300g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1½ red onions, finely chopped
½ tsp sea salt
180g pack 2 Romano peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
3-4 large red chillies, (deseeded, if liked) roughly chopped
10g thyme leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
Olive oil, for drizzling
7.5cm piece fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
½-1 tsp cayenne pepper, or 1 small red bird’s eye chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp granulated or light brown soft sugar
½ tsp shrimp paste, or to taste (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)
Crusty bread (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with parchment. Put the chickpeas in a heavy-based saucepan and cover with about 750ml water. Add half the onions and the salt.
2. Bring to the boil, then continue to boil, stirring regularly, for 2-3 minutes, skimming off any froth that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours or until the chickpeas are just tender. Add extra water as required to prevent it running dry.
3. While the chickpeas are simmering, spread out the peppers, chillies and thyme on the lined baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 25 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and add the ginger, garlic, cayenne (or bird’s eye chilli) and the remaining onions. Whizz until well blended. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove any remaining bits, then add to the pan of chickpeas along with the sugar and shrimp paste, if using.
4. When most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated, you should be left with a rich, creamy stew. Adjust the seasoning to taste, garnish with extra thyme leaves and serve with lime wedges and crusty bread, if liked.