Serves 4 to 6
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
4 green cardamom pods
3 whole dried red chiles
1½-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
4 fresh or 6 frozen curry leaves, torn into pieces (optional)
2 red onions, finely chopped
3 fresh hot green chiles, slit the length of the chile
1½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons dried mango powder (amchur), or the juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons pomegranate seed powder (anaardaana), or the juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons ground toasted cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1½ cups water
3 (19-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Combine the oil, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, and red chiles in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the cumin begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the ginger and curry leaves, if using, and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. (Stand back if using curry leaves; they spit when they hit the oil.) Add the onions, green chiles, and salt while cooking, stirring often, until the onions turn a uniformly dark brown color, about 20 minutes. Keep a cup of water beside the stove as the onions cook. As the onions begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, add water, about 1 teaspoon at a time, and stir and scrape the bottom of the pan, add water, about 1 teaspoon at a time, and stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with the spoon to pull up the browned bits, keeping the onions and spices from burning. Do this as often as necessary (5 or 6 times) until the onions are well browned.
When the onions are cooked, add the mango and pomegranate powders, if using, as well as the ground/toasted cumin, turmeric, and ½ teaspoon of garam masala; cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the cayenne and black peppers. Immediately add the water and all but about ½ cup of chickpeas. Mash the rest of the chickpeas to a puree with the back of a form, and add them to the pan along with the remaining ½ teaspoon garam masala. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and cook gently, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, if using. Taste for salt, and serve hot.
© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran