"It's the best chickpea dish I've ever eaten," say some vegetarian friends who have tasted their way around the world of chickpeas. The inspiration for this most delicious dish comes from a wonderful cookbook called Thai Vegetarian Cooking by Vatcharin Bhumichitr (Clarkson Potter, 1991). I was intrigued to learn that this dish is unusual even in Thailand, where eating beans is not commonplace. The author discovered this dish in a forest monastery west of Bangkok. I have altered the quantities and proportions and substituted sweet potatoes for white - with exciting results.
This dish makes a luscious main course when served over white rice.
18 minutes high pressure
Serves 4 to 6
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In the cooker, combine the chickpeas, coconut milk, garlic, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, curry powder, and coriander.
Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 18 minutes. Allow the pressure to come down naturally or use a quick-release method. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape. If the chickpeas are not tender, either return to high pressure for a few more minutes or replace (but do not lock) the lid and simmer until the chickpeas are done.
Add the basil and soy sauce to taste as you break up the sweet potatoes and stir to create a thick sauce.
If fresh basil is not available, cook the chickpeas with 2 teaspoons of dried basil leaves and stir in the 1/4 cup of fresh coriander at the end.
If using the speed-soak technique, before you begin cooking, cut a few chickpeas in half to be sure they are one color throughout (page 185).