This black chickpeas and tomato curry makes a great vegetarian option. I use black chickpeas here because they have a more nutty and intense flavour than regular canned chickpeas. The sauce is generally quite thin – almost broth-like – and the flavour is enhanced with fresh curry leaves and holy trinity paste.
Ingredients for 8 serves
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cloves
- 1 teaspoon each of mustard seeds and cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 2 teaspoons each of finely diced fresh root ginger and garlic
- 8–10 fresh curry leaves
- 2 onions, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Holy Trinity Paste
- 1 teaspoon each of ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander and paprika
- 1 tablespoon tomato purée/paste
- 5 tomatoes, chopped
- 6 tablespoons Boiled Onion Purée
- 2 cans black chickpeas , drained
- 2 teaspoons palm sugar/jaggery
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- freshly squeez ed juice of ½ lemon, plus wedges to serve
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander/cilantro
- Naan bread, Rotis to serve
How to Make Black chickpeas with Tomato Curry
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add the cloves. Allow the oil to become infused with warm aromatic notes of the cloves. Next, add the mustard seeds and allow them to sizzle in the pan. Add the cumin and fenugreek seeds and allow them to sizzle and crackle. The seeds are ready when they start popping and releasing their aromatic oils.
Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and allow them to become golden-brown, then add the fresh curry leaves. Take care as they will splutter in the hot oil. Add the onions and salt and fry until soft, browned and caramelized, stirring often. This will take a good 20–25 minutes.
Add the holy trinity paste, mix well with the onions and fry for 2 minutes.
We have now started to layer our flavours. Next, add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and paprika to the pan and mix well. It is important to cook out spices, because if they remain raw, your curry will have a harsh flavour, as well as a grainy texture. The ground spices will dry out your pan, so, to stop your pan from burning, add a splash of water to keep it moist (this will also help the spices to cook; I add about 100 ml/⅓ cup at this stage).
Add the tomato purée/paste and mix well. Add the tomatoes, stir well, reduce the heat to medium and put a lid on the pan. (You can use canned tomatoes if you prefer but, for this dish, I find them too sour and acidic.). You will know when the tomatoes are ready because the flesh will start to melt and the whole mix will come together nicely as a sauce; this takes 12–15 minutes.
Add the boiled onion purée for extra body and velvety mouth feel, and cook for 6–7 minutes.
Add the chickpeas, mix well, then add the sugar and 200 ml/¾ cup of water. Allow to simmer, with the lid on, over medium heat for 5 minutes. To add the final dimensions to the flavour of this curry, add the garam masala, lemon juice and freshly chopped coriander/cilantro for a citrusy freshness.
Check the taste and consistency; saltiness and sweetness, and the looseness of the sauce.
Black chickpeas recipe is ready to be served now, remove from the heat and serve with naan bread and lemon wedges.