Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chickpeas Curry (Stew)

Not to beat the gift card horse to death, bear with me as I share this story. Happened about 8 9 years ago, I wanted to spend a gift card presented for DD's birthday in favor Zainy Brainy, used to be a nifty store but unfortunately went out of business in 2001. At the store I purchased stuff worth a little over $25, the value of the gift card. (isn't that always the case, we end up purchasing more than the gift card's worth), I took it to the counter, when the cashier rang it up, the card was worth $20.87 or some such. I was a bit surprised and it seemed strange that someone would gift a used card. These friends of ours were tight wads and for a second the thought crossed my mind. I am bad, I know and I apologize for thinking that. But these were days when gift cards were not all that popular and not every financial advisor was talking about the evils of penalty of non-usage and reducing value of the gift cards after a certain period. I don't remember exactly but that's probably what happened. I bet most of you are aware but just a reminder to make sure the gift cards don't have expiry dates and penalties attached.

Don't get me wrong, I am not condemning regifting, I do it all the time but I make sure the product is in its original package and in the case of gift cards the value has not reduced. Just don't want the recipient to feel offended.

Green Earth
"To really save the planet, stop going green" says Mike Tidwell the executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network in an article in the Washington Post.

He states,

"All who appreciate the enormity of the climate crisis still have a responsibility to make every change possible in their personal lives. I have, from the solar panels on my roof to the Prius in my driveway to my low-carbon-footprint vegetarian diet. But surveys show that very few people are willing to make significant voluntary changes, and those of us who do create the false impression of mass progress as the media hypes our actions."


"So what's the problem? There's lots of blame to go around, but the distraction of the "go green" movement has played a significant role. Taking their cues from the popular media and cautious politicians, many Americans have come to believe that they are personally to blame for global warming and that they must fix it, one by one, at home. And so they either do as they're told -- a little of this, a little of that -- or they feel overwhelmed and do nothing.

We all got into this mess together. And now, with treaty talks underway internationally and Congress stalled at home, we need to act accordingly. Don't spend an hour changing your light bulbs. Don't take a day to caulk your windows. Instead, pick up a phone, open a laptop, or travel to a U.S. Senate office near you and turn the tables: "What are the 10 green statutes you're working on to save the planet, Senator?" "

Read full article here.

This article struck a chord, having been seriously disillusioned every time I visit the grocery store carrying my cloth bags. I am probably one of the very few with a reusable bag. Sometimes I am the only one amid the clamor to double bag everything. I doubt if there is anyone who does not understand the harmful effects of plastic bags but most people don't make the effort. It's not like these reusable bags are expensive, they are not. Most grocery stores give credit for the reusable bags that are brought in. Doesn't seem to be doing much to change attitudes. This is a tiny example and I am sure there are many things that can be done by individuals without pain but most don't. A government mandated no plastic bag rule would go a long way in doing what voluntary efforts are never going to.

What do you all think? Is voluntary efforts by individuals enough to change anything?

When I saw the recipe on plaintain leaf I immediately went looking for black chickpeas but did not have any. I decided to use garbanzo beans instead. I added star anise but none of the other whole spices.

Recipe Source: Kadala Curry

1. 2 Cups dried chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked with turmeric powder
2. 2 tbsp grated coconut
3. 1/2 medium sized onion roughly chopped - 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp finely chopped
4. 2 star anise
5. 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
6. 1 tsp cumin and few pepper corns
7. 6-8 green chilies
8. 4 cloves garlic sliced
9. salt to taste
10. seasonings: mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds

1. Roast the coconut till they turn brown, set aside
2. Add a bit of oil to the pan and saute the onions, when they are almost brown add the star anise, coriander seeds, cumin, pepper corns and green chilies and saute for 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool and blend to a paste.
3. In a wide mouthed vessel heat a tsp of oil and add the seasonings. Add the onions and saute till translucent, add the garlic and saute for a minute
4. Add the cooked chickpeas and the blended paste and 1/2 cup of water.
5. Cook for 6-1o minutes, add salt and let the curry come to a desired consistency.

Serve with chapatis, rice or even idlis.

The smell was just wonderful.


  1. :-)
    Some cards do have expiration dates, in the sense that they deduct a few cents every month after a year. I know that happened to me once, and I found that to be written at the back of the card. don't recollect which store tho'.

    I need that stew right now as the temp. plunged in the 30's.

  2. Curry looks delicious...I find it hard to use the gift cards and my daughter has lots from her last birthday and her birthday is coming soon. I am therefore forced to pass it on to someone though I am against it. I am going to check the balance from now on just in case although most cards do not have expiry dates now.

