Saturday 29 March 2014

Chana Masala (Curried Chickpeas)

I am not a big fan of raw chickpeas (I remember getting as my veg option on a flight a sandwich with nothing but lettuce and mashed chickpeas ... eww), but I love them cooked in so many ways – with curries easily topping the list.  This Indian chickpea curry differs from this Jamaican / West Indies style used for Roti’s.  The main difference is the addition of tomatoes (which would make a roti filling a bit sloppy).  

I started eating and then cooking Indian food when I lived in Vancouver.   Then I went to India and loved the food so much I gained 10 pounds in only 3 weeks.  It was worth it.  But thankfully I lost that weight when I returned home.  When I cook Indian food, I cook a lot of it.  It generally involves a lot of different spices which can seem like a lot of work some times.  So I make an event out of it and usually cook a few dishes over a couple of days.  And even after inviting friends to share, I still often have plenty left to freeze for leftovers.

1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
4 tsp chopped ginger (about 2 inches)
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp serrano chile pepper, minced
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
28 oz chopped tomatoes
2 15-oz cans chickpeas

Heat 2 tsp vegetable oil in a large saute pan.  Add 1 tsp cumin seeds and cook just a minute or two until the seeds begin to split (you'll hear it!).

Add the diced onion and cook about 5 minutes then add the ginger, garlic and chile pepper.  Continue to cook another 5 minutes or so until all are tender.  Add the remaining spices and cook 1-2 minutes to bring out the fragrance of the spices.

Add the tomatoes and chickpeas.  Cook 20-30 minutes until flavours have fully integrated, tomatoes are broken down and chickpeas are tender.

Serve with rice or naan, raita, and other side dishes.  Leftovers freeze very well.

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