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Recipe: Indian Butter Chickpeas
A Wordloaf vegetarian extra
Unlike the subscriber-exclusive cheesy cracker recipe, this one is for everyone (especially). It’s a recipe for chana makhani, or Indian butter chickpeas. I don’t claim this to be “authentic”, but I do love it and make it all the time. I based it upon a recipe for Indian butter chicken (murgh makhani) that I developed for Cook’s Illustrated a few years ago, which—authentic or not—is one of the more popular recipes I created there. I loved that recipe myself, and since I’m not eating meat anymore, I wanted something to take its place in my repertoire.
I replaced the chicken with chickpeas, which have a similar sounding name and are high in protein, and I use cashews in place of heavy cream. The latter change also allows the recipe to be easily made vegan by swapping out the butter for olive or vegetable oil.
By the by, this recipe goes very well with the naan recipe I am working on for my book…
Indian Butter Chickpeas
Serves 4 to 6
57g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled, divided
225g (1 medium) onion, chopped fine
25g garlic cloves (5 medium cloves), minced
7g (4 teaspoons) grated fresh ginger
1 serrano or jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded (or not, if you want it spicy), and minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon pepper
300ml (2 1/4 cups) water
120g (½ cup) tomato paste
97g (3/4 cup) cashews
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
3 cups cooked chickpeas and their cooking liquid or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, undrained
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and serrano and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is softened and the onion begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garam masala, coriander, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the water and tomato paste and whisk until no lumps of tomato paste remain. Add the cashews, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the cashews are softened, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a blender and process until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Return the mixture to the pot (strained through a sieve, if desired), add the chickpeas and their liquid, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chickpeas are very tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the remaining butter and stir until melted and incorporated. Stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro and season with additional salt to taste. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro, and serve.