Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chana Masala

I'd cooked up a pound of chickpeas in the pressure cooker the other day and froze most of them without any plan as to how I was going to use them. Enter Smitten Kitchen's fine, fine recipe adapted from one by Madhur Jaffrey. Comes together really quickly once you've got your mis-en-place and tastes delicious. Makes great leftovers too. I cooked it the morning of the day we'd be eating it just to give the flavors a chance to marry a bit in the fridge, but that's not really necessary. I served it with a recipe for mustard greens found on Epicurious.com and it was a wonderful pairing. Our raita was missing a cucumber, but yogurt and chopped fresh mint worked just fine for us. I'll be making this recipe again and again.

Smitten Kitchen didn't have the amchur powder (dried green mango powder) that the original recipe called for, so she added the juice of a whole lemon rather than just the half.
If you have an Indian grocery near you, do try to get some. This is the first time I've used it and I can see adding it to many other dishes in the future.

Chana Masala:
(Smitten Kitchen's adaptation of Madhur Jaffrey's recipe)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced (leave the seeds in, and just chop the whole thing up)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground (I toasted them for about 4-5 minutes...careful not to burn them)
1 tablespoon amchur powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced)

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, amchur (if using it), paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

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