Sunday, June 20, 2010

Chana (Gobi) Masala


Indian food confounds me. There are so many spices that,  I don't really have much experience with. With that in mind, I set out to find a good recipe with which to make Chana (Chickpea) Masala.

I tried one from Nirvana's Kitchen which was pretty tasty. It has you flavor the cooking oil with whole cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks before you start cooking which lends a subtle, but tasty Indian flavor to the dish. The very next week, Smitten Kitchen posted a chana masala recipe, and was quickly tested over at Serious Eats. Those versions both hail from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian cookbooks and so are not terribly different.

Today I did my best to put together a recipe that took the best parts from both, added some cauliflower for a little texture and and came up with something pretty good, but I think someday it could be better.

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil or ghee
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cardamom pods
5 cloves
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cauliflower, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger (I used dried, but think fresh would be MUCH better)
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (taste to make sure your hot pepper isn't too much first_
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-oz. can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small
2/3 cup water
1 25 oz. can of chickpeas, drained (or 4 cups cooked chickpeas)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced) (or use amchoor powder which I don't have)

What to do:
  1. Put the oil in a large pan (I used our wok pan) and heat on low heat. And add the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom seeds and stir around. Let steep for a few minutes and then remove the spices
  2. Add the onions, cauliflower and jalapeno to the oil and cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent. 
  3. Add the spices to the oil and stir. Cook about a minute and then add the tomatoes and the chickpeas. 
  4. Cook about 15 minutes until the flavors meld. If you want to, put a dollop of plain yogurt into the mix (about 1/2 cup) while the flavors are developing for a slightly creamier consistency
  5. Serve with rice or whole wheat naan.

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