Sometimes indecision can be a good thing. I entered the
battle zone kitchen knowing only one thing: I wanted curry. Spicy? Tangy? Sour? Tomato based? Coconut milk based? All these questions flew through my mind as I assembled the curry vegetables. I quickly discovered that I had no tomatoes or coconut milk, so those options were out. But for flavour … I decided in the end to not make a decision. Thus, spicy sour chickpea curry was born!
The curry mixture is based off of this Spicy Squash Curry recipe that I’ve made in the past. The legume of choice was chickpeas for their meaty texture. The vegetables were inspired by my CSA of the week: eggplant, zucchini, the first cherry tomatoes and red peppers of the season, and swiss chard. I found some mushrooms in the fridge so they got added to the pot as well. The end result was better than I could have imagined, and exactly what I wanted! The curry is spicy from the hot peppers and chili powder, but it’s very tangy as well with both asafetida and amchoor (mango powder). The whole fenugreek and cumin seeds add depth, coriander for the ‘common’ curry binder, and turmeric to finish it off. The end result is a complex, unique flavour profile that is as spontaneous as the method of the recipe making! Definitely a crowd pleaser with its mixture of spicy and sour, and one that I will turn to time and time again the next time I am paralyzed by indecision. Enjoy!
Spicy Sour Chickpea Curry
*Note* It goes without saying that you can add or omit anything on this list to satisfy your own urges at the time. This is the version that I made, and it hit the spot! There is no substitution for mango powder in this recipe. It adds a unique tang to the dish, and is worth hunting out at an Indian market (my sample size has lasted me 2 years and counting). If absolutely necessary, I believe that 1 tbsp. of tamarind concentrate may result in the same tangy-sour notes, but this substitution is (as of yet) untested.
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. fennel seeds
½ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. paprika
2 tsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
pinch of asafetidia
½ tsp. fenugreek seeds
4 whole dried red chilis, to taste
¼ tsp. salt, to taste
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 medium eggplant, cut into ½” moons (approx. 4 cups)
1 large zucchini, cut into ½” moons (approx. 4 cups)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces (scant 1 cup)
3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 (19oz. cans chickpeas, or 1 cup dried chickpeas, pre-cooked)
1 bunch swiss chard, roughly chopped (approx. 4 cups)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. amchoor (mango powder)
1) In a small bowl (or large measuring cup) mix together the ground coriander, fennel seed, chili powder, paprika, turmeric, and ¼ cup water to make a paste.
2) In large pot, heat oil on medium high. Add the cumin seeds and asafetida. Saute until cumin seeds begin to crack.
3) Add fenugreek seeds and red chilis. Stir.
4) Add the spice paste, salt, ginger, and ¼ cup water. Stir and sauté until fragrant, approx. 2min.
5) Add the eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms. Stir, cover, and let steam until eggplant begins to soften, approx. 5min.
6) Add the bell pepper, chickpeas, and 4 cups water. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer until eggplant tender, approx. 20min. Add water as necessary to adjust for consistency. (I added about 8-10 cups total)
7) Add the swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, amchoor, and lemon juice. Stir, cover, and cook until greens bright green and slightly wilted. Adjust for seasonings.
8) Serve with rice and/or flatbread of choice.