January 24, 2021

This simple stew is positively packed with flavor. Serve it warm over rice or grains, or at room temperature, as part of a salad with tomatoes and cucumbers, or use it to fill a dosa or tortilla. Use canned chickpeas if you must, but I prefer dried.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1/2 pound (250 g) dried chickpeas, cooked until tender. (substitute 2 cans chickpeas, drained)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 to 5 anchovies or 1 tablespoon fish sauce (vegan if desired)

A few long swaths of lemon peel

1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Cilantro leaves, torn, to garnish

A squeeze of lemon juice


Cover the chickpeas with cool water by 2 inches and soak overnight or for at least 6 hours.

To cook the chickpeas, pour them, along with the soaking water, into a 3 quart saucepan. Add more water as needed to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, add the baking soda, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 40 minutes, or until the chickpeas are tender and the skins slip off easily.

Drain the chickpeas and meticulously remove the skins from each one. This is an annoying task but suffering through it really does make a tastier, better textured dish.

In a wide skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook until they begin to brown, just about a minute. Remove the garlic and add the tomato paste and anchovies or fish sauce, stirring to dissolve the paste and cooking it down to a brick-colored sauce, just 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, adding the chickpeas, lemon peel, crushed red pepper, and salt. Stir well to coat the chickpeas in the sauce.

Cook at a steady simmer for about 15 minutes, until heated through. Garnish with the cilantro.

The stew will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

I served it over grits with a side of kale cooked with shiitakes.

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