A healthful bowl of curried chickpeas with onions, tomatoes, and spices, served with fragrant turmeric rice and garlicky sauteed Swiss chard.
Outside India, when people think of chickpeas in association with Indian food, often the only recipe that comes to mind is Chana Masala, a spicy, tangy dish popularized by Indian restaurants and food blogs. But in my childhood home in Maharashtra along India’s west coast, my Maharashtrian mom, and later my Goan stepmom, rarely, if ever, made Chana Masala, which is a north Indian dish. What we did eat quite often was Chana Usal, made by cooking deep brown chickpeas in a coconut, spice and onion sauce. It was so delicious, the flavor of my mom’s Chana Usal still lingers on my tastebuds decades after.
I evoked that memorable flavor and richness for the chickpeas in my Curried Chickpeas Bowl with Turmeric Rice and Garlicky Chard.