Makes at least 8 servings
The farther east you go in the West Indies, the more Indian (as in India) the food gets, the result of a massive import of indentured laborers in the nineteenth century. Curry is a way of life in Trinidad, where 40 percent of the population has South Asian roots. These culinary influences are also felt in neighboring islands such as Grenada and Barbados, where chickpeas are called channa.
In keeping with Indian cookery, the channa are curried and tongue popping, often rolled into a paper-thin roti or cushioned between two pieces of fried bread for a head-spinning sandwich called Doubles.
As a tribute to time spent in countless West Indian gas stations where channa-filled morsels are often sold, I've come up with my own take on channa that I reckon would do my island friends proud. Here, I tuck the peas into a whole wheat tortilla that's wrapped like a parcel. With a cooling cucumber or tomato garnish, and a quick glug of hot sauce, I'm back where the ocean really is blue.
Makes over-the-top lunch leftovers.
Note: On a spicy scale, this recipe is 4 stars out of 5. You may tone down the heat by eliminating the cayenne or reducing the curry powder, but I recommend using at least 1-1/2 tablespoons of the curry powder.
Optional add-ons: Your favorite hot sauce; 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly; 1/2 cucumber, diced
Here's What You Do:
In a deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, chile pepper, and ginger, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the spices and salt, and stir well. You'll end up with a paste.
Add chickpeas, plus enough water to barely cover (at least 3 cups). Bring to a lively simmer, then lower the heat and cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, 50 to 60 minutes. You're looking for very soft chickpeas with a thick gravy, not soup.
Taste for salt and season accordingly.
Place a few tablespoons of channa inside a warmed tortilla (one per person to start), with any or all of the optional add-ons, and you've got a sandwich of champions. The channa is also great over rice. To heat the tortillas, there are a few options: Wrap in plastic and heat for 20 seconds in the microwave; wrap in aluminum foil and heat for 10 minutes in the oven at 325 degrees F; place on a dry skillet or griddle, one by one, for 30 seconds each side, over medium heat.
Keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for at least five days.
This page created December 2010
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