Monday, October 11, 2010

Channa Masala

Diwali is coming in one month!  Faithful readers will recall that last year, there were two Diwali posts, and they were among the first to be published on this blog.  I am a celebratist, and in preparation for this year's festivities, I've decided to publish Indian recipes in the month leading up to the holiday on November 5.  It is my solemn vow to post at least one Indian recipe a week to help you plan your festivities.

Channa Masala* is one of my favorite foods.  It is so warm and satisfying, and the chick peas have a gentle nuttiness that is the perfect complement to the tangy sauce.  It doesn't have to be super spicy, but when made well, channa masala has a lot of flavor.  This recipe is a perfect balance of tangy, spicy, salty creamy goodness.  This recipe might be the best channa masala I have ever made in my life--so get cooking!

Channa Masala
Takes 2 hours (plus overnight soaking)
Makes 6 (large) servings

2 cups dried chick peas, soaked overnight
2 small onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 inch piece of ginger, skinned and minced (an equal amount to the garlic)
1 green chile, halved lengthwise
1 stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
pepper corns (about 7)
1/2 tsp. Garam masala
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (or 1 large tomato, chopped)
1 Tbsp. salt

Drain the pre-soaked chick peas, rinse, and set aside.

In a large, heavy pot, saute the garlic and ginger on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, or until they become translucent and just start to brown.  Add the onions and one half of the green chile and saute some more so that the onions are translucent and are just starting to brown.  Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, pepper corns and garam masala and saute until really fragrant.  Add tomato paste, and saute until the oil becomes red (if you use fresh tomatoes it will take longer).  Add the chick peas, stir together for a few minutes, and then add 6 cups water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

When the chick peas are soft, add the second half of the green chile.  Check for salt and spice.  Add more garam masala if you like.  When ready to serve, top with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

Channa masala only gets better with time.  So make it earlier in the day and let it sit at room temperature, heating it up again just before eating.  Or even make it the day before and let it sit in the refrigerator over night.

This is great with aloo parathas, Cracked-wheat chapatis, or just rice.  Enjoy!

 Sorry for the bad pictures!  But I just had to post!

*  Channa Masala is also called chole.  It's also spelled chana masala, but I think that spelling is a bad transliteration.  But I'm no expert!

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