- 2 tsp cumin seeds + 2 tsp extra for grinding
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2-3 tbsp coconut, peanut or canola oil
- 1 large red onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp tamarind concentrate, dissolved in water
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp hing (optional)
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 roma tomatoes, finely diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 c water
- 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of half a lime
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast coriander seeds and 2 tsp cumin seeds until fragrant, slightly darker and faintly smoking. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then grind in a spice grinder until pretty fine. Pour into a bowl with the rest of the spices (tamarind, hing, paprika, garam masala, cayenne pepper)
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat, and warm oil until it’s shimmering. Add the remaining 2 tsp of cumin seeds; they should sizzle as they hit the oil. Let them cook about 30 seconds, darkening slightly, then add the onions. Season with a little kosher salt, and saute until starting to brown (about 15 minutes). If the onions start to stick or you can see the brown bits that have developed on the bottom of the pan are starting to burn, sprinkle with a little water, rub vigorously with your spoon and pick those browned bits up.
Add garlic and ginger; saute 30 seconds.
Add the spice mixture (“masala”), and saute for 30 seconds. If they start to stick or catch, then add the tomatoes immediately. Cook, seasoning with a little salt again, picking up anything that’s sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the tomatoes soften, deepen in colour and form a coarse ragu-type sauce, about 5 minutes.
Add chickpeas, and cover in the masala (the ragu thingy), cooking a minute or so.
Stir in water, then gently simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper and lime juice as needed. Turn the heat off, cover and let sit for 10 minutes, allowing all the flavours to marry further. Serve over plain white basmati rice or with Chapatis, Naan or some crusty bread.