Sunday, October 12, 2008

taste of india... chana masala

I'm lucky enough to work with a woman born and raised in Southern India who is willing to share with me some of her recipes. This is one of my favorites, and I've made it quite a few times now. In fact, one time I brought it in to share with her, and she took some home to her son --who told her that she needed to get the recipe.

Although the ingredient list looks a bit daunting, it's really quite easy. Most of them are spices. The heat can easily be adjusted by deseeding the pepper, or leaving it out altogether.

Chana Masala
2 cans of chickpeas
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small pieces of ginger root, finely diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced (deseeded if you can't handle heat)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
4 cloves
1/2 t mustard seed
1 t cinnamon
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
dash of turmeric
1 T vegetable or olive oil
salt and pepper
handful of cilantro, chopped

1. Start by heating up the oil in the bottom of a skillet over medium heat. (You should have all your vegetables prepared before you start this.)
2. Add the mustard seeds, cloves & bay leaves to the hot oil to start releasing their aromas.
3. Next, add the ginger, garlic & jalapeno.
4. Next come the onions and the remainder of the spices (cinnamon, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and some salt & pepper.)
5. Once the onions have softened a bit, add the chickpeas and tomatoes.
6. Stir everything together well, drop the heat to low, and cover -- leaving a bit of a crack on the side to let some steam escape.
7. Let simmer for about 10 minutes or so. Check the chickpeas to make sure they've softened.
8. Once done, mix in the chopped cilantro.

Serve over rice, along with some naan (an Indian flatbread). You can find this at specialty stores such as an Indian grocer if you're lucky enough to live near one. Lavash bread makes a pretty good substitute, and is what we used for this meal. Spread a little butter across it, heat it in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
Thanks Madhura!

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