A long time ago, I studied English in Scotland… We were a group of foreign students and spent a lot of time together outside of college hours. My best friend at that time was called Laila and she was from Yemen. It is partly because of her that I later studied Arabic in University… We were spending hours chatting and very often, all the discussions were made around some food we would have cooked and brought in a park for a picnic. She used to cook a wonderful chickpea curry, that most of the time was eaten cold, hence, we called it “Laila’s chickpea salad”! Whenever she would ask me what she should bring for picnic, I , along with our other friends, would always ask for the chickpea curry. This was my first real encounter with spices!
Laila used to say a very beautiful thing about friendship: “Friendship lasts forever, even if we don’t see each other, because from the moment you have given your friendship to someone, both your hearts are linked by an invisible red ribbon. Should you be on the moon and see the earth from there, you would see that it is surrounded by millions of red ribbons…”
A few days ago, as I was looking in my teenage time recipe notebook, recently found at my Granny’s place, I came across the recipe of this chickpea salad. With great emotion and nostalgia, I prepared it yesterday evening and many good memories came back… And when I looked at the full moon on that evening, I saw a red ribbon coming all the way from Yemen…
Here is my nostalgic Laila’s chickpea curry recipe:
Ingredients for 2:
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon strong madras curry powder
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate, diluted in 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper
Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds, when they start to splutter, add the curry powder and turmeric. Stir for 1 -2 minutes.
Add the chopped onion and fry until transparent.
Add the tomatoes and fry for about 5 minutes, until it forms a thick paste.
Add the chickpeas. Stir well.
Add the tamarind water, add the tomato paste and chopped coriander.
Add the salt and pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat.
Sprinkle with some coriander and serve.