If there ever was a meal that we cooked that tasted so significantly better the second day, this is it. The first night we made this, I was in a rush, so I inhaled mine before it should have even been done simmering for the full 20 minutes. I knew it wasn’t going to be at its prime but it was enough to feed me before running off to a rehearsal, but I knew when we had leftovers the next night, it would be better. The thing is, I didn’t realize how much better it would be. I can’t even do justice to this dish trying to explain it. The coconut milk absorbs all the spices, which causes the clove and turmeric to pop out in a fulfilling food experience. And the sweetness of coconut milk always makes any dish its in taste better. This would be a great recipe to use for dinner (like we did), but I think it would also make a fantastic lunch dish because I would imagine its pretty good chilled as well. The sauce is so thick and creamy that it douses the chickpeas and rice in a crazy amount of flavor.
We served this with plain jasmine rice, which I think was a really good idea. I could see this dish also being satisfying if you added or replaced the chickpeas with cubed chicken. The ingredients are simple enough that you could mess around with them or add some spices to the mixture, to bring out even bolder flavors. But overall, this is a really simple dish that has a surprisingly large amount of creamy, strong flavor.
Cooking Notes: The original recipe said you could either use cooked chickpeas or canned, and we used cooked. It also called for 4 whole cloves, but we did just a dash of ground cloves instead. And we used an entire can of coconut milk even though it called for 1 1/2 cups originally (there was a 25 ml difference).
Tanzanian Chickpeas in Coconut Milk (adapted from Extending the Table; serves 4)
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 tomato, chopped
A dash of ground cloves
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz. can coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
Put all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes to blend flavors. Serve with rice. Best next day. (Could these directions be any easier?)