I have this huge running list of recipe concepts that I add to throughout the year. There are hundreds of recipes on it, and I’m always working on recipes months in advance before sharing them. Some recipes on the list are never published (rhubarb babka, delicious but tricky) and some start with an idea and are changed along the way.
This stew was meant to include coconut milk to be more of a curry, but right now it’s a bit tricky to get coconut milk, and pricey, too. It’s just as good without, and more accessible for us right now. (Apparently people in this rural-ish northeast corner of NL aren’t that concerned about coconut milk.) I’m saving mine for baking until it’s easier to get again. Despite the lack of coconut milk this is pretty much just a curry but just isn’t quite one.
Big hits of turmeric and ginger add plenty of flavour to this otherwise simple dish, alongside cayenne pepper, cumin, and a touch of cinnamon. The main ingredients are just carrots, canned tomatoes, and chickpeas (canned or cooked) so we’re keeping things really simple. It’s good though.
If you have carrots in your garden, you might still have some overwintered like I do or fresh spring ones (like Nantes) coming soon. If not, all of the ingredients in this recipe are readily available year round.
Just 13 ingredients, even including all the dry spices and water. You don’t need a really well stocked spice cupboard for this recipe – just staple spices that are really common in South Asian cooking.
- Turmeric (fresh or dried)
- Salt and pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Canned tomatoes
- Vegetable broth or water
- Cooked or canned chickpeas
Most of my soup and stew recipes have the same method and this chickpea turmeric stew is no exception. I like to cook the vegetables in the pot before adding liquid – this helps them to cook faster overall and improves flavour significantly. No old school boiled carrots over here.
The onion is cooked first to soften. It should become translucent and if it starts to brown a lot, you need to turn that heat right down. Carrots go in for a few minutes next, and then the ginger, turmeric, and other spices. Season with salt as you cook, not just at the end. Your tastebuds will thank you.
The spices just get a quick fry to ‘wake them up’ and it should smell great by this point. Toss in the tomatoes, stock/water, and chickpeas. Cook it up until the carrots are soft and serve with rice, or naan, or whatever you like. Top with herbs and you’re good to go.
Tips and Notes
Because this is cooked until the carrots are soft, you can speed it up by cutting your carrots smaller than I did here. Any tomato-based stew does taste better with a longer cooking time, as described in the recipe – about half an hour – but you can speed it up if you like.
I usually offer the option of either vegetable stock or water and let me tell you, I get a lot of flack about it. In Europe it’s common to just use water and then season appropriately, so I don’t know what the big deal is. Use stock if you like! I usually don’t have any in the house and store bought veg stock is pretty much just salt, so use extra salt.
And as with any homemade vegetable stew/soup, there is no more important aspect than proper seasoning. There are different layers to this beyond salt – you might need a touch of sweetness, or acidity, but usually it’s salt. The recipe calls for a teaspoon of salt. I use about double that but everyone has different preferences, so you might like more or less, and you should season to taste with any recipe.
This is a minimal dish and substitutions aren’t going to play a large role here, but you might like to try sweet potato in place of the carrots, for example. Play around with adding more vegetables if you like, too. Peas right at the end would be good.
The recipe card gives an option for fresh or dry turmeric. I like the taste of fresh and it’s pretty easy to find these days, but dry will give you a stronger colour and slightly different flavour. Dried is a bit bitter so you might want to add a touch of coconut sugar or honey.
I use whole cumin, as you can see in the ingredient photo above, but it doesn’t matter. The measurement is for ground but if you use whole it’ll be just as strong because whole spices are stronger than pre-ground. If you have trouble with spicy food, reduce the cayenne pepper to 1/4 teaspoon or to taste.
Serve with any greens you like, either topping the stew as seen in the photos (those are radish shoots) or fresh greens stirred into the stew once it’s finished cooking. If you want to use frozen greens, also add them to the pot at the end of cooking but keep the pot on the stovetop and cover for about five minutes to thaw.
More Spicy Stew and Curry Recipes
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Spiced Chickpea Turmeric Stew
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 medium carrots cut into 1cm (3/8 in.)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 thumb ginger ~2 tablespoons, finely grated
- 1 teaspoon fresh turmeric finely grated, or dried
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 400 grams 13.5 oz. canned tomatoes*
- 250 ml 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- 300 grams 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
- 2 big handfuls of greens
- Brown rice or [naan]
- Parsley or cilantro
- Heat a medium pot over low-medium heat. Once the pot is hot, add the coconut oil.
- Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until fragrant and translucent. Stir in the carrots and cook another 5 minutes or so.
- Stir in the garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, and cinnamon. Cook another minute, stirring frequently.
- Add the tomatoes and stock, stirring to combine. Stir in the chickpeas, then cover and bring to a bowl boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
- Taste and season as needed, and serve with rice, greens, and herbs. Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and frozen up to 3 months.