Monday, September 1, 2008

Indian Food: Chana Masala

The last time I tried to stretch myself and cook something unique, the Korean food turned out pretty bad, atleast in my opinion. However, I figure Indian food is in my reach, as I've seen Siva make it before. So I decided to start with a pretty simple dish, chana masala. It's basically just chickpeas in a stewed, spicy tomato sauce. To try something unique, I decided to try to make some homemade garlic naan as well.

The recipes I used were from, which is a great website because it includes videos as well. So I followed the naan recipe and made the dough, which as you can see is quite sticky. I don't cook bread often enough, so I'm never sure how the bread dough should be, but I managed to oil up my hands enough and knead the dough.

I let it rest about 2 hours and then shaped the naan, brushing some butter on, and putting some garlic on top.

I put it in a hot oven on the pizza stone and took them out when they looked done. They looked really nice and tasted awesome, but it tasted more like garlic bread than garlic naan. I think it was mostly the texture, but I'll have to try it again and see what's going on--still good though.

For the naan, I cut up a lot of garlic and used my new garlic press, which is quite useful. You can see it all below. For the chana masala, I cut up some on red onions.

In a pan, I heated some oil, and threw in some cumin seeds. After a few minutes, I threw in some garlic, just a little bit, and sauteed it in. Finally I threw in the onions.

After the onions cooked I threw in a can of diced tomatoes to cook down for a while.

While this was cooking, I made some sauce. I threw in a can of diced tomatoes, some chopped jalepenos, and some ginger paste into a blender. I almost never use jalapenos, but I learned that a) jalapenos can be pretty hot b) never ever touch your face or eyes after cutting a pepper without cleaning your hands very, very thoroughly.

After the tomatoes broke down, I threw in the sauce from the blender and half a can or so of tomato sauce to make it a little more liquidy. Then I threw in some indian spices, which I don't really recal at the moment, and finally the chickpeas. I went to an Indian supermarket to buy all the spices, and I gotta admit that spices there were sooo much cheaper than at a regular supermarket. It was about 20% the price. However, it's all in bags, and I need to get some jars to store all of it rather than regular tuperware, which is what I'm using now. Also, for the chickpeas, I soaked it for about 2 hours in water with some tea bags to give them a little better color.

I let this all stew for a while and voila.

Overall the Indian food was quite good. I'd consider it a relatively easy dish to make as well. Even the naan wasn't too hard, and I definitely want to try that again as I can't tell if I screwed something up or the recipe isn't that good because it definitely looks like naan. At any rate, it all tasted quite good and would be something I'd expect from an indian restaurant.

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