drain the soaked chickpeas and place them in a food processor. Add all the remaining ingredients and blend, scraping the sides if necessary, until the mixture is creamy, about 1 minute total.
Heat an inch of oil in a large, heavy, frying pan to 375 degrees (a spoonful of the mixture should sizzle as soon as it’s immersed). Scoop up a heaping dinner tablespoon of the falafel mixture and gently place it in the heated oil. Place 4 or 5 more spoonfuls in the pan. Fry the patties until they are thoroughly brown on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip them to brown the other side.
Drain the patties on a plate covered with a paper towel and sprinkle with additional salt, if desired. Serve with yogurt dipping sauce. Makes 16 to 20 patties.
Yogurt Dipping Sauce
6-ounce carton of plain yogurt
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh curly parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
The small size of the falafel make them a wonderful finger food, perfect for dipping – and thus making them very appealing and fun for kids to eat. You can also make a nice lunchtime sandwich by serving falafel in pita bread with lettuce and tomato. The chickpea curry is wonderfully high in fiber, and it is delicious with basmati rice or any other rice of your choice.
The falafel were a bit time consuming to make, as opposed to using a boxed mix like I have in the past. But it was so worth it! By the way, here’s an interesting lesson I happened to learn. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of dried chickpeas, do not soak the whole bag of chickpeas. Not that I did that. Well, maybe. OK, I did. One cup of dried chickpeas is different from one cup of soaked chickpeas. Make sense? The chickpeas expand and stuff. They get bigger. So I kind of messed up the measurement ratio on that one. Consequently, I ended up cooking a huge pot full of chickpeas and am now dreaming about mounds of creamy hummus…
I am truly blessed with children who are adventuresome when it comes to eating. My son scarfed down two bowls of the curry, and my daughter loved the falafel. A success, in my book!
Until next time,