Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chana Masala

I tried Smitten Kitchen's Chana Masala a year or two ago and for some reason, it just didn't do it for me. I'm not sure if my tastes have changed, my Indian cooking skills improved, or this recipe is just better, but I found it much more satisfying. Iyer warns that if you don't find this recipe spicy enough, you can garnish it with some cut up fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, but if you're serving this to the spice-averse, it's probably more than hot enough already!

For the chickpeas, I decided to try cooking them in the slow cooker ahead of time. I cooked them on high for 2.5 - 3 hours, covered in water, without soaking. I went ahead and made a full bag so that I could freeze the leftovers in 1 cup bags. I'm entirely too excited about having easy access to cooked chickpeas in the near future.

One year ago: Caramel Apple Blackout Cake

Chana Masala (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp ghee or canola oil
2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp left whole, 1 tsp ground
2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tbsp mango powder or fresh lime juice
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
4 cups cooked chickpeas
4 tbsp finely chopped cilantro, divided
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1. Heat ghee in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in whole cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle, turn reddish brown, and smell nutty, 5 - 10 seconds.
2. Lower heat to medium and carefully stir in ginger and garlic pastes (it will splatter!). Stir-fry until pastes turn light brown, about 2 minutes.
3. Stir in 1 cup water and the tomato paste, coriander, mango powder (or lime juice), cayenne, turmeric, and ground cumin. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally until water evaporates from the reddish-brown sauce, 5 - 10 minutes.
4. Pour in 2 cups water, the chickpeas, 2 tbsp of cilantro, and the salt. Raise heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 15 - 18 minutes.
5. Sprinkle remaining cilantro and onion over curry and serve.

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