Thursday, February 3, 2011
Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)
In keeping with the mood of the weather, soups and stews have been in heavy rotation. I wanted something spicy, hearty, and able to be concocted without a trip to the grocery store. Chana masala, a dish made with chick peas, was just what we needed. All the necessary ingredients are staples in our kitchen, so within 45 minutes Ryan had made some naan and we were curled up on the couch with steaming bowls of comfort food.
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 fresh hot pepper, minced (optional)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. garam masala or curry powder or both
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup of dried chickpeas, cooked (or 2 cans of chickpeas, drained)
1 can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. amchoor powder (optional)
1 tsbp. butter
cayenne pepper or hot chili powder to taste
salt to taste
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until soft and golden brown. Add the garlic and hot pepper, if using, and stir, cooking until soft and fragrant. Add the sugar and spices and stir to coat the onions, keeping the ingredients moving so that they cook but do not stick too much to the pan. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes, stirring to combine, and scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the saucepan. If using amchoor, add it now. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then lower the heat and gently simmer to bring the flavors together for 10 minutes, adding a bit of water if the curry becomes thicker than you desire. Stir in the butter before serving.
Notes on this recipe: There are as many different recipes for chana masala as there are Indian grandmothers or take-out restaurants in New York. The best way to make something you'll like is to taste it along the way and add more of the spices that you like, and less of the spices that you don't. If you don't have amchoor powder (and let's face it, most of us don't) you can substitute something else or leave it out completely. Amchoor is a bright, sour flavor - I substituted 1/2 tsp. of tamarind concentrate, but you could also use a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve this curry on its own, over rice, or however you like it - I've been known to cook it down so that it's very thick, then spoon it into a piece of warm naan to be eaten like a burrito. Authentic? I'm not sure. Delicious? Definitely.
Posted by Kate at 11:27 AM