12 November 2010

chickpeas in star anise and date masala
(adapted slightly from the ny times, after vij's of vancouver)

2 cans chickpeas (or 1½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked)
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1 medium-large Spanish onion, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 black cardamom pods
1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
3 whole star anise
4 teaspoons ground cumin

2½ tablespoons tomato paste
9 plump medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon himalayan pink salt

chopped cilantro to garnish

1. Drain the chickpeas and set aside.

2. With a knife, lightly crack the cardamom pods. Peel the shell to release the seeds and discard the shells. Grind the seeds together with the other spices in a clean coffee grinder, or with mortar and pestle.

3. In a large frying pan set over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until they have softened and started to brown. Stir in the garlic and sauté for a minute or so, until it, too, has softened. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the spice mixture. Add the tomato paste and all remaining ingredients and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes.

4. Add the chickpeas and ½ cup or more of water, enough to make the ingredients less than dry. Heat the mixture, stirring occasionally to incorporate the flavors, and keep warm until serving. Serve with rice and salad.

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