Punjabi Chickpea Curry – CHANNA MASALA

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So for the next 9 days I am vegetarian. It’s a Hindu thing.

Okay I’ll elaborate.  The Hindu festival of “Navratri” takes place over the next nine days. It’s referred to by the elders as an “auspicious occasion” and one that symbolises the triumph of good over evil! It’s also a time where celebrations are expressed in the form of colour, family reunions, force feeding of Indian sweets by random aunties, dancing and eating (very possibly followed by more dancing and eating). Although the “eating” comes in the form of vegetarian food, it’s not really a problem for me as:

a) I’m not a huge carnivore anyway
b) I was a vegetarian for 3 of my teen years (I gave up when I moved to America-damn the USA with their tasty junk food that looks awful but tastes so darned good. I’m looking at you Mr pancakes topped with crispy bacon & maple syrup!
c) There is no shortage of delish Indian vegetarian dishes

It is slightly more of an issue for my other half however, as his dreams of kick-starting the week with Murgh Masala Monday & Tandoori Chicken Tuesday, sadly no longer exist. It is for this reason that I have decided to cook up some vegetarian dishes this week that deliver an extra portion of dishoom – hopefully easing the burn of the lack of “meatiness” in the kitchen. 

Today’s recipe is spicy, filling, comforting and moreish – I don’t know how many more adjectives I need to list about this dish before it screams out MAKE ME! Enjoy and do let me know your thoughts. Oh and p.s . Happy National Curry Week!

Punjabi Chickpea Curry
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup chickpeas, raw
  2. pinch of baking soda
  3. 4 tbsp olive oil
  4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 3” cinnamon stick (optional)
  6. 2 cloves (optional)
  7. 3 peppercorns (optional)
  8. 2 bay leaves (optional)
  9. 1 black cardamom (optional)
  10. 1 large onion, peeled
  11. 1 birds eye chilli (optional)
  12. 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  13. 2" ginger, washed
  14. 2 tsp salt
  15. 1 tsp garam masala
  16. 1 tsp paprika
  17. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  18. 1/2 tsp amchur (mango powder)
  19. 2 plum tomatoes & 2 tbsp juice
  20. handful fresh coriander
Instructions
  1. Soak chickpeas and baking soda in water overnight
  2. Wash and rinse thoroughly
  3. Place chickpeas in a pressure cooker. Cover with water until the water level is 1 1/2" above the chickpeas. Add 1 tsp of salt and place lid on carefully. Cook for 12 minutes after the first whistle. Turn off heat. Allow to de-pressurise naturally before removing lid.
  4. If you do not have a pressure cooker, place chickpeas with salt in a pan of water (same water level as above) and bring to boil. Now reduce the heat and allow to simmer until tender and cooked all the way through. This can take between 35-45 minutes. (If the water reduces before they have cooked, add more boiling water to the pan).
  5. To make the masala, coarsely grind onions in a processor and place in a bowl. Now coarsely grind the chilli, ginger and garlic.
  6. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Once hot add the cumin alongside the cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf and black cardamom.
  7. When they begin to splatter in the oil, add the ground onions. Add 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 4 minutes, stirring continuously.
  8. When they turn slightly translucent, add the ground chilli, ginger and garlic mixture. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the masala turns completely golden.
  9. Now reduce the heat and add the remaining salt, garam masala, paprika, turmeric and amchur powder and mix well. Now add the plum tomatoes and juice and mash into the masala. When the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the chickpeas and 1 cup of water and bring to boil and cook for 5-6 minutes on high heat.
  10. Check for salt and adjust accordingly. Serve with hot chapatis, naan or basmati rice!
Notes
  1. You can add or reduce water depending on how dry or wet you would like the dish to be. Some like it to be wetter if serving with rice or drier if serving with breads.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Indian Chick Pea Curry (Cholay)


This is a classic North Indian recipe and tastes awesome with jeera (cumin seed) rice, chapatis or naan. Great as a vegetarian alternative at a dinner party. If you’ve ever tried this at a restaurant and liked it, I guarantee you will enjoy this recipe 100 times better!

Serves 2-4 What we need:

  • 1 cup raw or 1/2 can cooked chick peas (also called garbanzo beans)
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 whole diced onion
  • 2 cloves fresh grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 can diced plum tomatoes (or 1 diced fresh tomato)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika/chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • Handful of freshly chopped coriander

How we do:

  • If you are using chick peas out of a bag, soak them overnight. Cook in pressure cooker or large pot until tender( usually about 10-12 in pressure cooker). Add a little salt.
  • For the masala, in a pan heat the oil and butter on medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds.
  • When they begin to sizzle add the onion. Once golden add the ginger and garlic.
  • Cook for a couple more minutes. Then add the salt, garam masala, coriander powder and chilly powder. Mix well.
  • Then add the tomatoes.
  • Mix well and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Now time to add the cooked chick peas from the pressure cooker! Mix with the masala and add 1 cup of water. Bring to boil on high heat. Add the yogurt and mix.
  • Sprinkle on the fresh coriander and you’re done.
    BALLE BALLE!