This is my absolute favorite dish to order when we're at an Indian restaurant. I tried it for the first time in grad school and have been hooked ever since. It's a lovely stewed combination of chick peas, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices that are beyond my imagination. This homemade version is good - flavorful, spicy and filling - but it's not exactly up to par with my favorite place. I'm not sure what's missing, though. I'll keep looking around and trying new versions until I hit that right note. After all, look what I have to feed!
I snagged this recipe from Smitten Kitchen (where else?). It had more of a sour tang than I'm used to with chana masala, which I think Deb likes, but I wasn't all that crazy about. It could be my altered taste buds, though!
It's really easy to make, and it simmered away on the stove while I dealt with our favorite trouble-maker. She graduated from obedience school this weekend, but don't let that happy innocent face fool you. She's crafty like ice is cold.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced (I omitted)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon amchoor powder (omitted. Used lemon juice instead)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced) (used a whole lemon to swap for the amchoor powder)
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, amchoor (if using it), paprika and garam masala.
Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.
Eat up or put a lid on it and reheat it when needed. Curries such as this reheat very well, later or or in the days that follow, should it last that long.