We had so much fun with our first-ever recipe contest! Many of you entered your creative recipes, and we are so thankful you did. We chose our three finalists because each of the recipes pushed us in a new direction in the kitchen with unfamiliar-to-us techniques and ingredients. It was a close race, but in the end, we had a tie game. Both recipes that won the most votes are authentic Indian recipes, so last Sunday night, we decided to have a feast and make both Lys Green's Channa Masala and Raihana's Cuisine's Curried Corn along with our own homemade Whole Wheat Naan and some cucumber and mint raita. Everything went so well together, and the bright acidity of the corn contrasted nicely with the warm cinnamon and clove in the masala. Seriously, it was one of the best Indian meals we've ever made at home.
Lys Green says she never grew up eating Indian food, but her husband is Indian, so over the years, she learned to cook authentic Indian food. On a trip to India, she fell in love with his aunt's chana masala. After inquiring how the chana masala was made, Lys was able to formulate a recipe that not only meets the authenticity of traditional Chana Masala, but also meets the healthy requirements that she strives for in her own kitchen.
Don't be intimidated by the ingredient list. We went to a well-stocked Indian grocery and had no trouble finding everything we needed. We also learned a lot about what goes into an authentic Indian dish. The amchoor powder is an ingredient that we'd never used before, but will certainly use again. It's dried mango powder that adds sweet and savory notes to the dish as well as a bit of acidity.
The anrdana powder is another ingredient we'd never worked with, and it offered a nice surprise. It's dried and ground pomegranate seeds that, when tasted on its own, is as sweet as candy. In the dish, however, it acts to balance the warm, earthy flavors with a hint of sweetness.
You'll want to make the extra effort to gather the ingredients for this recipe. Once you have everything in front of you, it all comes together very quickly. Next up, we'll share Raihana's Curried Corn, so be sure to check back in soon for that.
Lys Green's Chana Masala
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic
1 heaping tablespoon ginger paste
3/4 cup red onion, finely diced (about 1 medium onion)
1 large tomato, pureed [about 1 cup, puree raw tomato in a food processor]
1 1/2 teaspoons kala salt
1 1/2 teaspoons amchoor powder [also known as mango powder]
1 teaspoon anrdana powder*
2 teaspoons channa powder*
1 teaspoon cumin1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon clove
3 cups cooked garbanzo beans**
1 1/2 - 2 cups water
In a large pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add in the garlic, ginger, and red onion. Cook until the onions begin to sweat and are slightly translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add in the tomato puree and cook another 3-5 minutes, stirring as not to burn. Add in all spices (kale salt, amchoor powder, anrdana powder*, channa powder*, cumin, cinnamon, & clove). Allow these flavors for develop, cooking on medium-low for another 5 minutes, stirring as needed so the mixture doesn't burn.
Add in the garbanzo beans and allow the beans to cook with the onion-tomato-spice mixture on medium-low for another 3-5 minutes, stirring as needed to keep the ingredients from burning. At this time, add in the water -- it'll be 1 1/2 to 2 cups or until the beans are slightly covered.
After adding water, bring the curry to a boil, continuing the boil for up to 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the pot so it doesn't boil over. Afterwards, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and allow the curry to thicken for at least 20 minutes. Serve over rice.