Indian Chickpea Stew

Well hello there friends!  How are 'ya?  Me?  I'm good, thanks for asking.  

But enough pleasantries. We've got things to discuss.  Like Indian food and how amazing it is and how ridiculous it is that it took me 30 years to try it.    

But let's back up, shall we?

Earlier this week, Brandon and I returned from our Summer 2K12 Southeastern Adventure.  I'll tell you more about it later, but for now lets just say that there was some serious good eating that went down in some seriously cool towns.  Athens, Brevard, Ashville, Birmingham....it was good stuff after good stuff and I loved every bite.  

While in Ashville, our lovely hosts took us to an Indian restaurant called Chai Pani.  I was a little nervous about eating a cuisine that I've never eaten before (I hate to mess up a meal), so I'd already consulted my good friend Erin about what I should order.  Luckily, I didn't have to think for myself at all as our hostess ordered for the table.  Here's what she got us:

Samosa Cholle 
Samosas (2) served on spicy garbanzo bean stew topped with sweet yogurt, tamarind & green chutneys

Bombay Chili Cheese Fries (g) 
Spiced Indian turkey hash piled high on our masala fries, topped with paneer, onion & cilantro. Drizzled with our special hot stuff & served with tomato chutney. Yeah, it's awesome

Rickshaw Romeo 
Sweet & spicy. Top quality transport to another world. 
Coconut lemongrass sake, fresh lime, simple syrup, kashmiri red chili, soda

There was also butter chicken and chicken kabobs; they weren't on the online menu so I couldn't copy and paste them.  I'm not sure why I feel like you need all of these details, just bare with me.  

OH. MY. GAH.  It was all so good.  And throw in some Naan?  Shoooot.  Make you wanna slap someone.  

I decided at that table that I was going to get really good at Indian cuisine.  Sure, it will start off kind of American-ized and not at all fancy...but I'm going to try!

But how?  

Our drive home was 10 (yes, ten) hours so I had lots of time in the car.  While Brandon listened to talk radio, I searched recipes on my phone like a mad woman.  After finding out he would be working the night after we got home, I decided to go the vegetarian route.  This way, if it turned out horribly, I wouldn't be out to much money.  Smart, eh?  

So I make my list and head to both grocery stores to get the ingredients.  It was all fine and good until I went on the spice hunt.  Garam Masala and channa masala spice mix were nowhere to be found.   

I was disappointed but not surprised.  Then I was pumped when I learned that Erin had some extra that she was willing to donate to the cause.  She also has this super cool spice holder thing that when you take the top off, it knocks you down with good smells. Thanks, girl.  You rock.    

Spices were measured, vegetables were chopped, chickpeas were drained.  The aroma while it was all cooking was outta site....someone should seriously make a candle called "chickpea stew." To much?  Maybe.  I can't say.  

What I can say is that this stuff was good.  Spicy, flavorful, comforting, healthy.  I'm sold.  Done and done.  You're welcome. 

Chickpea Stew
adapted from All Recipes

1 tbl vegetable oil
1/2 of an onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbl of chopped ginger
2 tsp channa masala spice mix
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of cayenne (or less, to taste)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 1/2 cup of water
2 (15.5 oz) cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
cilantro for serving 

In a large pan with a top, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until brown.  Add the spices, the tomato, the water and the beans, stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer, reduce down to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.  Remove the top and smoosh up some of the beans.  I used the bottom of a glass as that's all I had.  Recover and cook for about 5 more minutes or until the peas are soft.  

Serve topped with cilantro and with some naan bread*. 

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes about 9)
Points plus 5

*I found some naan at our local wal-mart.  A serving size (1/2 of a loaf) was 5 pp and worth it! 

Do you have any Indian recipes that you love?  If so, you should pass them along!  I'll be back next week to share about our summer adventure.  For now, I'm still soaking in how beautiful it was...

Namaste, y'all.  

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