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Archive for the ‘Indian’ Category

This is a guest blog post from my friend Lulu (@lulup). I have posted it in honour of:

a) those who love interesting curries, and

b) people who are baffled by the packets of interesting things in Asian food stores – but feel that they must be able make something delicious if only one knew what they are for.

Lulu's chana masala

Lulu's chana masala (chickpea curry)

And over to Lulu…

Chana masala curry mix

Picture of chana masala curry mix

Channa masala is also known as chhole batura, pronounced chho-le. It’s one of the easiest vegetarian dish you could make – with the help of a certain special indian chhole masala. We cook it when we want some wholesome home food and we don’t have much in the fridge. You usually have dried chickpeas stored in your cupboard somewhere near the red lentils (which is also one of our favourite meals on a cold and rainy day). I use a chhloe masala spice mix from a specialist Indian store.  My favorite brand is MDH (photo below). The spice mix is not hard to make, but often the ingredients are hard to come by and you don’t need too much for one pot. So I use this mix as its closest to making it fresh.

I add fresh garlic and ginger to the recipe which is possibly not traditional, but is how I saw my mother making this curry as a little girl.

2 tblsp Chhole masala
1 large Onion
4-5 garlic cloves
1inch piece of fresh ginger
1 tblsp of oil (vegetable or olive)
2 large tomatoes, or one tin of canned tomatoes
250 gms of dried chickpeas –  you can use the canned ones here too but will need two tins
1 whole green chilli
A bunch of fresh coriander
A pinch of baking soda if using dried chickpeas – apparently makes it softer faster. You can probably do without it or use it while you’re soaking it.

Soak your chickpeas overnight (or if you have a pressure cooker, you only need to soak about an hr and then cook it in the pressure cooker with the rest of the process). Don’t throw out the water. You will use it in your cooking.

Chop up your onions, garlic and ginger (leave some of the ginger to add at the end as well). I usually cut the ginger into thin flat slices. Slice your green chilli down the middle (if you don’t want it hot, remove the seeds) –  one little chili shouldn’t heat up your pot of chickpeas!

[note from Caroline – Lulu has a fearsome tolerance for heat but one chilli should indeed be fine. I have had this curry and it is delicious and not particularly hot.]

Heat oil in a thick based pot. Add onions, garlic, ginger and the chilli. Meanwhile chop up tomatoes and coriander. Once your onion, garlic & ginger are nice and soft and almost brown – add the tomatoes – stir well.

Add 2 tablespoons of the chhole masala – stir well. Then add in your soaked chickpeas, stir it up – then add the rest of the water it was soaked in.

Then cover and cook for at least an hour in the pot. If you’re using a pressure cooker, 30 mins will do. If using canned chickpeas reduce the time by 1/3.

Once its cooked through, add the coriander – leave some for garnishing. Serve with hot rice or have it with naan bread or just by itself.

Wholesome and tasty and healthy! Done!

p.s. if you want to make your own chickpea spice, there are heaps of recipes of the same on the internet. I feel its not worth making it unless you make this curry often. Also this recipe and process can also be found on the back of the masala box.

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