Thursday, November 14, 2013
The weather here really changed quickly. It went from a relatively warm fall to windy, cold, and our first snow of the season a couple days ago. No matter how old I get, there's always something magical about the first snow of the year. I'm not sure I'd ever be able to live somewhere without well-defined seasons because I enjoy the changes in the weather and the changes in the natural world so much. The snow is melted now, but it is still cold an windy. The last of the leaves are getting blown off the trees and I can hear them rustling along the street.
Days like this make you want a warm and comforting meal and my version of Chana masala is perfect for a cold evening. This dish is simple and is another one that is pretty frugal while not skimping on flavor and quality. As with most Indian dishes, it does require a lot of spices, so if you don't already have these spices on hand, they can be expensive to buy all at once. But, a well-stocked spice rack is a good investment for cooks who want to try different cuisines. This dish is made with dried chickpeas, but you could skip that part and use canned if you want. I am finding that dried are tastier and cheaper, so I've been trying to use them more often. This dish will serve about four people.
1-1/2 cups dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or ghee)
2 teaspoons Garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 fresh red chili, seeded and minced
1 small white onion, halved and sliced
1 large tomato. diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup water
juice of half a lemon
Basmati rice, cooked to package directions
plain yogurt, for topping
naan or other flatbread, optional
Hot and spicy refrigerator turnip pickles, optional
Rinse the chickpeas and place in a slow cooker. Cover with cool water (about 1/2-inch over the top of the beans). Add the vinegar, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the chickpeas are soft and creamy. (Skip this if using canned)
In a large heavy-bottom skillet, heat the coconut oil along with the Garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and coriander. Toast the spices in the oil, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Add the garlic, ginger, chili, and onion. Stir well and cook until they all begin to soften. Stir in the tomato and water. Let the mixture come to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are broken down.
Drain the cooked chickpeas and discard the bay leaf. Stir the chickpeas into the sauce. Let them simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt to taste.
Serve hot with a side of Basmati rice and topped with plain yogurt.
What was I cooking one year ago?: turnip and Yukon gold potato gratin
Two years ago?: pumpkin gnocchi in gorgonzola sauce
Three?: Moroccan spiced chickpea and lentil soup