Tuesday, January 10, 2006
It smelled like one of my favourite restaurants in my kitchen last night. I'm tickled pink that my new gift produced something resembling a presentation from a Indian Restaurant and not something with curry powder that is called "Indian". Dont' get me wrong. I like the quick ease of using a pre-made, store-bought curry powder in things like macaroni and cheese to give it a nice pick-me-up. But last night I had a revelation when using fresh ingredients like fresh green chiles, crushed cardamom pods, fresh ginger, chopped garlic and whole fennel seeds.
For Christmas I got a book called "Easy Indian" by Das Sreedharan. Last night was the first time I decided to use one of the recipes in there. I now know I will be going back to use more. What I made was a chickpea curry. With lots of fresh spices and slowly cooking onions until soft and golden. Now I do have a confession to make. My eyes obviously glanced too quickly at the "fresh tomatoes, chopped" but luckily I had some canned diced tomaotes. Now obviously canned won't replace fresh chopped but I think in the winter it will do in a pinch since all we get here are pink pingpong balls with inner pink fuzz barely resembling their juicy, red summer cousins. I think it was the only substitution I was forced to make. My only "hmmmm" is that the ingredient list doesn't mention what size of onions you are supposed to use!
Without further ado is the recipe by the creative Das Sreedharan from my new cookbook:
Chick pea Curry
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2.5 cm (1 inch) piece of cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods, crushed
pinch of fennel seeds
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2.5 cm (1 inch) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 green chiles, finely chopped ( I didn't seed them. It left a low constant burn :D)
3 onions (I assume medium), peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp tomato paste
4 tomatoes chopped (I used two cans of diced tomatoes with the juice)
2x410g cans of chickpeas (we have bigger cans here so I used 1 1/2 cans of them)
200mL (7 fl oz) coconut milk
sea salt (yes I actually have the real thing from Brittany, ground by my own self)
4 tbsp chopped coriander (also known as cilantro) leaves to serve.
(I know it seems like a long ingredient list but bear with me)
1 Heat the oil in a sauce pan. Add the cinnamon stick, sloves, cardamom, fennel seeds, garlic, ginger and chillies. Saute for 1 minute. Add the onions and fry over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until they are soft and golden
2 Add the turmeric, chili powder, ground coriander, garam masala, tomato puree, and salt. Mix well, then add the chopped tomatoes (or canned, juice and all) and 600 ml (1 pint) of water. Bring to a boil and add the chickpeas. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3 Lower the heat and add the coconut milk. Simmer gently for 5 minutes or until the milk is well-blended with the spices and chickpeas. Remove the pan from the heat, scatter with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.
I didn't add so much of the water with the tomatoes since there was a lot of juice from the cans.
I always add a bit more of each powdered spice for a little more kick and because some of the spices available to me don't always have that much oomph in them.
I served mine with Thai Jasmine rice and broiled eggplant last night.