Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chana Masala (aka the chick pea thing)

My go-to vegetarian dish.

Olive oil
2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp each of clove, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cardamom
2 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tsp salt, or to taste
4 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Optional: two Tbsp cilantro (I never have this in the house)
Optional: Yogurt to go on top
Optional: Brown rice to go underneath

Big dutch oven (in a pinch, start with a big frying pan, then switch to a soup pot when you add the chickpeas).

Mix together all the spices except the salt.

Film the bottom of a large saucepan or Dutch oven with olive oil, and place the pan over medium heat. 

Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is deeply caramelized and even charred in some spots. Think twenty minutes or more, because the more color, the more full-flavored the final dish will be.

Reduce the heat to low. 

Add the garlic, stirring, and add a bit more oil if the pan seems dry.

Add the mixed spices, and stir quickly , until fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds. 

Add ¼ cup water, and stir to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water has evaporated away completely. 

Pour in the juice from can of tomatoes, followed by the tomatoes themselves, using your hands to break them apart as you add them; alternatively, add them whole and crush them in the pot with a potato masher. 

Add the salt.

Raise the heat to medium, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce gently, stirring occasionally, until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. 

Add the chickpeas, stirring well, and cook over low heat for about five minutes. Add 2 Tbs water, and cook for another five minutes. Add another 2 Tbs water, and cook until the water is absorbed, a few minutes more. This process of adding and cooking off water helps to concentrate the sauce’s flavor and makes the chickpeas more tender and toothsome. 

Momnom Notes
I'm a notorious wimp about hot spices. This is pretty mild, less than half as spicy as the original recipe, but still the spiciest thing I cook.  Serving it with yogurt, rice, or both makes milder.

Roughly, this is an investment of time like making lasagna--and it produces the same happy sense that there is food food food in the fridge fridge fridge.  

Originally from Orangette, then modified for wimpy palates.

1 comment:

  1. Things learned:
    1) You don't need to chop the bay leaves, but you do need to fish them out of the stew before serving.
    2) Steaming off the water takes longer than expected.
    3) Still: This is delicious.