- Combine the tomato, ginger, garlic, chilies, if using, cilantro, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, 1 tsp of the salt and 6 tablespoons of the water in a blender or food processor. Puree to form a smooth, pourable sauce.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and bay leaves; stir for 30 seconds, or until fragrant, then add the onion and potatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens and the potatoes begin to turn golden.
- Stir in the pureed sauce, so the onion and potatoes are well coated. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, then uncover long enough to stir in the chickpeas, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1 cup of water. Once the mixture begins to bubble, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. (If the curry is bubbling too vigorously, reduce the heat to low.)
- Allow the curry to cool for a few minutes, then discard the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cardamom pods. Serve warm.