Friday, May 12, 2006

Channa Masala: Dinner Malaise

Wednesday night we had dinner malaise. You know what I mean: you've been eating out a lot, so you want something homemade, but there's no fresh food in house and a grilled cheese isn't quite going to cut it. Everything required for this spicy Indian staple is always in supply in the ToastKitchen. No fresh veggies or meats are involved in channa masala, and it's quick to whip up when you're otherwise uninspired and just want to chow on something tasty and enlivening. And nothing makes the Human Vacuum happier than having a tupperware full of this stuff sitting around. We've been known to double the recipe.

The base of browned onions, toasted spices, and caramelized tomato paste is also our generic Indian food base. If you want to make a curry, and don't have anything else particular in mind, this will get you off to a solid start. From here, start tossing in meat, perhaps veggies, additional spices, whatever. Taste, make adjustments and you're good to go.

***
Channa Masala

In a large skillet, heat:
3 Tablespoons peanut oil (or other oil)

Add:
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

When onion begins to soften, add:
1 inch fresh ginger, finely minced or microplaned
2-3 Thai peppers, minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced or microplaned

Cook until onions start to brown and garlic is fragrant, then turn heat to high and add:
1 Tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional, but recommended)
Ground black pepper and salt to taste

Fry spices for 2 minutes until toasted, then add:
3 generous Tablespoons tomato paste (about 1 very small can)

When tomato begins to caramelize (about 3 minutes), add:
2 cups prepared chickpeas (I used canned)
1/2 cup water

Stir well, then simmer gently until chickpeas are very tender and water has mostly evaporated, leaving a thick, sticky coating on the chickpeas. Cooking time will depend a great deal on how tough your original chickpeas were. If you started with dried chickpeas, count on a minimum of 40 minutes, probably more. My canned Goyas were done in about about 20 minutes.

Serve over basmati rice or with Indian flatbread. I like to eat mine with a dollop of cooling yogurt on the side.

17 comments:

Alanna said...

Hey K, for a minute I thought I was on the wrong blog! Gorgeous --

Rachel said...

yum!

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