Sunday, October 14, 2012

chickpea and potato curry

Today it is raining. It's a cold rain, not the kind you want to go out and twirl around in, but rather the kind that makes you want to make tea, put on warm slippers, and curl up under a blanket. And you know, as much as I love the sunshine, sometimes the rain is just as good--it's what the soul needs.

October rain, cozy rain, reminds us that sometimes what we need is just to rest. To stay in, to spend time with music and books, to play in the kitchen, to write, to fall asleep in a chair, to take extra time. October rain has a smell, a feeling...kind of like the smell of woodsmoke from a campfire or fireplace. It makes you want scarves, flannel, and long socks.

late-harvest bounty from the Mill City Farmer's Market. gorgeous.

Today, today the rain feels so good. It feels so great to rest. Honestly, these past few months I've become a person who is very good at taking time to rest--it's something I really think I need to work on, as absurd as that may sound. A state of stillness is not one that my mind or body is accustomed to. I'm always up to something, needing to be moving, seeing, doing. Today, though, I'm going to stay in my pajamas and drink chai. I'm going to be creative, sing out loud, and bake something with cinnamon...because, after all, chai and cinnamon = comfort. Just like curry.

This curry recipe is one that I actually got from a professor at Augustana, where I spent four years as undergrad. He and his wife were both science teachers, and both so invested in their students...really great people. I think this curry, served at a late-summer get together before my senior year of college, was the first I'd ever tasted--Dr. Matzner's famous curry. It was delicious, and I've adored curries ever since. And in the cold months of the year, especially on days like these, they are just what the body needs.

Dr. Matzner's Chickpea Curry

Curries are awesome. They are so flavorful...and so versatile, not to mention that many of them involve coconut milk, which is one of my all-time favorite ingredients. Also, don't skip the fish sauce--and don't be afraid of it! Fish sauce is one of the things that can separate a curry that is fine from one that is amazing--it adds a depth of flavor you don't get from salt alone, and it's a common ingredient in many Indian and Asian dishes. Believe me on this one!

2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 can (14oz) coconut milk
1 tbsp yellow curry powder
2-6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
2 dried chiles
10 basil leaves
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Grind garlic and peppercorns together to form a paste.

Heat oil briefly and add paste. Stir quickly and add coconut milk; stir to combine. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer til potatoes and chickpeas are cooked al dente (about an hour on the stove, or a few in the crockpot). Serve over aromatic rice (like basmati or jasmine).

ALSO, curry is one of those things that is better the next if you can handle letting it sit in the fridge overnight before you eat it, it'll be even more delicious.

Thanks Dr. M,

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