Soups & Stews are my favorite things about winters. The thought of getting a chance to spend hours in front of the stove coupled with an aroma that fills up the house as spices simmer drives me nuts (in a good way). With nip in the air finally knocking here, I was thrilled while I made season’s first batch of stock & soup few days back followed by this slow cooked chickpea stew.
Store bought stocks & soups never excite me, I m the kind of girl who is crazy about fresh ingredients even if it requires heading an extra mile to get those. However, P is biggest fan of those ‘creamy’ canned soups, which his wife can never prepare in her life! He insists that she should change her style of cooking & delve into semi – home cooking, a concept which could never get the better of me. Can you believe that I have never bought canned chickpeas or any other beans for that matter? Nothing against them, but having grown up seeing mom soak the beans overnight, boil them next day & then use them in her recipes, even with ready-to-use options available here, I never feel like harnessing them.Somehow..
Anyhow, coming back to the recipe, bean based stews are best options for me when wanting to eat light as well as comforting. Few of you might have already guessed that this stew is heavily inspired by classic moroccan flavors – saffron, cumin, mint & black pepper make it hearty and add the required warmth for the winter season. Saffron & turmeric combined with chili powder is what gives it the lovely yellowish-golden color, nothing less than sunshine during those cold evenings. This is the kind of food, which is perfect for this time of year when I want to curl up in a blanket and watch a movie while eating.Don’t be bogged down by the long list of ingredients, they are mostly available in your pantry :) The stew is incredibly healthy (no meat/less oil) and will leave you satisfied to the tee…trust me
We eat it more as soup with crusty bread than as main dish. For those reasons, I like to keep the gravy slightly thinner (so that we can slurp). However, this can very well serve as a main dish with rice or flatbreads. I particularly like to add starchy (root) vegetables to this recipe coz those pair up delicious with chickpeas. Choose the veggie (s) you like (carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes etc ). The recipe does not need any baby-sitting while it cooks in. And like ALL stew recipe, I need not mention that leftovers tastes all the way better..try it!
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
If using dried chickpeas: -
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in 3 cups water overnight or at least 8 hours & drained
- 2 cups water for boiling the chickpeas
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp oil
Note: – Skip the above step if using canned chickpeas and substitute with precooked ones.
- 2 medium potatoes, cut into 2″ cubes
- 3 tbsp mustard / olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 1″ cinnamon stick
- 2-3 cloves
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 2″ fresh ginger shoot, grated
- 1/2 tsp each fennel, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, lightly pounded in mortar pestle
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1.5 tbsp red chill powder (adjust to tolerance)
- 2 large roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt, slightly sour
- 2 tsp saffron dissolved in 1/4 cup luke warm water
- 5-6 fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
- 2 Thai green chilies, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- Chopped Cilantro/Mint leaves for garnish
Boil the soaked chickpeas in 2 cups water + 1 tsp salt + 1 tsp oil in a pressure cooker or in a covered pot until 90% tender. If using a pressure cooker, cook on medium-high for approximately 10 minutes & 2 whistles. If using a covered pot, on medium-high heat, this should take 30-35 minutes. Note: – Chickpeas come in all sorts of sizes; the time that I have given is for the small beans.Once boiled, drain the chickpeas & set aside. Reserve the water & mix it thoroughly with yogurt. Set aside.
Heat oil on high in a 3-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot (with lid). When oil gets smoky, add chopped onions, cinnamon, bay leaves & cloves to the pot. Sauté for about 6-8 minutes or until the onions are translucent but not browned. Next, add ginger, garlic, pounded fennel, coriander, black peppercorns and cumin to the pot.Cook for about 30 seconds or till you start smelling the spices. Reduce heat to medium and add the turmeric & chili powder next along with chopped tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until you see oil separating on sides of the pan. About 8 minutes.
Next, add the potatoes, boiled chickpeas to the pot along with yogurt mixed with water. Check the salt (remember that chickpeas were boiled in salted water) and adjust. Also depending desired gravy consistency, adjust the water in the pot. As a thumb rule, water should be enough to cover the contents as they cook. Cover the pot and let come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low & let cook till potatoes and chickpeas are tender. About 12-15 minutes. You will need to occasionally stir.
Just when the potatoes & chickpeas are fork tender, add the saffron dissolved in water along with chopped mint & green chilies (if using). Cover and let simmer for another 8 minutes. Remove from heat & add lemon juice. Garnish with chopped cilantro or mint leaves.Serve over couscous, rice or with bread.
Enjoy & Thanks for Stopping by!