Photo for The Washington Post by Tom McCorkle. Food styling for The Washington Post by Lisa Cherkasky.
Ingredients
  • 225 g ripe tomatoes, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • One 5 cm piece fresh ginger root, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • Fresh hot green chiles of choice, such as 2 or 3 Thai green chiles or 1/4 to 1/2 jalapeño (optional; seeds removed, if desired)
  • 1 cup packed coriander leaves and tender stems
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1-1⁄2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
  • One 7 cm cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole green cardamom pods, smashed with the flat side of a chef's knife
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small dice (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Two 420 g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 3 cups total)
Method
  1. Combine the tomato, ginger, garlic, chiles (if using), cilantro, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 6 tablespoons of the water in a blender or food processor. Puree to form a smooth, pourable sauce.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and bay leaves; stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant, then add the onion and potatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens and the potatoes begin to turn golden.
  3. Stir in the pureed sauce, so the onion and potatoes are well coated. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, then uncover long enough to stir in the chickpeas, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the remaining 1 cup of water. 
  4. Once the mixture begins to bubble, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. (If the curry is bubbling too vigorously, reduce the heat to low.)
  5. Allow the curry to cool for a few minutes, then discard the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cardamom pods. 
  6. Serve warm.
Adapted from "From Curries to Kebabs: Recipes From the Indian Spice Trail," by Madhur Jaffrey.