Spiced yogurt with chickpeas and tomatoes
1/2 cup dried chickpeas
1-inch piece cinnamon
8 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups plain whole-fat yogurt
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
fresh ground black pepper
Soak the chickpeas overnight in a medium saucepan with 4 cups of cold water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are tender but not falling apart. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan over just less than medium heat. Toss in the ground cumin and dry roast, stirring, until the cumin darkens a couple of shades and acquires a toasted fragrance. Take out of the pan and set aside in a small bowl to cool slightly.
Return the cooking liquid from the chickpeas to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Tie the cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, black peppercorns, fennel seeds and cumin seeds in a cheesecloth bundle. Put the bundle in the water, toss in half a teaspoon of the salt, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the chickpeas and bring the liquid back to a boil. Turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and let the chickpeas cool in the liquid. Drain the chickpeas and discard the cheesecloth bundle.
Whisk the yogurt in a large bowl until smooth. Combine the chickpeas, tomatoes and parsley with the yogurt. Stir in the roasted ground cumin, cayenne, and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Spiced Yogurt with Chickpeas and Tomatoes
One of the many delights of Madhur Jaffrey's ethnic cookbooks apart from the astonishing variety of foods and tastes is the simplicity of so many of her recipes. This cooling and refreshing dish adapted only slightly from her World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking is no exception to any of the rules, and is a perfect light patio lunch for warm weather on its own or a nice counterpoint to a spicy meal, such as when I served it with a very hot spiced urad dal rice (recipe coming soon). Even if not for the pleasing taste, the aroma of dry roasted ground cumin — which I substituted for whole seeds — is worth the very small effort of putting this together.