Thursday, April 30, 2009

finally, a use for my jar of turmeric

Recently I had a rather nice experience: somebody came to my house and cooked for me. Wow! I have had people prepare me meals before (although not many, because I'm something of a kitchen hog), and I do cooking with groups, but it was so nice to relax on my own couch while somebody else did all the work.
She prepared indian food, which was also exciting. I have to admit, I don't branch out into different genres of food anywhere near often enough, and I've never made anything more complicated than the most basic of curries before. But E brought out a recipe she found on a website that I can no longer remember the name of and made me chana masala, which was freaking delicious. And fast! Enough so that I made it for myself again this week, and now I'm sharing it with you, adapted slightly from the original to coincide with what I actually did.

Chana Masala


1 15-oz can of chickpeas
olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbs gram (chickpea) flour (most cheaply available from middle eastern markets)
1 large tomato or 1 15-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
1 small serrano chili, seeded and diced (more or less to fit your spiciness tolerance, E used half of a chili and I later used 3/4 of one)
1 tsp garlic powder or two cloves fresh garlic (the original recipe called for a stinky potent spice called asafetida that you actually have to store apart from your other spices because it will infect them, but garlic proved to be a decent substitute. If you use asafetida, add it with the cumin seeds.)
2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garam masala (a spice mix available from stores or I suppose you could make your own, although from what I read the mix varies wildly depending on who you talk to. I used storebought.)
1 tsp fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
thinly sliced tomato for garnish if you roll that way

Drain the chickpeas and tomatoes. Into the open can of tomatoes (or in a bowl with the fresh one) add the ginger and diced chili. Heat up the olive oil until a single cumin seed pops when it's dropped in. Add the rest of the cumin seeds, let them pop for a minute, then add the gram flour and fry for a minute. Add the tomato mixture, coriander, turmeric, chili powder and garlic; mash everything up a bit with a potato masher or etc. and cook for about four minutes on medium heat. The mixture should start reducing. Add the chickpeas and half a cup of water, cover, and let cook for seven to eight minutes. Mash a little more with the kitchen utensil of your choice. Let the mixture cook until you like the consistency (you can always add more water). Add the garam masala and cilantro. Serve with rice or naan bread.


Rosiecat said...

How apropos that you've written about chana masala! I was just thinking about chana masala, wondering if it's been long enough such that I can retire my self-imposed ban on making chana masala. I made it one too many times and had to send the recipe on a very long vacation so I could look forward to making it again.

By the way, I use the chana masala from Orangette, and it's fabulous.

Rosiecat said...

A correction: I meant the chana masala RECIPE from Orangette. Oops!