Monday, February 18, 2013

Chana Masala

There is something about the flavors in this masala that make my heart flip flop.  The flavors are rich, warm and comforting and my house smelled so good while I was making it.  (I actually made it the day before my family ate it and was so tempted to have it for dinner the night I made it.  It smelled almost too good to wait.)  I really, really love this and was so happy that there was just enough left over for my lunch the next day.    

Chana Masala

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garam masala, plus more for serving
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed under the side of a knife
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for serving
Pinch of cayenne
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt (optional)
Lemon wedges (optional), for serving

Pour the olive oil into a Dutch oven and warm it over medium heat.  Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply caramelized.

Reduce heat to low.  Add the garlic, cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garam masala, cardamom pods, and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds.  Add 1/4 cup water and stir to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Cook until the water has evaporated completely.  Pour in the juice form the can of tomatoes, followed by the tomatoes themselves, using your hands to break them apart as you add them to the pan.

Raise the heat to medium, and bring the pot to a gentle boil.  Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, add the cilantro and cayenne, and continue to cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.  Add the chickpeas, stirring well, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons water and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons water and cook until it is absorbed, a few minutes more.  Taste, and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
Stir in yogurt, if you like.  Or leave it out, and serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

*I chose not to stir in the yogurt, but served it on the side for dolloping.

*When I made this for dinner for my family, I served it over rice.  For lunch the next day, no rice just warm soft pita bread for dipping and scooping.

Recipe from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

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