Saturday, February 17, 2007

Another Quick Dinner: Chana Masala, Sort-Of

I haven't felt much like cooking the past couple of days, so this is another quick one. Unfortunately, it relies pretty heavily on a canned store-bought sauce. It seems pretty widely available from what I can tell; my apologies if you can't get it where you live. (As an aside, this recipe looks pretty good if you can get your hands on some garam masala and tamarind -- I haven't tried it yet, though.)

It's not really Chana Masala since I added potatoes, but it was yummy and quick, so here goes:

• 1 can of Patak's Balti Curry sauce (or other vegan curry sauce)
• 1 can chick peas, drained (or equivalent amount of the dried kind, soaked and cooked ahead of time)
• 3 small potatoes, peeled, diced, and boiled
• 1/2 c or so basmati rice, steamed (with cardamom pods if you can find them)
• optional: lemon juice, cumin

Stir the chick peas, potatoes, and curry sauce together in a pan on medium heat. Add cumin and a squirt or two of lemon juice if you like (I found the sauce a bit sweet, and the cumin and lemon helped, but they're not necessary). Heat through. Serve over basmati rice.

We also made some of these pappadums to go with dinner: you can make them in the microwave by brushing them with a little oil first, and they turn out pretty well.

I didn't time myself, but I would guess this was done in about a half an hour. We've been spoiled by the excellent Indian restaurants around here, but this still was a pretty good meal, especially given the time it took to make.

Bonus Heloise Tip:

Generally, cooking curry will only make your house smell strongly of curry if you make it from scratch, which involves heating the spices in oil first. But if you'd still rather not smell dinner after you've eaten it, try sprinking some cinnamon over a cup or so of water in a small saucepan and simmering it on your stove. Your house will smell like cinnamon, which complements curry rather than competes with it.

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