Tag Archives: indian

Chana Masala-ing my way into cooking Indian food – Repost


Last September, I went through a phase making Indian food.  Chana Masala was one dish I made that was spectacularly easy and yummy! At the time, I didn’t have all of the spices mentioned in the recipe.

Last night though I made it again and this time, I had fresh Amchoor powder and Garam Masala on hand that I picked up at an Indian grocery store  in Scarborough. It turned out delicious, again!

It’s an incredibly easy dish. Once you have minced your onions and garlic, chopped up your two tomatoes and grated your ginger, it’s a straightforward fry to the end!

Oh, and don’t forget to put your rice on while you prep the Chana Masala!

Chana Masala – Take Two!

What follows is the original post I wrote when I first made Chana Masala in 2011:

Over a week ago, I decided to make some Indian inspired food.  I had that craving, that physical *need*, for curry, and I didn’t want to order in. So, instead, I made this:

 

Mmmm, chana masala!

My initial attempt to make chana masala went extremely well. If you have never made Indian food before, as was the case with me, I would recommend this as a starter dish.  It was honestly incredibly easy, straightforward and even after freezing and reheating, it continues to be delicious.

The only problem I had is that the recipe I found online called for ingredients I didn’t have on hand and that I couldn’t find: armchoor powder, cumin seeds and a hot green chili pepper (these are around…there just weren’t any at the two grocery stores I visited).  So I simply left them out and hoped for the best.  As I say, I lucked out…the dish turned out quite lovely…although I wonder how much better it would have been had I been able to find all the ingredients.  Ah well, that’s just a reason to make it again!

Click here for the recipe I used or scroll to the bottom of the post.

Everything about this recipe was straightforward and easy…the most complex part is the preparation.  Well, for me that is.  I still take a long time to chop/mince/and otherwise prepare my ingredients.

But once the preparation part is over…this recipe is beyond simple.  Start by sauteeing your onions and garlic.

Once your onions are tender and browning, add the coriander, cumin (not the roasted cumin…considering I didn’t have any anyway…), cayenne and turmeric.

At this point, the fragrance of the mixture is awesome although it’s quite dry.  But that’s okay, moisture is coming!  Stir the dry mixture just enough to fully cover the onions and garlic, I think I stirred barely 30 seconds, and then add the tomatoes.

At this point, I added a small splash of water to up the moisture just a bit.  Cook the tomatoes until they begin to brown.  It is at that point you add the chickpeas, water, and remaining spices.

Stir it up until well mixed and then cover and allow to cook for about 10 minutes.  In that time, the above mixture turns into this:

Final step? Uncover and add the grated ginger.
At this point, I re-covered the dish and allowed it to sit on Low for an extra 5-10 minutes as I was waiting for the other portion of my meal to cook, so as long as you keep an eye on the moisture, you can allow it to cook a little longer.

So there you have it.  So easy, so straightforward, so yummy, and hey, so good for you! 😉

CHANA MASALA

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon amchoor powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 6 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

Ingredients I didn’t have but which were called for:

  • 2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced (I simply decided against the chili, not wanted a dish that was too spicy)

To see the original recipe w/instructions for the above missing ingredients, visit: www.food.com/recipe/channa-masala-17471

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add onions and garlic and sauté over a medium heat until browned (3-5 minutes).
  3. Turn heat to medium-low.
  4. Add the coriander, cumin (not the roasted cumin), cayenne and turmeric.
  5. Stir for a few seconds.
  6. Add the tomatoes.
  7. Cook the tomatoes until browned lightly.
  8. Add chickpeas and a cup of water and stir.
  9. Add paprika, garam masala, salt and lemon juice.
  10. Cook covered for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the cover add the ginger.
  12. Stir and cook uncovered for 30 seconds.

Dal Daal Dahl…Call it what you want, it was delicious!


So, I have broken a rule of food blogging.  I have waited too long to write this post and now the details of my preparation elude me.  I’ll do my best to include everything I did…but perhaps I’ll just have to make this dish again! *wink*

Along with my Chana Masala, I attempted a version of Dal.  I discovered the recipe in Mark Bittman’s new cookbook and I found it be quite easy to prepare and deliciously flavourful.

I followed the recipe fairly accurately, but I replaced a few spices and added some vegetables…all based on what I found in my kitchen at the time.

Click here for the recipe I used or scroll to the bottom of the post.

One thing I really liked about making this dish is that I didn’t have to worry about over simmering it!  Well, okay, had I left it on the burner for a notable length of time, I suppose it may have been ruined but, based on the recipe, a little over-simmering wasn’t worrisome.  It was meant to be a hearty stew type dish with all the flavours mixed well and all the veggies well softened.  My veggies turned out to be a little over-tender, but served over rice, that didn’t seem to matter very much.

