I learned how to make this curry from our children’s babysitter, Rosalyn, who is from Trinidad. It offers a wonderful balance of chewy chick peas with soft potatoes and the spices and herbs give the curry a robust, rich flavor. When I was cooking this dish most recently, Chloe closed her eyes, inhaled deeply and said softly, “It smells so good.” The smell alone seemed to take her to a heavenly place.
Rosalyn has been cooking for so long that she doesn't measure anything. To learn how to make this curry, I followed her around the kitchen, measuring and timing as she cooked. I have now made the curry several times from this recipe and the children don't seem to notice that it's not Rosalyn's. If you can find a Trinidadian curry, use it, but a traditional Indian curry will also work well. The curry can be doubled or tripled for a large crowd and it can also be frozen for several weeks and thawed in a pan on the stove.
The dish is traditionally served with Trinidadian roti, a recipe I previously posted here. Tortillas or pita are reasonable substitutes, or the curry may be served over rice. If you do use a flat bread, the meal is eaten by scooping up the curry with pieces of bread. No utensils are necessary. Our children love the flavors and the free pass to eat with their hands.
Rosalyn’s Trinidadian Chickpea and Potato Curry
15 minutes preparation time, plus overnight for soaking beans
45 minutes cooking time
1 cup dried chickpeas (or 2 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons curry powder
2-3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 scallion, sliced
2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
11/2 cups boiling water
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce for serving (optional)
If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight.
In a medium pot, boil the chickpeas until they are tender, approximately 25 minutes, and drain them. Set a kettle of water to boil.
Heat the oil in a heavy stockpot, and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Mix the curry powder with the cold water, and add to the pot. Add the thyme, spring onion, and parsley. Cook until the sauce is thick. Add the potatoes and stir them to coat with the curry. Add the boiling water and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, approximately 20 minutes. Add additional hot water, if necessary, to maintain a simmer.
Mash a few potatoes against the side of the pot to thicken the sauce. Add the drained chickpeas and mix. Cook until the water cooks down, the potatoes and chickpeas are tender, and the sauce is thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you like spicy food, serve the mixture with hot sauce.