Vegan Chana Masala or Chick Pea & Spinach Curry

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

I am posting this easy & delightful dish after the eggplant dish in case folks might actually feel ambitious & want to make an Indian feast with more than one flavor.  Both dishes are vegan – by chance, not design.  I have never seen a non-vegan version – so, if you are a die hard carnivore – do not be thrown by the word.  Both of these dishes seem deceptively rich despite being very, very healthy.

 

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Chana Masala

INGREDIENTS

29 oz can chick peas (or an equivalent of fresh soaked-overnight beans – if you are really motivated)

2 medium tomatoes – quartered

16 oz fresh spinach – chopped

1 in cube fresh ginger – chopped OR 3 TBS jarred crushed ginger

3 serrano chiles – seeded & roughly chopped

6 TBS olive oil

3 tsp cumin SEEDS – not ground

3 garlic cloves

2 TBS ground coriander

2 tsp turmeric

1 TBS crushed red pepper (or to taste)

2 tsp salt

1 TBS garam masala (if you can’t find it – you can make it:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-garam-masala/

15 oz can diced tomatoes (or 3 more fresh ones – chopped)

DIRECTIONS

Drain & wash the chick peas.  In a blender or with an immersion mixer – puree the 2 medium tomatoes with the serranos and the ginger.

Heat the oil in a pan.  When hot – add the cumin SEEDS & beware the spitting & popping.  They hurt if they hit you. Add the garlic.  Saute for a minute then add the tomato puree and all the dry spices.  Cook this for about 5 minutes until the mixture reduces by 1/4 to 1/2.

Stir in the spinach – adding a little water if it is needed to properly steam the spinach down.  Cover & cook for 3-4 minutes or until the spinach is completely wilted but still vibrant.  Add the chick peas & the canned tomatoes (or chopped fresh) & stir them in.  You can add water if there isn’t enough gravy – or cook it down if it is too wet.  Cook this for another 5 minutes or so – longer if using dried chick peas.  Test a chick pea for texture & if it tastes done to you – you are good to go.

Serve over basmati rice.

BASMATI RICE

INGREDIENTS

2 cups basmati rice – rinsed several times in a colander

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp salt

20 green cardamom pods (if you can get them)

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a pan.  Once hot – add the cumin seeds & the cardamom pods – again being wary of their popping & spitting.  I used 20 cardamom pods because mine were a bit old.  You might want to use fewer if yours are fresh & really pungent.  After a minute – add the rice & stir until it is all covered in oil & the spices are well blended.  Add 4 cups of water (or whatever ratio of rice to water your package suggests) & bring to a boil.  Use less water for firmer rice.  Once boiling – reduce heat to low & simmer, covered, for however long the rice package instructs you.  Remove from heat.  Fluff with a fork.

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