This is a gentle chick pea stew with the elegant diesel-y flavor of curry leaves. Don’t use dried curry leaves! They are nothing, like dried parsley. But we are lucky in Ithaca: we can buy fresh curry leaves at International Grocery on Eddy Street in Collegetown (near my old restaurant). You can freeze them if you don’t use them all right away. You cook curry leaves in with beans or vegetable stews, then leave them in and eat them. They’re tender.
I like the Eden brand canned chick peas the best. They are cooked with kombu seaweed, which makes the chick peas extra-tender and digestible.
Yield: Serves 4-6
- 3 tablespoons light vegetable oil
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 3-4 whole cardamom pods
- 6-8 black peppercorns
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 3 fresh ripe tomatoes, finely chopped or one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 15-ounce cans chick peas
- Dozen fresh or frozen curry leaves
- Heat the oil in a medium-size heavy pan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, and pepper. Heat till they start to swell up, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add onions. Cook till browning, about 5-10 minutes.
- Add garlic and ginger and cook 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and continue cooking about 10 minutes.
- Add the chick peas including their liquid, cumin, coriander, and curry leaves. Simmer 15 minutes to blend flavors.
- Taste for salt.
- Serve garnished with fresh cilantro if you like.