11 July 2011

Chana Masala (what my curry dreams are made of)

I've mentioned before that I once had a curry fear.

So, so silly. Really. I made one curry - my first curry - and the rest was history. Hello, brave new [curry] world!

This is maybe the best thing in the world. Ok, that might be, possibly, maybe, a little dramatic. Whatever. Make it and you'll agree!

Don't be afraid of curry, it's your friend -- especially if you are a vegetarian. This was so super easy, and really packed full of flavour. Maybe the best part is that it's DIRT CHEAP. Come on! My little curry heart died and went to curry heaven.

The garam masala turns this into a warm, comforty dish. Don't skip it! If you don't have any on hand, don't fret... just use some ground cinnamon and nutmeg in its place.

Serve with basmati rice, greek yogurt and chopped coriander:

Mix it up and it becomes a creamy orange wonder!

Chana Masala

abt 150g dried chickpeas (alternatively, use 1 can tinned chickpeas)
2/3 medium white onion, chopped
splash sunflower oil
1 bay leaf
3/4 tea cumin
1/2 tea ground coriander
1/2 tea garam masala
1/2 can good-quality cherry tomatoes (these are my favourite!)
1/4 tea chilli powder
1/2 tea turmeric
splash white wine vinegar
sea salt to taste - more or less depending on salt content of your tinned tomatoes

Soak chickpeas overnight in plenty of water - they will triple in volume so make sure to use a large bowl. They need to soak for at least 8 hours, so you could also set them on the counter in the morning before you leave for work if you want to cook them that night.  Drain and rinse, then place in a saucepan with fresh water. Boil for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until chickpeas are fully cooked. Drain and set aside.

In a saute pan over medium heat, heat up the sunflower oil. Add onion, cumin, coriander, garam masala, and bay leaf. Saute unil onion is soft and browning.

Add tomatoes to the onion mixture. If using cherry tomatoes, you may want to halve them with a knife first - for me, this a more desirable texture. Add chilli powder, turmeric, vinegar and salt. Stir to make a uniform mixture, then add chickpeas. Simmer until heated through. Remove bay leaf.

Serve with basmati rice, a dollop of greek yogurt and some chopped coriander. I like to mix the yogurt through the chana masala to yeild a nice, creamy curry.

Serves 2.

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