What are your best Chana/Chickpea curry recipes?
I took a break from making curries and made nothing but soup for most of january but I made a curry last night and it's easily the best i've made so far. Very pleased with the result. And I made a ton too, enough to bring to work and eat at home probably through Thursday.. I love cooking it up on Sundays!
Since I don't really follow “amount” or recipe instructions, here's my attempt at formalizing the process:
For the hefty part:
Pre soaked some Chana. I had a mix of the dark tan Chana as well as the Green Chana. Internet tells me they have different flavors, I can't tell the diff and once they are soaked and cooked, the colors are not much different. I probably used 3 -4 full cups of pre-soaked chana. That's A LOT of Chana so when making this for yourself you may want to half this recipe. I left it out soaked over night.. I don't know how long the soak ought to be.. i've done as short as 4 hrs.. but see no harm in 12.
-Diced 3 medium Asian potatoes. I don't know the name, they are dark purple skinned on the outside but light on the inside, slightly sweet, like a yam.. go where I found it for roughly .99 to 1.39 a pound.. so they are expensive for potatoes but have a really pleasant taste.
-Diced 1 really tremendous Parsnip. Parsnip is twice as expensive as carrot so rarely do I partake, but for grandiose recipes such as a curry making, I do partake.
-Chopped up 2/3rds a bunch stalk of celery
-Threw that all into a pressure cooker (yea you need a pressure cooker, not sure how other pots do with this), added enough water, probably 2/3rds full. It ended up being too much so I suggest you check halfway through the cook and if the chana are soft/edible and there's still lots of water, scoop most of it out.
For the Curry Sauce:
-Used olive oil and some green chillies to start the saute
-Blend one half a large head of onion, a couple cloves of garlic (I would have used a whole head if I had that much left), and a cubic inch of ginger. In retrospect I would have used more ginger. Other recipes say steep out the water from the blend before tossing into a saute pan but I threw it all in.
-Used half a 32 oz can of roasted/crushed tomatoes. I imagine any kind will suffice, I decided not to go with my instinct to get the cheapest kind and opted for the $3 one. Throw that into the sautee after the onion blend is cooked through. The internet advised me to wait until the onion mix browned.. Mine greened, i'm not sure why. Maybe from the ginger and chilli pepper? It was a very strange green but looked safe. Once all of it is heating, start dowsing it with spices. I added turmeric, coriander, a 'morrocan' spice mix that includes cinnamon and is a nice tint of brown, oregano, and a curry vegetable mix by a company called SHAN which is really great. I must have added a 3-4 tablespoons worth in total. Most recipes I see call for
Whichever order you started in, once the chana is soft enough in the pressure cooker to eat, and the water level is reduced dump the curry sauce in, reduce to a very low simmer, mix well and put the lid back on. I waited another 10-15 minutes, hopefully the result is a big mix of veggies and chana covered well in a boggy sauce.. as long as it's not too runny and there's plenty to coat the chickpeas, it's good.
I had it with brown jasmine rice. If you want to get exquisite you can add coconut milk into your dish.
I've had a version of this with kale and spinach before. I imagine collared greens would also be good. Finely chop and throw it all in.
Cost of the Meal:
As sort of an internal rebuttal against the refrain that exists out there in some strange reactivist circles that eating fresh home made foods is somehow more expensive than fast food options, I usually quantify the expenses of especially nice meals that I make. I didn't do so in detail for this meal but in summary:
If you are buying chana in poundage quantity (I got a 5lb bag for $5, if you can't find an indian grocer you might have to pay upwards of $2 a pound), the most expensive part of this meal are the 3 potatoes, the parsnip and the canned tomatoes. I doubt the totality of what went into this pot of food cost more than $5. And the version/quantity I made is easily enough for 8- 12 separate meals.
If you really wanna get frugal, substitute the asian potatoes for idaho potatoes (1/3rd the cost), carrots for parsnip (½ the cost), and regular cheap tomatoes you smash yourself (2/3rds - ½ the cost). You can even substitute white rice for jasmine rice but if you can find an asian market in your vicinity you shouldn't pay much more than $1 a pound for brown rice anyway, plus it's healthier.
My beef with the Whole Foods/Trader Joes model of grocers is it feeds the image of vegetarian based eating as this elitist activity resigned for people with disposable income and fine tastes. most of human history proves the opposite, eating grains, beans, roots, vegetables has been defined by the culinary traditions of poor people..
i'm just sayin