Coriander Chickpeas with Brown Rice

This is one of those meals that can be made almost entirely from pantry items. It can be vegan if you swap the butter/ghee for oil. If you don’t want to buy a lot of spices you don’t already have on hand, you could make this just with the coriander. On the other hand, if you don’t have the coriander, it will still be nice with just cumin and garam masala. I’ve also made it using halved cherry tomatoes instead of canned–it’s a nice way to use up cherry tomatoes that have passed their prime. Another good addition is sliced carrots. I’ve used both fresh and frozen, though if you use fresh you may need to add additional cooking liquid to make sure the dish doesn’t dry out or burn before the carrots are sufficiently tender. Broth or water will do nicely for that, I’ve used both for that purpose.


  • 1.5 cups of brown rice
  • 3 cups of water
  • Salt for the rice water
  • 1 tablespoon of butter for the rice
  • A tablespoon (or so) butter or ghee (or oil, if we’re kicking it vegany)
  • 1/2 a large onion
  • 4 or so cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch or so knob of ginger
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 tsp tumeric
  • cayenne, to taste
  • salt to taste


  1. Wash your rice. I promise you won’t regret this step, even if it’s troublesome. I usually put the rice in a fine mesh strainer, and put the fine mesh strainer in a bowl slightly deeper than it (but of approximately the same diameter). Then I run cold water over the rice until the bowl is full. I swish the rice around, then lift the strainer out and dump the (now cloudy) water.  I repeat that process until the water runs mostly clear.
  2. Apply 3 cups of water to the pot you’ll be cooking the rice in.
  3. Salt the water in the pot you’ll be cooking the rice in until it tastes like pleasantly salty sea water. If you, like I, had never really encountered pleasantly salty sea water, just aim for the “pleasantly salty” part.
  4. Add the freshly washed rice to the pot of pleasantly salty water.
  5. Drop about 1 T of butter in the pot with the rice and water. (Again, oil if you’re vegany).
  6. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot of rice and water, and set the burner to high.
  7. Once the rice and water mixture reaches a boil (you’ll be able to tell because steam will be rocketing out from under the edges of the pan lid), turn the heat down to low. The rice will be ready in about 40 minutes, by which point you should have finished with the remaining 12 steps of the recipe.
  8. Dice the onion.
  9. In a skillet over medium, heat the onion with some butter.
  10. Mince the garlic and the ginger.
  11. Add the minced garlic and ginger to the pan with onions. Cook for a minute or two.
  12. Add the whole coriander seeds to the pan with the onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook until the onions are translucent and the whole thing smells delightful.
  13. Drain and rinse both cans of chickpeas.
  14. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas to the skillet with the onions, garlic, ginger, and coriander.
  15. Add the can of diced tomatoes to the skillet with the chickpea mixture.
  16. Stir to combine.
  17. Add the cumin and garam masala. You can also add the cayenne now, if you’re into that sort of thing.
  18. Cook until most of the liquid from the tomatoes have evaporated.
  19. Stir in the tumeric.
  20. Cook for a few moments more.
  21. Serve over rice, with a dollop of yogurt and a sprig or two of cilantro, if you’re feeling fancy. Also nice with a bit of mango chutney.
    Serves 4
Coriander Chickpeas with Brown Rice