When dining out, you can usually count on my vote going to Thai or Indian food. Let's face it, American cuisine is largely not veggie friendly (or at very least mostly uninspiring), with menus often yielding only a couple of choices. So for heat-freak vegetarians like myself, veggie packed Indian and Thai curries reign supreme.
I've dabbled at home with Thai cooking with some success, but for some reason I have been reserved about cooking Indian curries. It might have (or definitely) had something to do with the inevitable long list of spices that comes with each recipe, most of which were not already in my pantry.
Well, since joining the food blogging community my pantry has changed quite a bit. This was thanks to being inspired by simpler dishes with a shorter list of spices to get me started, and also thanks to discovering a great international grocer down the road with an amazing supply of inexpensive spices. Over the last few months each time I went shopping I'd pick out one or two more spices to add to my collection, and now I am pretty well stocked.
I've had my eye on Lisa's Chana Masala for ages now, it just kept popping up everywhere! I've made this twice now in the past two weeks and my reservations about preparing Indian curries at home are quickly dissolving. If you are like I used to be, let me encourage you to start working on your pantry so that you can have Indian yummies at home, it is so very worth it!
Oh, and this is what happens when I photograph food on my bedroom floor next to my big window. Evie just wants to be near the action all the time. I do apologize if you don't find kitties and kitty paws as cute as I do, don't let that detract from this delicious dish!
(from Lisa's Kitchen)
1 1/4 cups of dried chickpeas
2 - 3 tablespoons of ghee or a mixture of butter and oil (or to make vegan, just use oil)
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
5 green or black cardamom pods
2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1/2 - 1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2 - 4 finely chopped hot red and green chilies
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 - 2 inch piece of ginger, grated or finely chopped
2 medium-large tomatoes, finely diced
juice from one small lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon of garam masala
Soak the chickpeas overnight in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 - 2 hours or until the chickpeas are buttersoft. Drain well and set aside. (I did this a day ahead)
Heat the butter and oil in a large pot. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds begin to pop and the cumin seeds begin to brown.
Throw in the onions, and stir and fry until they begin to brown. Add the ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne and turmeric to the pan and stir until the onions are well coated with the spices - about 1 minute. Then, add the fresh chilies, garlic and ginger. Stir and fry for a few minutes.
Next, add the tomatoes, half of the lemon juice and cook to thicken, about 10 minutes. Put the chickpeas into the tomato mixture, add the salt, some black pepper, half of the parsley, the remaining lemon juice and the garam masala. Cook for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors, adding a bit of water if necessary. The chickpeas should be fairly dry.
Remove the bay leaves if you are using whole ones, and the cinnamon stick. Stir in the remaining parsley and serve hot.