simply satisfying: Indian Sour Chickpeas

This is what I made for a “celebration of life” pot-luck dinner last Saturday.

adding the reserve mixture
adding the reserve mixture

Edna (the lovely woman who passed away) had quite the reputation for her love of cooking, doing it amazingly well and of course, she had a repertoire of recipes, many of them Indian.  We were requested to cook & bring one of her recipes.

rinsed & waiting
rinsed & waiting

I love Indian but hadn’t made a vegetarian Indian dish in a long time.  I must admit that this one didn’t sound especially appealing at first but trust me, the end result was so delicious….especially when all the flavors from the spices melded together.  The end result was more like a chickpea stew and you could taste the ginger and lemon which I love. It’s healthy too! I served it alongside cut up pieces of Naan bread.  I didn’t change a thing about the recipe (as I wanted to re-create it exactly as she had) but I think it would look nice with a few sprigs of cilantro sprinkled over top for garnish. Oh, when I went back to the buffet table for a second platter (remember, they were mostly her recipes) it had vanished.  So Enjoy!

After a bit of research I found out that the origin of this recipe is Delhi street vendor style.


Use either ¾ lb. of dried chickpeas or 1 x 16 oz. can.  If using dried, cover them with water and bring to a boil, and let sit for an hour.  If using canned, rinse well and soak them overnight.

3 pints water (6 cups)

3 or 4 very finely chopped onions

2 ½ tsp salt

1 finely chopped hot chili

3 or 4 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger

4 tbsp lemon juice (from two small lemons)

1/3 cup cooking oil (preferably coconut, or canola)

2 or 3 chopped tomatoes

1 ½ tbsp ground coriander

1 ½ tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric

3 tsp garam masala (see recipe below)

½ tsp cayenne pepper

Bring peas and water to a boil, and let simmer till beans are tender, approx. one hour.  This is for both dried or canned.

It should look like this
The reserve mixture should look like this.

Meanwhile, mix 2 tbsp chopped onion, ½ tsp salt, chili, ginger and lemon juice in a small cup or bowl.  Set aside.

Heat oil in heavy pan on medium heat and add remaining onions, stirring and frying till they have reddish brown spots (about 10 minutes). Add tomatoes, stir and fry another 4 or 5 minutes. Add coriander, cumin and turmeric and stir and cook for about half a minute. Add drained chickpeas, about a cup of the cooking liquid, 2 tsp. salt, the garam masala and cayenne, stir and simmer very gently for about 20 or 25 minutes.

Add the reserved onion mixture and stir to mix. Serve hot or lukewarm.chickpea1TIPS:  onions should be soft & nicely browned.  It should turn out quite lemony & very well cooked.  I used a 19 oz. can of chickpeas for this and 1 red thai chili (but you can use any hot chili).

I made my own blend Garam Masala (a warming spice mix) from an Indian cookbook so I used that, but of course they sell it already packaged.  I just thought it would be cool to make my own.  Should you feel so inclined I’ll share the recipe:

Garam Masala from scratch:

8 Cardamon pods (remove the seeds from the cardamon pods).

2 Indian bay leaves (cassia leaves) – break them into small pieces.

1 tsp. black peppercorns

2 tsp. cumin seeds

2 tsp. coriander seeds

5 cm. (2 in.) cinnamon stick

1 tsp. cloves

Put everything into a spice grinder (or pestle and mortar) and grind to a fine powder.  Store in a small airtight container until needed.

Now make something to go with it.

Food board on Pinterest:



B well – let’s clarify something: what is ghee?

Do you know?

ghee1The only reason I know is because I was looking for a recipe to make butter chicken.  No where in this recipe does it call for regular butter, however the word “ghee” appears throughout my “the food of india” cookbook and so I decided to find out some info.  Of course the Indian grocery store had plenty in stock and it appears that ghee has been around for centuries and has many health benefits – always a bonus right?  For starters, ghee originated in India and is commonly used in South Asian (Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepali, Sri Lankan, and Pakistani) cuisine and ritual.  Here’s what I found out:

Long used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, ghee (pronounced with a hard ‘g’) may well be a healthier and lower cholesterol alternative to straight up butter.

Ghee, a better butter?

First off, what is ghee anyway?


Ghee is “clarified butter” made from raw unsalted butter from which the water and milk solids are removed. Ghee is a better choice of fat than butter and other saturated fats because it has a distinctive healing property not found in other fats. According to the Ayurveda tradition, ghee enhances the ojas, an essence that governs the tissues of the body and balances the hormones. Sufficient ojas in the body ensures a strong mind and body and resistance against disease, and is essential for longevity. The healing benefits of ghee are so high that Ayurveda deems it to be a pre-eminent healing food that helps in overall health and well-being.

Nutrition in Ghee and Butter

Ghee and butter contain all of the essential fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E and K, glycolipids that have anti-infective properties, butyric acid and conjugated linoleic acid, which is known to have anti-viral and anti-carcinogenic properties. Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., in his book ”The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” says that butter and ghee that come from grass-fed cows are rich in healthful omega-3s. Also, the conjugated linoleic acid found in such fats may be promising in fighting weight gain, particularly around the abdomen. Since, ghee is a source of saturated fats, Dr. Ch. Murali Manohar, author of “Ayurveda for All,” recommends no more than 2 tbsp. of ghee per day with meals.

How is Ghee made:

Ghee is made in a similar way to clarified butter, but using a different kind of cream, and it’s cooked more slowly. Ghee is simmered until all the moisture evaporates and the milk solids begin to brown, giving the resulting butter a nutty, caramel-like flavour and aroma. This extra step also gives ghee a longer shelf life and a much higher burning point, making it practical for sautéing and frying.

When you melt butter and let it boil for a little while, the water will gradually evaporate and the milk protein and solids will settle down into the bottom and be strained away. The butter fat that is left will be solid at room temperature, and since the moisture content is very low and there are no more milk solids left in it, it can be kept for a long time without refrigeration.

This process was used primarily in the Middle East and South Asia to preserve dairy.

Types of Fats in Ghee and Butter

When comparing ghee to butter in terms of health, one reason for the more favorable past research record of ghee versus butter might be the increased amount of medium- and short-chain fatty acids in ghee. Butter contains about 12-15% of these medium-chain and short-chain fats, whereas ghee contains about 25%. (Our bodies metabolize medium-chain and short-chain fats differently than long-chain ones, and medium- and short-chain ones are not associated with cardiovascular problems in the same way as the long-chain ones are.)

Other benefits:

Ghee will last for a very long time without going rancid, although I do keep mine in the fridge to prolong its life. It should last as long as you need it to: months and months at least. You can use it as a cooking oil anywhere else you would use butter or oil: cooking vegetables, frying rice before steaming it, or searing meat. Since it doesn’t have the milk solids of butter, you can fry with it at higher temperatures without it smoking.

 It is very high in fat of course, so do use it with good judgment!

**Don’t miss listening to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King for the most evocative and informative up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health professionals – Live every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on – #1 internet radio station in North America.

Here’s the link:

Taken in part from