amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Curried chickpea cakes with cilantro coconut chutney

POSTED ON June 20, 2009

toasting spices

Tonight, I am going over to my friend Susan’s for dinner; it is always a pleasure to share meals, prosecco and conversation on her lovely terrace. Susan Simon is an author of many wonderful cookbooks and a catering extraordinaire. In the 10 years that I have known her she has taught me a lot about food and entertaining, especially the importance of a stunning tablescape!

She is preparing her famous curried chicken for the grill with mango mayonnaise and a raita. I am contributing some vegetarian dishes to our meal, chickpea cakes, the chutney and a rice dish, which I may post soon (if it works out well). When she said curry, my thoughts turned immediately to the spice draw which I’ve been meaning to clean out, but somehow didn’t get to during my recent spring cleaning frenzy. Anyway it’s full of old spices, like cayenne pepper that has lost it’s zest, Herbs de Provence from a drive around the south of France over 12 years ago (no exaggeration), Lemon Myrtle leaves from a friend in Australia and other unlabeled bags and jars. There are some real goodies though too, like a pound of vanilla beans from a trip to Bali last year and other special Balinese spices that are patiently awaiting to be used for that “Bali dinner” my sister and I have been talking about since I got back 13 months ago.
Now that the contents of my draw are on the counter, I am making my favorite curry powder so you have it, as I will use it again for a delicious eggplant curry later in summer.





chickpeas soaking

chickpeas soaking

garlic scapes

garlic scapes

chickpea cake topped with chutney

chickpea cakes

chickpea cakes

cilantro coconut chutney

Curry powder

1/2 large cinnamon stick, broken up a bit
4 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
1 teaspoon fenugreek
6  cloves
6 cardamom pods
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Warm a heavy skillet over medium heat add cinnamon, coriander, cumin , black pepper, fenugreek, cloves and cardamom. Toast until fragrant, about 2 or 3 minutes. Grind in a spice or coffee grinder until fine. Transfer to a bowl and add turmeric,ginger and cayenne, mix well.

Makes about 1/2 cup.

I soaked 2 cups of chickpeas because I love having extra cooked ones around, I ate some for lunch with my usual condiments, flax, tamari etc. This time I added some black sesame gomasio, Kimchi from Hawthorn Valley farm and sunflower sprouts that I got at the market.Yum!

I couldn’t resist a quick trip just to see what I could add to these cakes that was local. To my delight I found Kira’s farm, Evolutionary Organics from New Paltz, NY and got some of these gorgeous garlic scapes and some lettuces for a simple green salad, because no meal is complete without greens!
If you don’t have scapes, garlic cloves are fine. This recipe made sixteen 2 inch patties and I was happily left with about a cup of chickpeas, you could easily add all of them and some extra seasoning.

Cilantro coconut chutney

3/4 cup dry coconut
1/2 large bunch cilantro, leaves and stems roughly chopped, about 4 cups
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 Serrano chili, seeds removed and chopped
juice of 2 limes, mine were not that juicy
1 tsp honey or agave
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste

Cover dry coconut with boiling water and let sit for 10 or 15 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Place in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and blend, while motor is running, add enough reserved soaking liquid to get desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

Stored in a jar this will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

Cakes are cooling…..It’s been a busy afternoon and my spice drawer is still a mess, but there is no time to organize it now! Will be back with the recipe for the rice dish.

Chickpea cakes

2 cups dry chickpeas, 4 1/2 cups cooked (or three 15 oz cans, drained and rinsed)
2 inch piece kombu (for cooking chickpeas)
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more sautéing cakes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic scapes, or 3 garlic cloves
large pinch sea salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder, see above
2 tablespoons chickpea cooking liquid or water

Cover dry chickpeas with plenty of filtered water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse then place in a pressure cooker or heavy pot. If using a pressure cooker cover with 1 inch of filtered water add kombu. Bring to a boil, scoop off any foam that rises to the surface and cover. Once pressure is at it’s highest, lower heat and cook for 30 minutes. 
Allow pressure to release, drain chickpeas, reserving a little cooking liquid and set aside to cool.

If you’re not using a pressure cooker go get one!…no, in the heavy pot mentioned above, cover chickpeas with 3 or 4 inches of water, add kombu and bring to a boil. Scoop off any foam that rises to the surface. Lower heat and cover. Make sure chickpeas stay simmering, cook until tender about 1 hour. Drain as above and set aside 4 1/2 cups to cool, you may have a little extra.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and toast mustard seeds, shaking pan until they begin to pop. Set aside to cool. In the same skillet add olive oil and sauté onions. Finely chop the garlic scapes /or mince garlic cloves, add to the onions along with the salt. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes or until scapes are tender and onions are golden brown. Stir in curry powder. Add chickpeas to the skillet and use a potato masher to combine with onions, mix until most of the chickpeas are mashed. Add some cooking liquid if mix is too stiff or dry. Stir in mustard seeds and taste for salt. Shape into 2-inch cakes, using a 1/4 cup measure and put in the fridge while you clean up, they firm up a lot when completely cold. In that same skillet heat a thin film of olive oil over medium-high heat and cook cakes until golden brown on each side.

TAGGED UNDER: curry powder, garlic scapes

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  • thecatskillkiwi says:

    Hi love the idea of making my own homemade curry powder mix, how long do you think this will store for?

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Make it, it’s so quick and easy and will store for about 3 months in an air tight container.
      You can mix up the spice combinations too! This one has quite a kick from the black pepper and cayenne.
      Let me know how it turns out…..

  • thecatskillkiwi says:

    Will Do!

  • Sam says:

    Oh, I’m really hungry now. Must. Have. Curried. Something. 😉 (Jacqui sent me here.)

  • Hi, Amy,

    OK, so I’m an official groupie now.

    Funny, I just made falafel last night, using the same method of soaking the dried beans beforehand, but this sounds much better. (My husband would politely disagree, but he fancies falafel, especially when I throw in leftover veggies and a bit of Ghost Chile.)

    I am not confident in my currying, though, as I’ve had too many dreadful experiences with chalky, overpowering Indian dishes and am thus reticent to replicate them at home. But! I’ve got every spice you listed, so perhaps I’ll give it a go.

    Too chicken to get to know a pressure cooker, though.

    By the way, I’m amazed and grateful you have time to do this blog. Post infrequently; post hesitantly; post whenever you dang well feel like it; but do post. For yours is healing, beautiful food that makes me yearn for my old Manhattan hovel.


  • Amy Chaplin says:

    Hi Holly,

    Make the curry, it really only takes 5 minutes and is so aromatic. If you don’t like it too strong just cut down on the clove and pepper corns.
    Pressure cookers are great for speed, beans are luscious and soft in 30 minutes or less…but I know they’re scary at first.

    Anyway let me know how it goes!

    Thanks for writing and happy to know that I have an official groupie!


  • Bonnie says:

    Wow, this looks good!

  • joanne says:

    I love the taste of curry, but can’t tolerate much heat. I like it when it’s totally mild. Can you please recommend how to adjust the curry powder recipe so that it remains flavorful, but with no heat?

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