Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chickpea curry with coconut (vegan recipe)

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This week the Vegans came to dinner, and I made a vegan meal. We've known the Vegans for a very long time. In fact, my husband has known Mrs. Vegan longer than he's known me. It's good that they have so much history, because, in general, my extremely carnivorous husband (I was going to write "omnivorous," but it wouldn't have been accurate - he'll touch neither avocado nor zucchini) has little patience for the whole vegan thing. Especially when it means his own dinner will be meat-free as well.

We've always been a protein-plus-two-vegetables sort of family - not sure whether that's because of habit or matters of taste. I try to make meat-free dinners once or twice a week: rice and beans, maybe quesadillas. While I'm happy and the kids don't complain, meat-free dinners clearly do not satisfy Michael. I know this because an hour later, two hours tops, he's in the refrigerator.

It's not my strong suit, the meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free menu planning, but I did okay: crudites with white bean and basil dip (I used fresh basil solo instead of prepared pesto to keep it vegan and added a few capers for zing); oven-roasted tomatoes, which we ate with our fingers standing at the counter; fresh corn tortillas with zucchini flowers (like the ones on Girl + Fire, breathtakingly beautiful); a salad; and a very satisfying chickpea curry with coconut milk, served over brown rice. Mr. and Mrs. Vegan were happy. I was happy. The kids were happy (although some of them had grilled cheese - the curry was a little spicy). And Michael - well, after the Vegans left, he was in the refrigerator. Some things never change.

The garbanzo curry was extremely simple to make. One shortcut: I used a prepared Indian green masala paste. They're available in jars in Indian markets, if you've got one in your area. If you can't find it and prefer to make your own, I found a good-looking recipe on Asian Online Recipes (green masala paste recipe). Green masala relies heavily on cilantro and mint, so the curry has a nice, fresh flavor that works well with the coconut milk.

Chickpea curry with coconut milk
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp Indian green masala curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas (I used dried, but canned work fine here; drain them before adding)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • salt to taste (if you use canned garbanzos, you'll need less)
  • fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
 Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute gently until it is translucent, about four minutes; do not let the onion brown. Add the garlic, cook for a minute, then add the tomato paste. Stir until everything in the pot is coated with the tomato paste and cook for a minute more; this will start to caramelize the tomato paste and will add depth to the finished dish.

Now add the green masala paste and coconut milk to the pot; stir to dissolve the tomato paste and masala spices in the coconut milk. Add the chickpeas and green onions, bring the pot to a boil, turn the heat way down, and simmer about 15 minutes, uncovered. If the pot looks too dry, add some water. You want sauce - slightly thickened, but definitely there.

Season to taste with salt and garnish with cilantro. Serve over rice. If you have leftovers, no worries - they're even better the next day.


YvonneinLA said...

Wow, I want to go to your house for dinner. I'm definitely going to make this. I love chickpeas and coconut milk.

Erika Kerekes said...

When are you coming over? Our door is open and there's always space at our table. :)

Monet said...

My vegan friends would have been very happy with this. I think coconut does wonders to vegan dishes, and I am always in favor of recipes that use it. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This looks good! Thank you for posting the green curry paste link, too. I've tried some jar stuff before and did not like it, so I'll try to make my own. Or maybe I should just try the brand you used -- what is it?

Erika Kerekes said...

The brand of green masala paste I used is called Ashoka Classic - I tried to find a link to it online and could not. But I think there are several varieties of the same kind of paste.

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