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Nov 26, 2010 10:54 AM

Chickpeas with Date Masala (from NYTimes): rave report

In the Nov. 7 Times magazine, there was an article by Sam Sifton about an Indian fusion restaurant in Vancouver that featured two vegetarian recipes, Chickpeas with Date Masala and Grilled Coconut Kale, that sounded so good I wanted to make them immediately.

I ended up making both recipes as Thanksgiving sides. The chickpeas were FANTASTIC but the kale was yucky.

The chickpeas were a win-win-win: easy, delicious, and using only pantry ingredients. I am going to be making these a lot. I started with dried beans, but I don't think the recipe would suffer with canned beans.

The kale--I followed the recipe exactly, and the end result looked pretty much just like the picture, but bleah. I usually like coconut milk, especially in Asian-flavor contexts, but this tasted like drinking a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion. It also left my cast-iron grill pan with a lovely burned-on coating of coconut goo. I feel like the "grilling" was a doomed technique--you were supposed to take these kale leaves, dripping with coconut milk marinade, and throw them on the grill or a grill pan. But you can't exactly grill something that's so wet--it just turned into sauteed kale leaves, in the grill pan anyway, with a sticky, sickly coconut sauce.

But I highly recommend the chickpeas! Yum!

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  1. Thanks! Seems like an easy dinner.

    1. ooh, thanks for the report! i bookmarked the recipe after i read the article, but i haven't gotten around to making it yet. moving that one to the top of the list.

      the coconut kale sounded odd to me so i didn't want to bother with it. thanks for taking one for the team on that ;)

      1. That's funny, I had the exact opposite opinion. Cooked these dishes with my MIL the same weekend they came out. Loved the kale (though did end up really sauteeing it in the coconut milk--too cold to grill in nyc and don't have a grill pan) but found the chickpeas way way too sweet. ended up having to doctor them with tamarind, chili,and ginger, but even then the kids complained that they were too sweet. They wanted our regular spicy curried chickpeas, the chole kind.
        However, i served the leftover chickpeas to some friends later in the week who raved about them and asked for the recipe, so I guess that sweet flavor profile is appealing to many.

        2 Replies
        1. re: missmasala

          see, now this is what i love about CH - differing opinions, and now i'm even more intrigued about the dish. i'm also extremely appreciative of your feedback because i far prefer savory & spicy to sweet, so i'll adjust the seasoning accordingly. thanks!

          1. re: missmasala

            Made the chickpeas last night using Vij's at Home cookbook (didn't have anise so I used Chinese 5 spice). I agree it was too sweet. Vij says he serves it as an appetiser which I could see or as a side dish. We just had it with rice and I got sick of it after 5-6 bites. Might be better with some Naan too.