My mother-in-law laughs when she finds me pouring over recipe books and I tell her that I feel guilty getting caught yet again with Food P0rn. I was actually looking for something completely different in the library when I fell upon this one, but immediately the spicy chickpea curry with fresh dill leaves on the book’s cover made my mouth water. Dill is one of those herbs that I ignored for years. The very first dinner I ever cooked (at the age of fifteen) was Lemon Dill Chicken out of my mother’s Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I made it once or twice after that, during my short run as an Air Force wife and then, never again. In fact, dill disappeared almost completely from my kitchen until about a year ago, when my friend Susanne whipped up a lemon and dill cream cheese to compliment the smoked salmon she was serving. Suddenly, I fell in love with the damn dillweed all over again. Citrus and dill with fish or in French Potato Salad or even in a nice cheesy cornbread. Oh the lovely fragrant things that dill can do!
I was surprised, however, to see dill pop up in an Indian cookbook. Having long been a fan of the Garbanzo(aka chickpea) I immediately set out to whip up the recipe featured on the book’s cover, Ruta Kahate’s Chickpea Curry With Fresh Dill. Kahate’s original recipe calls for a full teaspoon of cayanne, and I made my test batch that way, which was great and spicy. I’ve halved that here, just so you can get the flavor without the extra heat, but adjust to your own taste.
1 Tbsp canola oil 1 can chickpeas (15 to 19 oz., drained) 1 large bunch dill (about 2 cups, roughly chopped) 1 medium onion, finely diced 1 medium tomato, finely diced 1 tsp garlic finely grated 1 tsp ginger finely grated ½ tsp cayenne pepper (double for extra heat) 1 tsp ground coriander ½ tsp ground turmeric ¼ cup water 1 tsp salt ½ lemon, juice
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or wok and saute the onion over medium heat until it has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cayenne, coriander, garlic, ginger and turmeric and stir for 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the tomato and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the dill, chickpeas, water and salt and simmer until the dill is soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Finish with a dash of lemon juice and serve warm.
I’ve tinkered with a variety of Indian-spiced chickpea recipes, waiting for the perfect side-dish to come along, and in this fresh and tasty bit, I think I’ve got it. The true test though, is always serving it up at dinner and seeing if someone licks the bowl clean.