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Jolie Cooks With Madhu Column:  Quick Chickpea Curry and Homemade Garam Masala

Posted on June 15, 2021 at 12:30 PM by Madhu Gadia

June 15, 2021

Jolie Cooks With Madhu Column: 
Quick Chickpea Curry and Garam Masala



Now that I was committed to Cooking with Madhu, I needed to organize myself. I couldn’t decide what to make next and wanted a smooth start on cooking together. So I asked Madhu for some guidance in picking various recipes to help me easily navigate Indian cuisine. 

Trip to the Indian Grocery Store

Madhu suggested this basic chickpea recipe: Quick Chickpea Curry, page 122, The Indian Vegan Kitchen (IVK). So I made a fast trip to an Indian grocery store and stocked up on chickpeas and other dal (dried beans and lentils).  The only spice I didn’t already have was dried cardamom pods for the garam masala or spice mix.  I also bought some asafoetida powder derived from the root of a plant in the parsley family.  In Indian Vegan Cooking, page 14, Madhu explains that asafoetida is often used in Indian bean and veggie dishes to aid digestion. Going to an Indian grocery store and finding new ingredients is always an adventure. 

Homemade Garam Masala 

As soon I got home, I made the garam masala spice mix.  The note under Madhu’s recipe IVK, p.24, says, “This recipe has been passed on from generation to generation in my family.  I only have one garam masala recipe, for I do not mess with perfection.”  And I certainly won’t either!  All I had to do is roast the cumin seeds in a pan on the stove—wow, what a wonderful scent it has— and grind them with a few other spices in my coffee bean grinder.  It made about 1 ½ cups. 

What's Next

Then came the part I was avoiding:  my husband Ted is teaching me how to use his new Instant Pot (IP).  Here was my chance to overcome my lifelong fear of machines that go kaflooey when I approach them.  I knew that cooking beans in an IP would be totally safe, but the dangerous sound of my mother’s pressure cooker hissing away on the stove when she canned tomatoes still haunts me. Actually, pressing the IP buttons under my husband’s direction was a snap and resulted in a generous supply of cooked chickpeas.  I had way over the 3 cups called for and froze the rest for other recipes.  Dried legumes, here I come!

Buoyed at my success with pressure cooking for the first time, I turned to the recipe. This was the easy part.  I must admit I balk at grating fresh ginger by hand, but I did so to follow Madhu’s recipe. Finding an easier way to do this task is now on my culinary to-do list.  I used canned chopped tomatoes instead of fresh, a substitute allowed in the ingredient list. Madhu’s Quick Chickpea Curry was great right after I made it, but it was even more delicious for our lunch on the second and third day. The flavors bloomed!  

I’ll definitely make it again and double the recipe.  

Madhu’s Comments 

Wow, Jolie, for recipe number two, you did amazing. You went the extra mile as you cooked dried chickpeas, although the idea of the Quick Chickpea Curry is to use canned beans. Of course, cooked dried beans have a great flavor. I hope you saved the cooking liquid and used it as the liquid in the recipe; it definitely adds an extra flavor to the recipe. 

I am so impressed that you made your own garam masala, or should I say my mom’s garam masala. I’m glad you used fresh ginger. I will share my ginger shortcuts later. 

This Quick Chickpea Curry is one of my go-to recipes. On those late days at the office, this is my last-minute standby entrée. Everyone in the family loves it, and it's easy to pull together in less than 30 minutes. I serve it with plain rice and salad for a complete meal. 

Recipe and Video: The Indian Vegan Kitchen, page 122. Also, you will find a video and recipe on the website; I recorded a how-to cook Quick Chickpea Curry video with How2Heros, please see on the website.

Disclaimer: "Jolie Cooks with Madhu" is an independent column. The views expressed are Jolie Zimmers's personal cooking experiences and do not represent any product or company. They are not paid or reimbursed by any third party for their viewpoints.

Categories: Blog Articles

For this recipe, I used Skinless, Pre-cooked, Chickpeas. Adjusted the times, but came very delicious. Interesting - where do you buy precooked chana dal? Is it frozen?
JIHAD BILAL | 6/15/21 at 1:58 PM
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