Saturday, September 26, 2009

Taste & Create XXIII: Chana Masala

If you don't know what Taste & Create is all about, please just go here and follow the directions to sign up! It is so much fun to be paired with random partners from around the world, and prepare new dishes from the fabulous assortment of food blogs!

This month, my partner for Taste & Create was Pari of Foodelicious. Pari lives in India, which means I got to go on a culinary adventure finding out about new spices (and where to buy them online!) I found out that "degi mirch" is similar to (or a type of?) paprika, and that "lal mirch" is red chile powder. I was just going to substitute those ingredients, but then I got to "amchoor powder," which is dried mango powder. ( It's sort of like my very first Taste & Create experience, where there is simply no substitute for Loomi, or dried black limes).

So I decided to track down an Indian food store.

Luckily, I found everything I needed (and more) at, a distribution center in Wisconsin which claims to be "America's largest online Indian grocer." (and it didn't take nearly as long as finding the loomi!) Not only do they have Amchur powder and even dried chickpeas (Kabuli chana), they also have Degi mirch, Lal mirch, and yummy treats like Tamarind paste and
Sugar coated Fennel seeds!

My package from arrived last week, and I inhaled the luscious smells from the box! My dad, browsing in the pantry, got into the Fennel seeds, and also sampled some Jaggery (yum!)

On the day of the Masala, I decided first to make some Garlic Naan. The Masala is so easy to put together that I forgot about the second rising of the Naan, and so we had to wait an extra hour for dinner~oops!

When our beautiful dinner was all cooked, and smelling wonderful, Number One and I were finishing up making the Naan while H-Bomb and Sawed Off started eating (everyone was so hungry!)

H-Bomb and Sawed Off promptly declared that it was too spicy, and only ate Naan and rice.

And, ahem, I must agree. Wow!! Spicy!!! My parents and I had to stir in yogurt to cut down the heat, although Number One said the spiciness was about equal to the "medium" sauces at our favorite Indian restaurant. I would like to try this again, hopefully with a milder result! (and maybe with some chicken or lamb)

But everyone did like it (except for the boys) and had more than one helping.

Chana Masala (Chickpea Masala)

350 gms dry Chick Peas (I used two 15.5-ounce cans of chickpeas)

To grind together: (I used a food processor)

4 onions largely chopped

5-6 large garlic cloves

2 inch piece ginger

3 tomatoes chopped roughly

The dry spices:

2 bay leaves

4 whole green cardamom

4-5 tablespoons coriander powder (I used 4)

2 tablespoons cumin powder

1 tablespoon degi mirch (paprika)

1 tablespoon lal mirch (red chili powder)

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 1/2 tablespoon amchoor powder (dry mango powder)

3/4 teaspoon garam masala

2 teaspoons kosher salt

a generous pinch of Nutmeg

and also…

1/4 tsp baking soda

salt to taste

a mixture of ghee (clarified butter) and oil for cooking

If using dried chickpeas: Soak the chick peas overnight / 8 hrs. Mix in 1/4 tsp baking soda. This helps the chick peas to become soft. Pressure cook for 5 whistles and then reduce the flame and cook for another 10-15 mins.

If using canned or cooked chickpeas, just start here:

Heat clarified butter (ghee) and oil in the ratio of 3:1. Throw in the bay leaves and cardamom.

Add the onion-tomato mince and sauté until the oil separates. Add all spices and salt except the nutmeg.

Add the boiled chick peas/Chana and add water to adjust a gravy like consistency. Bring the curry to a boil and then simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Just before removing from heat, add the nutmeg and mix.

Garnish with ginger juliennes and cilantro.


Pari Vasisht said...

Hi Min Love the way you have expressed Indian cooking. It's not important what shape you give to the naan but it's imp that it fluffs up on baking.
Your chana masala looks cool, I had added the spices to the Indian liking but ya, it will be spicy for you, need to readjust the spices as per your taste.
If you really like Indian food and you like Cottage cheese, help yourself with making Paneer Kaju Pasanda, you will surely win every one's heart, That's a promise dear.
Can I Take this opportunity to ask you to sign me in for the next month too, I am travelling right now, once I am back can send you a formal mail.

Cheryl said...

Even tho' it was spicier than we are accustomed to eating it was delicious but it sure couldn't beat the Bombay House!!! Will be interested to hear how it turns out w/milder spices.

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