In a deep cast iron skillet or a small soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is lightly shimmering, add the onions to the pan. Cook and stir the onions until translucent and quite soft, about 5-6 minutes. You want the onions to be quietly sizzling while they cook, so lower the heat if necessary.
Add the spice blend to the skillet and stir. Once the spices are quite fragrant and fully integrated with the onions (about 1 minute), add the tomato paste, mashing it with the back of your spoon into the spices and oil. Add the garlic and chickpeas and stir the mixture for 30 seconds.
Add the balsamic vinegar and tomatoes to the pan and stir, using the back of your spoon to scrape up any brown bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan. Add the coconut milk to the skillet and season the stew with salt and pepper.
Bring the seven spice chickpea stew to a boil, and then lower the heat to a light simmer. Cook the stew for about 10-15 minutes, or until the flavours have melded to your liking. Garnish the top of the stew with the chopped parsley/cilantro. Serve stew hot with polenta, brown rice or any other accompaniment you like.