Spices and Seasons – Garlic


Garlic is an interesting one, we love it our house and dishes such as the one that I share with you stem from this deep garlicky love. However, it is used in more moderation in general as a good complement to ginger. It is used in deeper denser dishes.

Garlic is from the allium family and the word garlic comes from Old English garleac, meaning “spear leek.” Dating back over 6,000 years, it is native to Central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

While I do not flex my rules on fresh is good, when it comes to garlic, I do often buy pre-shelled garlic cloves. It makes life just a little simpler, without a major compromise in flavor. Speaking of convenience, these chickpeas are all about simplicity and ease. They need about 15 minutes of hands on cooking time. Do not get me wrong, they cook much longer, but that is what the slow cooker is for. The flavors are seemingly complex but really not so, but roasting the tomatoes and garlic offer this recipe a surprising depth. Something magical happens to garlic when it is roasted, it mellow into a rich silky soft smoothness. The new comer in my garden this year is kale and I have been learning to love this robust and hearty green in many different ways.

The slow cooker is very much an essential in my kitchen, right out there with the pressure cooker, I use them in different ways. I shall talk about the slow cooker and how to “curry flavor” in the slow cooker next week.

Chickpea Stew with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Kale

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves 6


1/3 cup for 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tomatoes, quartered

8 pods of garlic

2 cups chickpeas, cooked until very soft (I did this in the slow cooker overnight on an 8-hour cycle)

1 teaspoon coarsely ground cumin

11/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 small bunch of kale (finely chopped, about 8 leaves)

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Lime or lemon juice (optional)

Method of Preparation

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the tomatoes and the garlic in separate ovenproof containers.

Drizzle most of the 1/3 cup oil over the tomatoes and some over the garlic.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat for a minute.

Add in the cumin and cook until it sizzles.

Add in the pepper flakes and the kale and cook for 5 minutes.

Lightly mash some of the chickpeas to give some texture to the sauce, add in the whole and partially mashed chickpeas to the kale mixture with some water (about 1/3 cup).

Add in the salt and continue simmering.

Mash or mince the garlic and stir it in.

Add in the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the cilantro leaves and sprinkle with lime or lemon juice.


Rinku Bhattacharya is a daytime financial professional, who spends the rest of her time immersed in food. Rinku is the author of the blog, Cooking in Westchester, where she shares her life experiences, original recipes that combine Indian spices with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years, and has found her classes a great way to teach and learn.

Her cookbook the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, is scheduled to be published in November 2012. Rinku can be found on facebook, twitter and pinterest.




About Author

Rinku Bhattacharya, the Spices & Seasons blogger, loves meshing seasonal produce with fresh spices. Most of her recipes are inspired by her Indian heritage, and her cooking is practical, easy and well suited for a busy lifestyle on the go. As a mother with two young children, her recipes are also usually balanced and kid-friendly. Rinku is the author of the blog, Spice Chronicles (formerly,Cooking in Westchester), where she shares her life experiences and original recipes. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past nine years. Rinku is the author of two cookbooks: The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles an award winning (Gourmand 2013) cookbook that highlights culture, memories and recipes from her childhood transformed where needed for her Lohud kitchen and Spices and Seasons that marries Indian flavors with local and seasonal produce. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and is also a contributor for Zester Daily.

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