Indian (of the subcontinent, not Native American) food is probably our favorite cuisine to cook at home. Part of it is out of sheer necessity; neither St. Cloud nor our prior city of residence, La Crosse, has a single Indian restaurant. I've had to learn some basic techniques of Indian cooking. This has come from a few great cookbooks, and a heck of a lot of experimentation. There have been pots of curry gone wrong... very wrong. But overall, I think I've gotten pretty consistent with turning out decent, sometimes even excellent, Indian meals. This is an example of a dish that came out of simple trial and error.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
large onion, diced very small
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and shredded
2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoon curry powder
zest of one lemon
2 cups chicken stock
2 cans chickpeas, drained
3/4 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
palmful of cilantro, chopped
salt, if needed
In dutch oven or deep large saucepan over medium heat, brown onion in oil until golden brown. Add grated ginger and minced garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Add curry powder, honey, and lemon zest and stir for another 1 minute. Add chicken stock and chickpeas. Bring to a boil. Cook at a low boil for about 20 - 30 minutes until liquid has reduced to at least half the volume or less and starts to thicken a bit. Remove from heat. Add yogurt, a little bit at a time, stirring constantly to try to avoid curdling. (if the yogurt curdles, the dish isn't ruined... it just won't look as pretty) Add chopped cilantro. Adjust seasoning by adding a little salt if needed. You can increase spiciness by adding cayenne pepper or using a spicy curry mix. Serve over basmati rice. Serves 4-5. It's easy to make this vegetarian by substituting water or vegetable stock for the chicken stock.