  3. Individuals attitude is a good point to start but to make anything in large scale we need the governement. But again individuals can influnce our kids and in turn thir friends. We need to work on a whol new generation rather than the alredy grown ups. Like in our hom we almost preach our friends to take oil bath twice in a week but the result is very poor. In turn we had made a practice wit our kids and now I bt they won't leave the habit for the rest of their lives.
    That black bowl looks wonderful wit this pale colord curry! I love the masala grind here. I bet thsi would taste better with dark chick peas. Taditionally arisi puttu (made as kuzhaai puttu) is served with these type of curries!

  4. I think i cannot imagine give a used gift card to someone, even if they were not that popular at the time.
    Here we all love channa and I am always looking for new way to make them.
    Looks so yumm.

  5. Yes, I will continue to lug my canvas and cloth bags to the store, reusing jam jars, walking to work and all of those other little things, regardless of the fact that they are a drop in an infinite ocean. This is because it makes me personally aware of the space I take up on this planet.

    And I'll continue to support efforts by big government to change out policies too, doing small things does not mean one is unaware of the bigger picture.

  6. Small drops make an ocean... So maybe my small drop will add to that ocean too???

    That curry looks sumptuous, Indo. The black bowl and the curry suit each just perfect.

    The gift card - ouch! I have to go and check when the gift cards we have expire... have quite some that we haven't used yet. :(

    Almost all stores around here have recently started the no-free-plastic bags policy. If you need it, you have to buy it for 5cents each. Or you could bring your own bag. Or buy a reusable bag from the store. This is a recent thing here and has cut down on the plastic bags a LOT!! I heard that the absolutely-no-plastic-bags-rule is also on the works, but no idea when that would materialize.

  7. Cilantro, I don't think regifting is a bad thing. It is good for the environment, wallet everything. Just have to make sure it has not expired or the balance has not started reducing.

    Nupur and Kay I do agree that we all have to do our part. I have realized that carrying cloth bags is more convenient for me. Lugging 4 bags instead of 15 is a great thing. I agree with the author that there has to be a groundswell to get our politicians to do something about it.

    Great to hear that Canada has stepped up Kay. I hope the US for once would stop pandering big business.

  8. I remember finding out, albeit too late, that some cards have expiration dates. :( the curry looks delicious. Never tried it with coconut.

  9. This is something new to me & interesting too... I would love to try it....


  10. I know some cards have exp date but am too lazy sometimes to use up some :)

    Have heard so much about the Kadala Curry, this is same but with chickpeas ?

    What is your views on India's stance on the whole thing Indo ? Would love to hear. I couldn't make up my mind. They were right and yet wrong.

  11. Sandeepa, yes usually the kadala curry is made with black chana, I did not have any so used chick peas.

    I am in the same boat can't make up my mind because what the government is saying is true - we need progress and development to bring the masses out of poverty. But, the effects of Global Warming will be felt more acutely by the very same people. Shortage of food and water will be a great burden on them. South India, I read has 50 may be 40 now, before it becomes an arid region.

    In the end resisting curbs and controls might in fact wipe us out. In India, agriculture does not provide a sustainable living even for big landowners because of lack of rainfall and the over farmed soil.

    The growing middle class in India and China, leaves the same carbon footprint as the Americans without being mindful of it.

    India has more to lose because of global warming, maybe the time is now to put in place good practices without being bound by treaties.

  12. I agree!Regifting as long as it is in the original packaging should be okay as I do it sometimes..but I have had a couple of instances where used up ones are regifted and you can know the diff...Anyway the stew is so good!

  13. Dear,

    I know, you're a Great cook and I adore your blog.

    I am hosting an Event in my site about Kitchen Mishaps!

    Please check it out:


    Would you like to participate?

    I will greatly appreciate your contribution.

    Malar Gandhi

  14. Malar, mishaps are essential to become a decent cook methinks. This is a fun event. No pictures of disasters, too busy cleaning up I guess. Will try to participate.

  15. I always order kadala curry with hot appams when we eat out. :-) But they are always darker in colour .. yours looks so soft coloured ... maybe due to the different beans. Looks good Indo. :-)

  16. Glad I found this one as I am tired of making only chana masala with Garbanzo beans. Will keep this in mind next time I soak it.

  17. Recycling gifts....sigh, opens a whole can of worms doesn't it?! I don't think there's any harm in giving away a gift one has got to someone you think will appreciate it more - but to just dump something on someone....
    Didn't know about gift cards till now - one would have thought that THAT would have been a painfree process!

  18. I tried the kadala curry with white garbanzo beans, Indo and we loved it!! thank you for reminding me of this yummy dish!

    I'm making some puttu right now to go with it.


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