Preparing my ingredients

So, to go off on a tangent for a moment….I have to say, one thing I have noticed about my cooking is that the noted preparation times DO NOT apply to me.
I generally choose recipes based on ingredients and what I’m in the mood to work with…but at the same time, I usually cast a quick glance at the preparation time so I can plan ahead.  Unfortunately, the prep times listed with most of the recipes I have attempted are obviously applicable to people with killer knife skills and the ability to stir/mix/slice and dice simultaneously.
This recipe was written with a preparation of 40 minutes “largely unattended”.  For me, that translated into almost two hours of work. I’m hopeful that as my knife skills improve, my prep time will go down….assuming that my knife skills are the only thing holding me back… 😉
And is it just me, or is Kitchen Multi-tasking a completely different animal than general Life Multi-tasking??? I’m a Capricorn.  I can organize, plan and multi-task with the best of them, but put me in a kitchen with utensils, ingredients and instructions and all hell breaks loose!  Don’t get me wrong…it’s fun hell…it really is *grin* but I feel much less in control when I’m in the kitchen trying to prepare a meal that contains more than one part than I do in the middle of a committee meeting while answering calls, texts, emails, planning fundraisers. simultaneously taking notes and leading the discussion!
Maybe I just have to learn how to let go?
Anyway…moving on to my Dal/Daal/Dahl prep….it started pretty simply…Heated my oil and butter, then added the garlic and ginger, allowing them to saute for a minute or two.
Next, I added the chopped onions, allowing them to saute until tender and translucent…just on *this* side of browning.
Next step…add all your chopped vegetables….I used squash, zucchini, cauliflower and eggplant…and lightly saute them, stirring regularly.  I don’t have a picture of this step but it’s pretty straightforward.  By sauteeing them just a bit, I found the flavours are heightened.  I then added the lentils, as well as the spices (pepper, curry, masala and chili) and stirred the mixture until it was coated and fragrant.  This only took a minute or two.
Next, add water until all is covered by about 2 inches.
Bring the mixture just to a boil and then reduce heat and allow to simmer for approx 30 to 40 minutes.  The goal is for everything to tenderize and soften.  After half an hour or so, my Dal looked like this:
So, aside from a good amount of chopping and mincing, this dish truly is incredibly easy.  Lovely served on a bed of rice and, for the record, it also freezes and thaws well for a future lunch!


DAL


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, more as needed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup cubed eggplant
  • 1 cup cubed zucchini
  • 1-2 cups cubed squash
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp Indian Masala spice mix (this was a spice mix I had on hand)
  • 1 dried mild chile, optional
  • 1 cup dried brown or red lentils
  • salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Once heated and the butter is melted, add the onion, ginger, and garlic.  Cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes or so.
  2. Turn up the heat to med-high.  Add your various chopped vegetables (and a little more oil if sticking is a problem) and saute until browned.
  3. Add the remaining spices you are using…I had chili flakes and a spice mixture called Indian Masala…as well as a lot of black pepper and the curry powder.
  4. Add the lentils and enough water to cover everything by about 2 inches.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat so that the mixture continues to lightly bubble.
  5. Cover and allow to simmer.  Stir occasionally and add water if needed.
  6. Cook until tender, anywhere from 30-45 minutes.
  7. Add salt and adjust spices to taste.

NOTE: Although this recipe came from a book, I have made a few minor changes based on what I had on hand.  If you would like the original recipe, you can find it in The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman, p. 362-363.  I used the “Quickest Dal with Lots of Vegetables” version at the bottom of page 363.


Chana Masala-ing my way into cooking Indian food


Over a week ago, I decided to make some Indian inspired food.  I had that craving, that physical *need*, for curry, and I didn’t want to order in. So, instead, I made this:

Mmmm, chana masala!

My initial attempt to make chana masala went extremely well. If you have never made Indian food before, as was the case with me, I would recommend this as a starter dish.  It was honestly incredibly easy, straightforward and even after freezing and reheating, it continues to be delicious.

The only problem I had is that the recipe I found online called for ingredients I didn’t have on hand and that I couldn’t find: armchoor powder, cumin seeds and a hot green chili pepper (these are around…there just weren’t any at the two grocery stores I visited).  So I simply left them out and hoped for the best.  As I say, I lucked out…the dish turned out quite lovely…although I wonder how much better it would have been had I been able to find all the ingredients.  Ah well, that’s just a reason to make it again!

Click here for the recipe I used or scroll to the bottom of the post.

Everything about this recipe was straightforward and easy…the most complex part is the preparation.  Well, for me that is.  I still take a long time to chop/mince/and otherwise prepare my ingredients.

But once the preparation part is over…this recipe is beyond simple.  Start by sauteeing your onions and garlic.

Once your onions are tender and browning, add the coriander, cumin (not the roasted cumin…considering I didn’t have any anyway…), cayenne and turmeric.

At this point, the fragrance of the mixture is awesome although it’s quite dry.  But that’s okay, moisture is coming!  Stir the dry mixture just enough to fully cover the onions and garlic, I think I stirred barely 30 seconds, and then add the tomatoes.

At this point, I added a small splash of water to up the moisture just a bit.  Cook the tomatoes until they begin to brown.  It is at that point you add the chickpeas, water, and remaining spices.

Stir it up until well mixed and then cover and allow to cook for about 10 minutes.  In that time, the above mixture turns into this:

Final step? Uncover and add the grated ginger.
At this point, I re-covered the dish and allowed it to sit on Low for an extra 5-10 minutes as I was waiting for the other portion of my meal to cook, so as long as you keep an eye on the moisture, you can allow it to cook a little longer.

So there you have it.  So easy, so straightforward, so yummy, and hey, so good for you! 😉


CHANA MASALA

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 6 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

Ingredients I didn’t have but which were called for:

  • 2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon amchoor powder
  • 1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced

To see the original recipe w/instructions for the above missing ingredients, visit: www.food.com/recipe/channa-masala-17471

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add onions and garlic and sauté over a medium heat until browned (3-5 minutes).
  3. Turn heat to medium-low.
  4. Add the coriander, cumin (not the roasted cumin), cayenne and turmeric.
  5. Stir for a few seconds.
  6. Add the tomatoes.
  7. Cook the tomatoes until browned lightly.
  8. Add chickpeas and a cup of water and stir.
  9. Add paprika, garam masala, salt and lemon juice.
  10. Cook covered for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the cover add the ginger.
  12. Stir and cook uncovered for 30 seconds.

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