Mother Teresa’s Chickpea Curry
Mother Teresa, or St Teresa of Kolkata, was widely recognised as a saint in her lifetime, inspiring many with her care of the poorest of the poor in India. In 1979, she even received the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. She died in September 1997, was beatified in October 2003, and canonised in 2016.
One of her quotes that resonates with me is: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
There are other quotes of hers I love. “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” We never know what people are going through, and kindness costs nothing. You may think someone looks fine from the outside but inside they might be hurting or lonely or just going through a tough time. There is no sacrifice in being kind and an act of kindness could mean the world to someone else.
“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” A smile makes people feel more comfortable around you, and reflects your personality and feelings. Nothing is more attractive to others than your smile. A smile can be the beginning of a friendship which leads to love.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” We can all do this; it’s not the amount we give that counts but that we try giving what we can. We might not be able to change the world, but we can try to change one person’s world.
“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” I love this quote. When you do something for someone, it’s out of the kindness of your heart, and it wants to expect nothing in return.
“I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things.” I was going through a really tough situation at one stage and I constantly prayed about it. As time passed, it seemed to get better and I felt differently about it. Looking back I realised this quote is very powerful and so true.
For the feast of St Teresa of Kolkata on September 5 we honour her and her work with the poor in India, with this curry dish. It is very easy to make and it’s so tasty. In fact, the flavour gets better after standing for a few days. You can add chicken pieces or any other vegetables of choice, besides the chickpeas.
Preparation: 60 min, Servings: 6
- 2 tbsp veg oil • 1 medium onion, chopped • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped • ¼ tsp paprika • 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin coconut milk • 2 tins chickpeas, drained • Salt and pepper to taste
- Naan bread and rice, to serve (optional)
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic and paprika to the pot. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and golden. Add a tablespoon of water at a time if the onions get dry.
- Increase the heat to medium. Add the curry powder and cumin and stir until toasted, about 1 minute.
- Add the tinned tomato and gently scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any browned spices or onions stuck to the bottom.
- Pour in the coconut milk and add the chickpeas to the pot. Stir and reduce to low heat. Stirring occasionally, let simmer until the sauce is thickened and the chickpeas are slightly softened. This should take about 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, and adjust other seasonings as necessary.
- Serve with basmati rice and/or with naan, and enjoy with the prayer to St Teresa!
Grazia Barletta is an author, book designer, and food photographer & stylist. She can be contacted at
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This recipe was published in the September 2022 issue of The Southern Cross magazine