Chickpea Curry with Whole Spices

Adapted from "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen," a fantastic cookbook by Jack Bishop.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cinnamon stick, about 4 inches long
1 bay leaf
10 whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds

1 medium onion, minced

3 medium garlic cloevs, minced
1 tbsp. minced ginger root
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (or equivalent fresh or frozen)

3 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or about 4-5 cups cooked chickpeas)
~1 cup water (or chickpea cooking liquid)

2 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
toasty nuts for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat, and add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, peppercorns, and coriander seeds. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until it starts to brown, about 4 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, and turmeric, and stir well. Add the tomatoes, and simmer until the tomato juice evaporates a bit and the mixture starts to sizzle. (Along with the tomatoes, you can also add some diced carrot, cooked potatoes, chopped cauliflower, etc.--whatever needs to get turned into curry, about 1-2 cups extra or so.)

Stir in the chickpeas and water and bring to a biol. Reduce thd heat and simmer briskly until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors are blended. Add the cilantro and salt to taste.

This recipe also works with different kinds of beans, and adapts well to a lentil curry (just adjust timings and quantity of liquid).