Creamy Chickpea Curry

By EmilyC
July 17, 2018
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Author Notes: My streamlined riff on the chickpea curry at Cassia Restaurant in Santa Monica.

Notes: the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves add a lovely flavor and fragrance to the dish, but if you don’t have them, there’s no need to make a special trip to the store. I make the dish with and without them, and it’s wonderful either way.

Serves: 2 with leftovers; 4 without leftovers
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 30 min

  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (madras or maharajah curry recommended)
  • 1 medium-sized, ripe tomato, cored and roughly chopped (can substitute 1 cup canned tomatoes)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised with the back of a knife (optional)
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste
  • Brown sugar and/or chile flakes, to taste
  • For serving: chopped cilantro to garnish; coconut cream for spooning on the top of each bowl (optional); warm naan bread
  1. In the bowl of a small food processor or blender, process shallot, ginger, and garlic to a fine paste.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallot paste. Sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. (Turn down the heat if the paste starts to brown or crisp.) Add curry powder and sauté a few minutes longer to deepen its flavor; stir frequently.
  3. In the same bowl of your food processor or blender, process the fresh tomato (or canned) into a purée; you should have 3/4 cup to 1 cup. (Reserve any amount over 1 cup for another use.) Add the tomato purée to the pan and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until starting to reduce and thicken. Add a few pinches of salt.
  4. Add coconut milk, chickpeas, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves (if using), fish sauce, and 2 tablespoons water. Stir to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a low boil, reduce heat, and gently simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. Add a few pinches of brown sugar, if needed, to balance the tangy, sourness of the fish sauce. Add chile flakes if you want more kick.
  5. When ready to serve, remove and discard kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. Garnish with cilantro and coconut cream (if using), and serve with warm naan bread.

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