You may recall that one of my "ambitions" for 2011 was to learn to cook Indian food. Dish number one was actually done in early January. I decided to ease into Indian cooking slowly, with this recipe by a white girl from Oklahoma, a state widely known for an entirely different ethnicity of "Indians." Despite this, Molly has not failed me in other recipes so I felt good about starting this project with her Chana Masala recipe. (Also, my Indian cookbooks hadn't arrived yet. I now own three: this doorstop, plus two lovely Madhur Jaffrey books, this one and this one.)
I hate to be a spoiler about this, but the Chana Masala turned out excellently. It's incredible how velvety the tomatoes get in this process - like nothing I have ever eaten before. Also, Molly indicates that you should garnish with whole milk yogurt but I took one look at the nutrition label on the whole milk yogurt at the store and decided to take my chances with 2%. (Honestly, you might as well just use heavy whipping cream if you are going to use whole milk yogurt. Good lord.) 2% Greek yogurt was perfectly delicious and what I will use from now on.
And now for the photojournalism:
|Molly says to saute the onions until they begin to blacken, so I did. At this point, I am slightly worried that the whole thing is going to taste like burnt onions, but I proceed anyway.|
|Deglazing the pan. The spices have already been added and this already smells delicious. Neighbors beginning to hate me.|
|Crushing tomatoes with my bare hands. I am strong like bull. |
|Chickpeas added. Simmering underway. We're in the home stretch.|
|Rats! Burned like an idiot who forgot to put on sunscreen.|
Despite totally charring the bottom of the pan, I give two thumbs up, five stars, and an Oscar to the Chana Masala for Best Vegetarian Entree. It could even be vegan if you leave out the 2% Greek yogurt, but I think it's worth it to add it. It really does take this simple dish to another level. I hate writing "another level" because it is so trite (It kicks it up a notch! BAM!!) but it's true. It does. You should add it.
Here's how good this was: I couldn't wait to eat it. I was excited for the remaining lunches and dinners when I had Chana Masala. You know something is good when it makes the lunch you brought from home exciting to eat. One bit of caution, though. If you happen to get one of the cardamom pods in your bite of Chana Masala, do NOT eat it. Trust me. Nothing good comes from eating one of those things.