Ryan Thomas is a university student who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
A Stew From Tajikistan
Bright, colorful, flavorful, and energetic. Inexpensive, comforting, and delicious. Words of praise can flow without end for this dish from Tajikistan, called piezly mukhat in the native tongue.
This stew combines the delicious flavors of fried onions, chickpeas, and tomatoes. But what really makes it is the combination of spices—red pepper, coriander, turmeric, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper—which produces an intriguing combination of savory and sweet. Layered over rice, it makes for a complete meal, filling and wonderfully comforting.
Furthermore, it is quite inexpensive to make, particularly because it does not contain any meat (although meat could be added easily enough if one wished). This recipe's 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 that I always heartily recommend. I have not disliked a single recipe from the book, and the vast majority are excellent. I have made modifications to make the dish more savory than sweet, though I would recommend getting the original cookbook so that you can try the original recipe, as well.
- 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)
- Firstly, the chickpeas must have their external skins removed. Remove them from the can, and rub the skin off between your fingers, retaining the bean on the inside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Season with salt, pepper, and correct spices as desired, and serve over rice. Use cilantro as garnish if desired.
© 2018 Ryan Thomas