vegetarian green garbanzo bean (chana) curry

the other day my sister and i found ourselves unexpectedly and quite happily at an indian market where we bought all kinds of goodies (well, we also ate the most delicious super spicy indian snacks across the street afterwards- – -and have been dreaming of going back since). while some of the goods on the shelves were familiar, there were lots of others we’d never even seen before-which made it that much more of a fun experience for us: we sniffed, squeezed, read labels, met the nicest most helpful lady, and asked way too many questions. among the wide array of clear packages full of colorful  beans, lentils, and spices these cute little green  garbanzo beans (chana) stood out the most for me. i literally could not wait to bring them home, soak them, and see what they’d look like after they plumped up. since i regularly use and enjoy garbanzo beans (see nutrition info & recipes), i presumed the chana would be similar in taste and texture (not exactly, but equally good). after an overnight soak, i used them in a healthful (loaded with lots of good for you ingredients) curry. the resulting (rather spicy) dish tasted a lot better than it looked-we all had seconds!
ingredients for 6 servings:
  • 1 cup green garbanzo beans/chana (or substitute regular garbanzo beans), pre-soaked overnight, ten cooked in water for about an hour (or more) until just tender
  • 6-8 young baby potatoes, peeled
  • 3 ripe roma tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 tbs unrefined virgin coconut oil
  • 1 large (or 2 small) shallot, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 green chili peppers, or 1 jalapeno pepper (spicy)
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  • 1/2 large lime
  • 1 large sliver (about 1tsp minced) fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1tbs tomato paste
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • a few sprigs of cilantro
1. make a curry paste by blending together in a food processor until smooth: shallots, garlic, chili peppers (adjust amount to taste for spiciness), all dry spices, tomato paste, minced ginger, lime juice, and 1/2 of the coconut milk. heat the oil in a heavy pot (or dutch oven), then add the paste and “fry” it in the oil on medium heat while stirring with a wooden spatula for about 3-4 minutes.
2. add cooked chana, chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup water, and potatoes, and allow the curry to simmer for about 30-40 minutes.
3. add the remaining coconut milk, stir, and cook for another 15 minutes or so. taste and adjust for salt and spiciness. serve topped with fresh cilantro with cooked rice, quinoa, or naan bread.
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