It’s funny how time slips away from us. It’s a little disconcerting, actually. It was only 9 months ago that I packed up most of my belongings and moved from Winnipeg down to the Bay Area. And when I say that I packed up most of my belongings, I really mean to say that I brought with me an inane amount of well-loved cook/bake ware, teapots/coffee gadgets, and exactly three pairs of socks. But I digress.
In the nine months that I’ve been here, I’ve experienced incredulous bouts of homesickness, feelings of loneliness, and the icing on the cake? Culture shock. Needless to say that on my very first trip back to the Peg, I was overjoyed to be in the presence of familiarity. Oh, to be home again (cue the theme from Cheers)! To be fussed over by mum and dad; to have concurrent discussions on human existence and womanly matters (i.e. shoes) with old friends; to indulge on fine Canadian dairy (which, I might add is hormone free and freaking fantastic)! It’s a feeling that can’t be summed up eloquently in words. It’s just something you experience.
Where am I going with all this? And what the heck does this have to do with chickpeas, you ask? Well, being home also stirred up feelings of nostalgia. Sure, being back in Winnipeg was awesome, but it wasn’t the same. My brothers; both of whom live on opposite ends of the country, weren’t around to mock/help me as I shoveled the driveway in my ridiculous winter gear. My dad was constantly tending to absurd emergencies on the weekends (parking meter theft is no joking matter. Well, maybe it is). My mom, who had always been in constant motion now seemed tired and less energetic than what I remembered. Maybe it was the polar vortex that was getting to us. Maybe it was that things really had changed. I was overwhelmed with a fleeting feeling to return to my five-year-old self. Possibly waking up on a Sunday to the smell of mum’s puri and chole (deep fried, puffy flat bread served with a spicy, tangy chickpea potato curry).
Chickpeas are reminiscent of home – well, at least in my books they are. They are familiar. They require little to no work. And they’re delicious. This is one of my mum’s many recipes for chole. It whips up in a jiffy and it is as simple as it is satisfying.
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small potato, chopped
- 1 cup boiled chickpeas (chana)
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 T oil (any neutral oil will do, I used canola)
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
- 1/4 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji/black onion seeds)
- 3-4 curry leaves
- 1/8 tsp turmeric (haalthi)
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder (dhania)
- salt to taste (I used approximately 1/2 tsp)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- juice of half a small lemon
- 1-2 T coriander for garnish
- Heat oil in medium sized pot. Once hot, add the diced onion and cook until translucent.
- Once the onion begins to slightly brown, add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a few seconds.
- Stir in cumin seeds, nigella seeds, and the bay leaves. Cook until the seeds begin to splutter.
- Once cumin seeds and nigella seeds are spluttering and aromatic, stir in turmeric, followed by the potatoes.
- Stir fry the potatoes for about two minutes and then add the remaining spices (red chilli, coriander, and salt). Cook the spices until aromatic and then add the water.
- Stir in the tomato and cook until the water and tomato juices begin to dry.
- Add the chickpeas and stir to incorporate the spices amongst the chickpeas. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes on medium heat.
- Once the potatoes have cooked (should be easily pierced with a fork), squeeze the lemon juice and give everything one big stir.
- Garnish with coriander.
- You may use a can of chickpeas in place of chickpeas that have been soaked over night and then boiled. Serve with puris, naan, or rotis as pictured above. Enjoy!