Chana Punjabi

>> Friday, March 13, 2009

Ughhh. I'm sick. I always catch whatever comes around and never miss the latest virus epidemic. So it's a Friday and I called in sick and thought about what to feed myself for the rest of the day. I went to view my daily food blogs subscriptions and saw this recipe on NY Times cooked by an amazing foodblogger. This recipe comes from Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez who owns an Indian restaurant in NYC called Lassi.

I don't usually frequent Indian restaurants, in fact I don't think I've ever been to an Indian restaurant in Sydney before (unless you count those Indian stalls in the food courts). I also don't make Indian food at home too, because I am always intimidated by all the spices to use and what goes with what... However today when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. Probably because I haven't had chickpeas for more than 5 years?! Mad I know! And I've never cooked with chickpeas all my life...well today's the day!

I made a trip to my local Coles and purchased the most spices I've ever bought in my life - tumeric, ground coriander, paprika and garam masala (which is a mixture of other herbs and spices like nutmeg, fennel, cardamon etc.). Now, I don't know my spices at all...the only spices I'm familiar with are probably ground ginger, nutmeg (for gingerbread) and basil. I also had to get jalapeno which I've never bought before as it is not part of my regular diet. Wooo, I'm chartering into the unknown today :)

This recipe takes around 1 1/2 hours to make, so while waiting for it to simmer in the pot, I made myself a pizza with so much real (non shredded) mozarella cheese that it covered the whole pizza. Yuummmo. I can never cook when I'm too hungry.

So was this dish worth the time and effort?! Absolutely! It tasted sooo good with all the spices coming around so beautifully and that extra kick from the chili goes so well with the wonderfully soft hearty chickpeas. In fact, I had a huge bowl of rice to go with it right after my pizza. I had it again for dinner and wouldn't mind having it again for the rest of the weekend!

The below recipes is from NY Times and serves 4.

Chana Punjabi

1 tablespoon canola oil or other vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 small Thai bird chili, chopped

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon salt, or as needed

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

Cooked rice for serving (optional).

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat oil and add onion. Sauté until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and chili, and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook until tomatoes are very soft, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

2. Purée mixture in blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pan and place over medium heat. Add paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, coriander, the garam masala, turmeric and lemon juice. Add chickpeas and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

3. Cover and simmer until sauce is thick and chickpeas are soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir pan about every 10 minutes, adding water as needed (up to 1 1/2 cups) to prevent burning. When ready to serve, sauce should be thick. If necessary, uncover pan and allow sauce to reduce for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until desired consistency. Stir in cilantro, adjust salt as needed and serve with cooked rice, if desired

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