My Spice Drawer

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Bengali Chickpea Stew

This tomato based stew is a one-pot meal with the deep tang of Bengali Panch Phoron interacting with the sweetness of the tomatoes, the Punjabi Garam Masala and cilantro added at the end provide another layer of flavour. Enjoy it with breads such as pitas or chapattis, or over rice or couscous.

 3 tbsp light oil
 2 tbsp Panch Phoron
 2 medium potatoes (cubed and slightly cooked)
 1 large green pepper, chopped
 6 cloves garlic, chopped
 1 chili pepper (minced) or cayenne, to taste
 19 oz tin chickpeas
 28 oz tin diced tomatoes
 1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
 2 cups fresh or frozen baby okra (you can substitute spinach)
 3/4 cup water or stock
 1/2 cup frozen peas
 1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped
 2 tsp Punjabi Garam Masala
 Salt to taste

In a large cooking pot sauté the Panch Phoron in the oil over a medium heat until the seeds begin to crackle. Add the slightly cooked potatoes, green pepper, garlic and chili and cook for five minutes, stirring regularly. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, sugar, okra, liquid (water or stock) and salt. Cover and simmer at a low heat for at least 45 minutes. This dish actually benefits from a long slow cooking, filling the house with exotic spice aromas.

Five minutes before serving, add the peas and stir in the cilantro and Punjabi Garam Masala.

Serves 4, or more as a side dish.