I love Indian food, but have always stereotyped it (like Thai and Japanese) as one of those eat-out foods that one has at a restaurant once a month for an exotic change but never makes at home. Well, the New Year has seen me break many of my stereotypes in accordance with my brand new resolution to be more open-minded.
Masala (or garam masala) is a blend of about ten different spices that smell and taste terrific. Anyone who’s ever had Indian food knows that it’s all about spices, rich flavors and umami. The first time I had it was at an Indian restaurant where as soon as I was done, asked the handsome Sharukh Khan-looking waiter for the menu again so I could write down the name of that amazing thing I had just had. So there it went on my cell phone for lack of a pen and paper. And here it is on my blog as my version of chana masala: a culminating result of much research and experimentation. I tried and retried it, tweaked it and adapted it to my American taste by making it creamy rather than brothy. But it is still undeniably and unmistakably Indian and delicious.
1 small onion, peeled and finely minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup tomato sauce or one tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 ¼ teaspoons garam masala
2 bay leaves
1 ¾ cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup heavy cream
Place the onions in a medium saucepan with the olive oil and sauté over low-medium heat until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce or paste.
Add the chickpeas, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and bay leaves. Add the water, cover with a lid and cook until the liquid is reduced, about 20 minutes. Mix in the lemon juice, stir in the cream and cook for another 2 minutes.