I borrowed Vatcharin Bhumichitr’s Thai Vegetarian Cooking from my Mom a few years ago when I was visiting her and my Dad and I still have it.
I haven’t delved too far into the cookbook. In fact, I think I have only made 4 recipes, but the recipe that I am going to share with you today gives this book its deserving place on my cookbook shelf. This is recipe is so great that Lorna Sass adapted it for her wonderful book Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. You can find Lorna’s pressure cooker version of this recipe here.
The first words out of my husband’s mouth, after he finished chewing and swallowing were, “if I got this at a restaurant I would be really happy!” (That means he really likes the dish). The funny thing is I have made this dish a few times before, but he can’t remember. Which brings me to a cute habit that my husband has. He keeps a little notebook on his dresser where he writes down the recipes that I have made (or that he has made) that he really likes. That way he won’t forget about them. Since starting this blog we have rarely eaten the same thing twice and I think that he figures that with every dish I am delving into new uncharted territory.
I guess for Thai food, this is uncharted territory. Having chickpeas, or any bean, in a dish is quite unusual for Thai food. I can say I have never seen a dish with chickpeas or any other bean on the menu at a Thai restaurant. Vatcharin came across this recipe at a forest monastery west of Bangkok, so although not a common Thai recipe, it certainly is as authentic as it is delicious.
The recipe calls for coriander roots and, as I am sure you can imagine, these are difficult to find. If I do find them at all, there is often just a small nub of the root left attached to the stalk, so you need to use quite a few of these nubs to equal 2 roots. Personally, I do not find that the flavour is lacking without the roots, so you can avoid a special trip to the Asian market to search them out and just go ahead without.
Thai Chickpea Curry
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 coriander roots, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 400 ml can of light or regular coconut milk
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
10 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- Using a mortar and pestle pound the garlic, peppercorns and coriander roots, if using, to form a paste.
- Heat the oil and fry the paste for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
- Add the coconut and stir well.
- Add the remaining ingredients, bring to boil and simmer, until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Add the basil leaves and stir until wilted.
- Serve over brown rice.