Monday, August 11, 2008
Tea and Ginger Simmered Chickpeas
The best thing about this recipe was all the new and neat things I got to try. I was first attracted to it because it use TEA in the cooking. I'm a huge tea fan and I have all sorts of loose-leaf tea around. I usually drink it but using it to cook with sounded to good to be true. Another thing about this recipe is that it is for chickpeas and I always try to find new things to do with legumes. I'd like to eat more vegetarian and tasty recipes are always keepers. And chickpeas are much more "approachable" to the rest of my family than some other legumes like lentils and beans.
So in addition to all the reasons I wanted to try the recipe in the first place, I had a bunch of fun when preparing it because there are some unique ingredients I have not been exposed to before. Like the use of mustard oil. It says you can use canola oil but I grabbed a bottle while I was at the Indian grocer. After I added the cumin seeds I bent my head over the pan to take a whiff and I almost choked! I thought I was smelling for the toasting of the cumin seeds but I inhaled a whole bunch of horseradish smell! Definitely can open up the sinuses.
When I took my first bite of these chickpeas I thought they were bland. So I took a second and scooped up some of the sauce and it was much better. By the third bite the flavors were coming through and after that I couldn't stop until I polished off my whole bowl. I will say that I think this is a bit salty, but I'm not sure if Indian food is supposed to be this way or not. It does call for 1 1/2 tsp. of salt which is quite a lot!
Bring 2 cups water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the tea leaves, remove the pan from the heat, and allow the tea to steep for about 5 minutes; it will turn the water a deep reddish brown. Strain the infusion, discarding the swollen leaves.
Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin sees and cook until they sizzle, turn reddish brown, and smell fragrant, 5 to 10 seconds. Then add the ginger, garlic and chiles, and stir-fry until the ginger and garlic are light brown and the chiles smell pungent, 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in the chickpeas, cilantro, salt, and turmeric. Cook, making sure every chickpea gets well coated with the seasonings, until the turmeric is cooked, about 1 minute. Pour in the brewed tea, stir once or twice, and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the lime juice and serve.