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Thinly slice 1 large yellow onion.
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a medium Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and light golden brown, reducing the heat as needed if the onions start to burn, 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, thinly slice 4 large garlic cloves. Peel 1-inch ginger and coarsely chop (about 1 heaped tablespoon). Drain and rinse 2 (15-ounce) chickpeas.
Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, ginger, 3/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt, 2 of the tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot frequently, until the spices are toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Add another splash of water to the pot if it starts to scorch.)
Increase the heat to medium. Add 1/4 cup of the water and 3 tablespoons tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato paste darkens in color, about 4 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a blender (a personal size blender works great here). Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups water and blend until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot. Add the chickpeas and remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and stir to combine. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are soft and flavorful, and the liquid has thickened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely chop 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems if using. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 medium lime until you have 1 tablespoon.
Remove the pot from the heat. Add the lime juice and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt and lime juice as needed. Garnish with the cilantro. Serve with steamed rice or warm flatbreads.