Chickpea and coconut curry

Serves 4-6

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The combination of the chickpeas, spices and coconut make this a great vegetarian main course – or you could serve it as a starter or side dish.

200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
½tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the curry

4tbsp vegetable or corn oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 green chillies, trimmed and finely chopped
3 medium onions, peeled, halved and finely chopped
3cm piece of cinnamon stick
2 cloves
The seeds from 6 cardamom pods
12 or so fennel seeds
1tbsp freshly-grated turmeric or ½tsp powder
2tsp mustard seeds
1tsp fenugreek seeds
1tsp ground coriander
½tsp garam masala
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
200ml coconut milk
4-5tbsp chopped coriander

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and then place them in a saucepan with a teaspoon of salt and the bicarbonate of soda and cover well with water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for about an hour, or until they are tender, then drain.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the garlic, chilli, onions and all of the dried spices and cook on a low heat for about 6-7 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, about 600-700ml water and the chickpeas. Add a couple of good pinches of salt, bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes or until the sauce is just coating the chick peas. Add the coconut milk and continue simmering for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the coriander. Season to taste and serve.