I was doing some research other day because I wanted to make my own curry mix and this captured my attention: “The Portuguese importation of the chilli pepper from Brazil and their mixing of other Asian spices enabled the development of ‘curi’. The Indian curry dish ‘Vindaloo’, from Goa, is a contraction of the Portuguese for ‘Garlic Wine’, or ‘Vinho de alho’. ” Curious, Vinha D’Alhos is traditionally a meat marinade made with red wine, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves and salt. Variations can include red chili peppers, but at our house was not commonly used. All ingredients were combined and put in a large covered bowl together with the meat, then refrigerated up to two days. Meat prepared like that tastes divine, especially when is roasted.
It’s always interesting to learn more about the influence the Portuguese have had on the world’s culture and notably in the culture of food. When Vasco da Gama found his way to India and established there an empire, a myriad of new flavors were introduced in the Indian cuisine. Chili, tomato, potato, sweet potato, cashew nut, yeast, vinegar and refined sugar. How fantastic must have been to go around the world and trade flavors and cultural differences like that.
The curry or caril, as we call it, is a mix of spices and the basics are saffron, cardamom, coriander, ginger, cumin, nutmeg, red pepper, clove and cinnamon. Besides these, others can be added, accordingly to the preferences, like fenugreek, fennel seed, allspice, rosemary, capsicum, cayenne pepper or bay leaves. Some curry can have up to 70 different spices.
My recipe today is chickpea curry with coconut basmati rice. And I tell you the house is impregnated with these flavors. I’m delighted with all the warmth aromatic colors, the pleasant taste of this blend of ingredients.
I used a mixture of turmeric (is not as common to find saffron in the stores as it is in Portugal, so I substituted it by turmeric), ginger, cumin, clove, nutmeg, fennel seed, cardamom, coriander and cayenne pepper. I also added a cinnamon stick directly in the pan instead of using powder. But the regular curry powder would have worked fine as well. And of course, the coconut rice is a winning combination of flavor and contrasting colors.
For the Coconut Basmati Rice, see my recipe here and just substitute jasmine by basmati rice.
- 14 oz dry chickpeas
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lemon to cut in wedges and drizzle on top
- chopped cilantro for serving (optional)
- Soak chickpeas in water overnight.
- Cook the chickpeas in a large pan with enough water to cover them for 2 hours.
- In a large skillet add the chopped onion, tomatoes and garlic with the olive oil and cook in medium-heat around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the curry mixture, salt, 1 cinnamon stick, the drained cooked chickpeas and 2 cups of water (I used the water from cooking the chickpeas).
- Bring to a boil, reduce to medium-heat, cover and cook 20 minutes until sauce is slightly reduced. Serve on top of coconut basmati rice with some lemon drizzled.
- Decorate with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges if desired.