Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chana Masala

This is a simplified take on a well-loved Indian dish. This version is adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Good and Cheap. Serve with brown rice and a tossed salad. Make extra, and freeze a batch for a quick, delicious meal.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds (not ground)
2 medium onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or less)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika (regular or smoked)
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups canned tomatoes with their juices, chopped small
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon, juiced (optional)

Measure out all the dry spices except the cumin seeds and put them in a small bowl.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the cumin seed and stir for about 5 seconds. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.
*you can make beans in a slow-cooker these days. No presoaking** just cover them 2 to 3 inches of water and cook them 3 hours on high (or 8 hours on low.

**many people recommend soaking beans first, and disposing of the soaking water before cooking, to make beans easier to digest, causing less gas. Others say it is not necessary. Try both and see what works for you!

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