If you plan to use dry chickpeas and cook them from scratch, please see my post, “How to Cook Chickpeas from Scratch.” You will need to double the recipe and use 1 1/3 cups of raw chickpeas. Reserve a 1/4 cup of bean cooking liquid for this recipe.
If you are using canned chickpeas, you are ready to get started.
Make the savory chickpeas in tangy tomato glaze
Mince your green chiles and ginger. Prepare the tomato puree or open up your canned tomatoes. Mince your coriander leaves. Take out all the required spices and have them ready by the stove.
Heat 3 tablespoons ghee or oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add black mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add the cumin seeds for about 20 seconds, then add the ginger root and green chiles. Sauté until the ginger just begins to brown.
Add the curry leaves if using and stir for a minute, then add the tomato puree.
Stir in the turmeric, optional chat masala, garam masala, half the salt, and half the fresh coriander. Cook over medium heat until the oil separates from the tomatoes and forms a light sheen on the surface. Add a bit of water if it is too thick and partially cover with a lid to limit sputtering.
Add the cooked chickpeas along with a 1/4 cup of the bean cooking liquid or water. Once it begins to simmer, turn the heat to low. Simmer 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if it gets too thick. You want the consistency to be just slightly thick. It should not be watery, and it should not be so thick that it is sticking to the bottom of the pot either. Taste, and adjust for salt.
Finalize the dish by stirring in the rest of the fresh coriander. If you like, add a bit more garam masala. Garam masala is a spice that is often used at the end of the cooking process because some of its delicate aromatics are lost during cooking.
If you do not have ghee, substitute with a mixture of half butter and half vegetable oil. Ghee is a form of clarified butter with a nutty, buttery taste, that is commonly used in Indian cooking. Ghee is generally safe for people with lactose intolerance. It has a high smoke point of 485 degrees Fahrenheit and it is shelf stable at room temperature. Ghee is widely available outside India. To learn more about ghee and where to buy it, see Quality Ghee & Ghee Buying Tips.Black mustard seeds are ubiquitous in South Indian cooking. They have a pungent and nutty flavor, much more so than the yellow mustard seeds commonly used in the West. If you do not wish to purchase black mustard seeds right now, just leave them out.Cumin seed is used in cuisines all over the world. It has a distinctive earthy and warming flavor and aroma.This ingredient is essential, inexpensive, and commonly used, so please buy it. It is also easy to find in any grocery store.Curry leaves are small, fragrant, somewhat-citrusy leaves that grow wild in India, but are difficult to find in the West unless you visit an Indian grocery store.You can usually find a package of fresh curry leaves in the refrigerated section of an Indian grocery store. Once you bring them home, store them in the freezer, and they will keep for months.It is very worth using curry leaves if you can find them, but their flavor is subtle, so if you cannot source them, just leave them out.Garam masala is a combination of powdered warming spices. There are many different variations of the spice mix, based on the different regions in India. They are all good.If you do not have garam masala, use equal parts of any of the following that you have in your pantry, and powder it before using: black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom powder, bay leaf, cumin powder, and clove powder.Chat masala is a spice powder mix typically consisting of dried mango powder (amchoor), cumin, coriander, dried ginger, black pepper, asafoetida, and chili powder.If you do not have chat masala, use equal parts coriander powder and cumin powder. If you have any of the spices listed above, you could also add a smaller amount to enhance the flavor of your dish.To learn more about Indian spices, see my Guide to Indian Ingredient Substitutions.