Chana Masala

{ Thursday, February 18, 2010 }
Having just moved to New York City two weeks ago, I’ve had to tweak my spending habits. Gone are the days of vanilla lattes from Starbucks and impromptu purchases of Marie Clare and Glamour during my waits for the train. I’ve also had to kick my tendency of thinking, “oh, I’ll just grab something from that vending machine/street cart/cute bistro,” when hunger strikes. To try to save money in one of the most expensive cities, I’ve started making a more concerted effort to plan ahead when it comes to meals. My weekly grocery list focuses food that is easy to make, easy to eat at desk, and, more importantly, delicious.

Smitten Kitchen recently posted a Chana Masala recipe. The pictures alone made my mouth water. Although the initial investment in spices was steep (I might have inadvertently cringed as I slid my $20 over to the cashier at Spice Corner, it was well worth it. My formerly empty pantry is now beginning to fill with cooking essentials, and the spices gave an authentic heat to my first attempt cooking an Indian meal.

Chana Masala (serves 4-6)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 tablespoon oil (I used sesame)
2 small onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and diced
1 tablespoon coriander
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon amchur powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 15 ounce can whole tomatoes, diced, juices reserved
2/3 cup water
2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas
salt, to taste
1/2 lemon, juiced
Rice or yogurt, for serving

Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno pepper, cooking over medium heat until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium low. Add spices, and cook for a minute, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and juices, then water and chickpeas. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, uncovered. Stir in salt and lemon juice. Serve over rice or topped with plain yogurt.

My trusty wooden spoon, after meeting turmeric for the first time.


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