Curried chickpeas with coconut

A couple of weeks ago I toured my friends' new house. They recently built a stunning contemporary near Duke University — glass walls, high ceilings, gleaming surfaces — and filled it beautiful furniture and fantastic artwork. The house is thoughtfully situated on a wooded lot, taking into consideration the way the sun hits the building throughout the course of a day. The home has a geothermal heating and cooling system. And a lap pool.

I wanted to move in.

Instead, I got to eat dinner, a wonderful Indian-inspired meal that included chicken, rice, and all the condiments one would expect (mango chutney, spicy cilantro sauce, raisins). My hands-down favorite, however, was something Martha whipped up on her own, without a recipe: curried chickpeas with tomatoes and coconut. She was kind enough to share her recipe with me, though like many confident cooks, she doesn't follow written directions or measure. The dish changes a little bit each time she makes it, depending on her mood and the intensity of spices used.

I made a version of Martha's dish last week, and recently enjoyed leftovers for lunch. I think it's best served with a little plain yogurt — a nice cooling element against the Indian spices. I added a fresh ginger, diced jalapeno pepper and cayenne powder to her recipe, and as always, I eyeballed the amounts used. Please add them judiciously and taste as you go.

Curried Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Coconut
Serves 8

3 - 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 28 oz. can peeled, diced tomatoes or 6 medium fresh tomatoes, diced
1 very large white onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
one 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 tablespoons curry powder
large pinch of cayenne pepper
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups unsweetened grated coconut

Heat the oil in a very large skillet or saute pan over a medium-low flame. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos and ginger, and cook for a few minutes, until translucent.

Add the dried spices and stir, cooking for a couple of minutes, until aromatic. Add the rinsed chickpeas and tomatoes. Cook for about 30 minutes, until thickened, tasting as you go. If the mixture becomes too thick, add a little water.

Add the unsweetened coconut, stir to combine, and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Season to with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve the over rice with a dollop of plain yogurt; freshly chopped cilantro would be a nice garnish.


  1. Awesome! Want to make this. I wish you could post photos of the house too!!

  2. Wendy - Do make it. I love the stuff! Maybe I'll sneak back to Martha and Alex's place with a camera and write up a House Beautiful post.

  3. great stuff looks real good
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