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Dish Of The Month: Student’s Chickpea Curry

Published on: 17 Sep, 2018
Updated on: 17 Sep, 2018

by Hugh Coakley

Necessity is the mother of invention and nothing was truer for my son in his first term at university when he and his friends were hungry and skint.

Chickpea curry with rice, simple, cheap and very filling.

Meeting a variety of people and cultures, it turned out to be a revelation to him just how easy and cheaply a reasonably well balanced, non-meat curry can be to knock up. Such a revelation that his Christmas present to me was a nicely written out book of recipes that included chickpea curry.

The recipe worked for him and it does the trick for us as well.

When we had made curry before, somehow, the flavour was always lacking. Add to that the bewildering number of spices required and we had retreated to buying jars of curry paste.

This simple recipe has changed that.

I suspect that ingredients are fresher and better quality now than when we had previously tried curries from scratch. The Chinese food shop for instance, on Woodbridge Road close to the bus station sells a good range of what, to my inexpert eye, are good quality spices at a reasonable price.

This meal takes about an hour to prepare and cook and serves four.

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, diced

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 large potato, chopped into 5 – 10mm pieces

50cm (2 inches) of ginger, peeled and diced into small pieces

200g mushrooms, chopped

1 X 400g tinned chickpeas

150ml of double cream

Spices: 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) tumeric, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, salt to taste

Rice, about a handful per person

Fry the onion, garlic, tomatoes, potato and ginger in oil until softened but not quite cooked. If they are too cooked, they go mushy in the cooking to come.

Onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes and ginger frying. Looking good enough to eat without further ado.

Add the chickpeas, mushrooms and the spices and 150ml of water. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

This is the time when you can say whether you add the cream and eat it now or you put it in the fridge overnight to let the flavours develop.

I think that it tastes better after a day. The student view though is to eat it immediately and who am I to say that they are wrong?

Boil the rice and then rinse with boiling water to take out the starch.

The chickpea is high in protein and perfect to absorb the spice flavours. But you can use any vegetables or beans that you have in the house equally well to supplement or replace the chickpeas if you wish. It is a very versatile recipe.

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