Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chana Masala (Curried Chickpeas)

Chana Masala (Curried Chickpeas)

Cooking the onions:
2 large onions
5 tablespoons ghee (or clarified butter)
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

Finely dice the onions. Then heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat and melt the ghee. Once melted, add the onions followed by the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until soft and golden but not brown. Do not rush this step.

Preparing other ingredients:

3 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste
1 ½ inch piece ginger, finely chopped
2 green chilies (Serrano or jalapeno), minced
3 large ripe tomatoes (about 3 cups) chopped
2-19 ounce cans chickpeas
1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
½ teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon Kashmiri powder (An Indian Chili powder. If you can’t find it, just use regular chili powder).

While the onions are cooking, you can start getting the rest of the ingredients ready. First, crush the garlic into a paste. Then finely chop the ginger and mince the chilies. Depending on how spicy you like you curry, you may want to remove some of the ribs and seeds. Next, core and dice the tomatoes into medium dice. Drain and rinse the chickpeas under cold water and set aside.
Remember to stir the onions occasionally and adjust the heat lower if necessary. Remember to cook them slowly.
Next, using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, finely grind the coriander flowed by the cumin.

Cooking the Dish:

1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cups water

Once the onions are soft and golden, add the garlic, ginger and chilies. Stir to coat with the butter and let cook for a minute or so until they release their aroma. Then add the spices and fry just until they release their fragrance. Next, turn the heat up to medium, add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Then add the salt and cook until the tomatoes start to break down and soften, about 10 minutes. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the chickpeas and water. Bring the mixture to a quick boil and then turn the heat to low. Cover only partially to allow the moisture to evaporate very slowly, while the chickpeas cook. Let this simmer and cook for about 20 minutes in total, stirring occasionally to ensure noting is sticking. After about 10 minutes, check to see how much moisture remains. You want to reduce and thicken, but still have some liquid. Meanwhile, you can prepare the garnish.

Finishing the dish:
1 lemon
¼ cup fresh cilantro
¾ cup plain yogurt (thick yogurt)

Roughly chop the cilantro and cut the lemon in half. Once almost all the liquid has evaporated, squeeze half the lemon juice over top and let cook for another minute or so. To finish the dish, turn off the heat and stir in the yogurt. Just before serving, fold in the cilantro and test for seasoning. Serve over brown basmati and you have a great meal.

Note: To make ghee, just google it and they will tell you exactly how to make it.
If you do not have a grinder for the seeds, just use ground cumin and coriander, making sure to use less since it’s already ground.

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