This is a warming, deliciously spicy dish for those meatless nights (economic conditions are helping me with doing more of those), and you won't at all be missing meat here either. Caramelizing the onion gives it an extra jolt of flavor. I made enough soaked and boiled chickpeas for two dishes, this and a nifty bowl of hummus with lots of mint and garlic. I figure if you're going to the trouble of doing them yourself, might as well fix a bit extra. Once the beans are ready, everything comes together pretty easily.
The first thing is to soak your chickpeas, covered with water by at least 3 inches, overnight. Next day, drain and cover with water, again by 3 inches, in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down to just simmering, skimming froth, and cook til tender (not mushy). This depends on the age of the beans, etc. perhaps 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Drain in a colander, reserving some of the water for later, rinse and remove any loose skins. Set aside.