Bootin’ the Gluten

Chickpea curry

SARAH GREEN/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Chickpea curry, above, is a dish by Sarah Green that can handle multiple dietary restrictions.

Living in New York City you hear your fair share of neighbor horror stories. That person who insists on practicing their saxophone at 3 a.m., or the dog down the hall that barks non-stop but the owners don’t seem to mind. The list goes on and on and after living in two different apartment buildings, both of which certainly would allow me stories to contribute to the weird neighbor problems, it seems the saying “the third time’s a charm” rings true. I’ve landed in a building where most everyone knows each other, but more than that, everyone gets along. We host a Halloween murder mystery each year that multiple people in the building participate in, allowing everyone to freely walk from apartment to apartment as the murder unfolds. In the warmer months, we’ll combine forces to have a building wide stoop sales and take turns manning the table in front of our building. We take care of each others dogs and cats, and bring packages from the mailroom to peoples doors just to help. By New York City standards, I’ve hit the neighbor and building jackpot and couldn’t be happier with my luck.

As it gets colder and we begin to stay closer to home, a group of us kick off a winter supper club. We rotate apartments each week and the host cooks for four to six people (sometimes more and sometimes less) but it’s a nice way to catch up and stay connected, all while coming together over good food. This past week there were six of us, with multiple dietary restrictions to boot, so I started brainstorming something that could feed but also satisfy everyone. Working with a soy allergy, a dairy intolerance, a vegetarian and, of course, a celiac, I came up with this chickpea curry. It could not be easier to whip together and unlike most other curries, it doesn’t take much time at all for the flavors to develop, making it the perfect after work meal. The minute I got home I cleaned some rice and popped it in my rice cooker, which was one less thing I had to worry about and got to prepping for the recipe. Since everything goes right into the blender, there’s no need to worry about proper knife cuts, just roughly chop everything and in it goes. The smell took over my apartment and offered everyone a warm welcome for the night. It was such a simple dish, bursting with flavor and spice, that it quickly became a crowd favorite that I’m sure will make an appearance again soon.

Chickpea curry

Yields: 4-6 servings

1 small yellow onion roughly chopped, about 3/4 to 1 cup         chopped

4 cloves garlic, smashed and skin removed

1 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

5 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon garam masala

3/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons salt

1 28oz-can crushed tomatoes with juice

3 15 oz-cans of unsalted chickpeas, drained

3/4 cup plain greek yogurt (I used full fat) (optional)

In a small food processor, add the onion, garlic and ginger and pulse. Slowly drizzle in three tablespoons of canola oil and blend until the mixture is smooth. Set aside. In a large skillet add the remaining two tablespoons of oil and add all of the spices and salt. It should make a thick paste. Cook the paste, stirring often so it doesn’t burn, for 2-3 minutes or until it becomes very fragrant. Add the onion mixture and stir to combine then cook for 3-4 more minutes over medium heat to cook the mixture further. Once the mixture is combined and has lost the “raw” taste from the onions, add the tomatoes and the drained chickpeas. Stir everything together and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes. At this point, the dish is ready to eat for those who need to avoid dairy and opt out of adding the greek yogurt, but for those who’d like the dairy to cut the spice, stir in the greek yogurt and serve over brown rice and enjoy.

Green was first diagnosed with gluten intolerances as a teenager. Soon after, she developed a blog to share her struggles and successes of adapting to a gluten-free life. Over the years, her passion for wellness has turned into a profession.

A 2012 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in New York, she continually is networking with other gluten-free experts and expanding her knowledge.

Her goal is to make gluten free an option for everyone, not just those in need.

Green may be reached at life@sunga­

Her column is published on the second Wednesday of each month.