Sunday, May 09, 2010

Chana Masala

From: Smitten Kitchen, though she adapted from Madhur Jaffrey

Ugh. I totally screwed this up, and then tried to "fix" it by adding more of everything else, but in the end I have a giGANtic pot of something that still tastes not-right. BUT, it was tasting pretty darn good before I screwed it up, so I'm giving you the recipe with the instruction to don't pour spices directly over the pot. Basically, I almost always eyeball measurements, except when baking. I followed the recipe fairly closely (although, without measuring per se), and it tasted really good - except then I thought "oh, I'll just add a little more garam masala and then it will be great!" And then, when I intended to sprinkle just a bit more into the pot, a big lump of spice fell out of the container and into the pot (like, a 2 Tbsp clump). I should have tried to scoop it out, but I didn't, and it really wasn't good. Then I added more chickpeas and more tomatoes, and that still didn't help much. I added some spinach, some more cumin, more of this and that. But really, it still just tastes like "holy garam masala batman!" Sigh. Oh well. Prior to the garam masala incident, it was tasting really good. I should have stopped while I was ahead.

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 didn't have this)
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 (see Smitten's note) (I omitted)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala (sigh)
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small (I used a can of crushed tomatoes)
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) (see note; Smitten used a whole lemon to swap for the amchoor powder, which I followed)

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.


Kelly said...

Awww...I did that once with curry powder. It was so bad that we just had to throw it out because it could NOT be saved. Maybe if you added more tomatoes to it...

Love me some chana masala, tho. I even bought chanas at the food coop so I could make it from scratch.

Alissa said...

Actually, when I had it for lunch today it was ok. Either the flavors mellowed as it simmered on the stove, or all the extra stuff I added to balance it out actually worked, or something. I was expecting to have to suffer through my lunch (because I refuse to throw out such a massive amount of food) but it actually was pretty good. Phew.

gwen said...

It's funny, I never measure spices either and then for some reason I did randomly the other day, and it turns out I have probably been overspicing everything for a very very long time. Hm.

Anyway, glad it turned out OK. That recipe is in the Madhur Jaffrey cookbook that Shannon gave me, but I don't think I've tried the original version yet.

Alissa said...

If you think it tastes good, I don't think that's considering over-spicing. I think I tend to under-spice, so I'm trying to push myself to use more, but then this is what happens when I do that, so......

hefk said...

glad it turned out ok the next day! it's weird how this week is bringing some recipe overlap. We are scheduled to have chana masala this week too! I'll try measuring spices this time in honor of you and Gwen.

Kelly said...

Yeah, I don't measure either except in rare cases. In fact, I made an indian dish today with sweet potatoes and cauliflower and thought of you as I was sprinkling in the garam masala. :>