Vibrant Onion and Chickpea Stew Tajik Recipe

Updated on March 4, 2018
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Bright, colorful, flavorful, energetic, cheap, comforting, delicious, the words of praise can flow extensively for this Tajikistan dish, originally named Piezly Mukhat. It combines the delicious flavor of fried onions, warm and friendly, with solidity brought from chickpeas, and with the flair of the addition of tomatoes. But what really make it is the combination of spices - red pepper, coriander, turmeric, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt, pepper, which make a dish an intriguing combination of savory and sweet, with a strong taste of cumin and turmeric which should surely make it loved by any aficionado of onions. Layered over rice, it makes for a complete meal, filling and wonderfully petting. Furthermore, it is quite cheap to make, being without any sort of meat (although this could be added in easily enough if one wanted more substance), and its splendid flexibility means that it can be changed to incorporate whatever one would want.

This recipe is adapted from Please to the Table, The Russian Cookbook, by Anya von Bremzen, a book which I always heavily recommend. There has never been a recipe which I have actually disliked out of it, and the vast majority are superbly excellent. I have made modifications to make the dish more savory than sweet, and I would recommend getting the original book so as to be able to taste what it is like in the original form.

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  • 1 12 oz can chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large onions, peeled and coarsely diced
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, + to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons, garlic salt
  • cilantro, (optional, for garnish)


  1. Firstly, the chick peas must have their external skins extracted. This should be quite easy. Remove them from the can, and rub the skin off between your fingers, retaining the bean on the inside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the chickpeas with 3 cups of water, 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a slow boil, and then cook over low heat for 1 hour.
  3. In a dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat until it begins to sizzle. Then add in the onions. Sauté them until they begin to turn brown, for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove the liquid from the chickpeas so only 1 cup at most remains. Then add them into the onions. Add in the tomatoes, and the various spices, and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Season with salt, pepper, and correct spices as desired, and serve over rice. Use cilantro as garnish if desired.


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