My love for all things food is happily extending into my relationships with others as friends and family increasingly reach out to gab about cooking. Conversations with one high school friend lately have almost exclusively been about food. "What do you think about swapping goat cheese for feta in this recipe?" "Have you seen this foodblog?" "Tonight I'm making a crumble, I will let you know how it turns out...." It's so fun for me.
So this post is a little virtual nod to our conversations. It's vegetarian, because she is one, and it's an Indian recipe in tribute to the many lunch buffets we enjoyed when living in the same town years ago.
While the numbers of different spices might seem overwhelming at first glance, fear not. You basically plop them all in the pot at one time and after a quick visit to a specialty market, you have enough spices for a number of dinners. I tried a handful of different recipes before settling on a modified version from this site. I omit fancy spice grinding and ginger (hubby hates it!) with the hopes of compiling an easy go-to curry for you.
My one suggestion? The first time you make this recipe, create identical mounds of the spice base. Seal the second heap away in a zip lock bag, and voila, you are that much closer to your next curry.
Vegetable Chana MasalaModified courtesy of Aarti Paarti
- 4 tomatoes, finely diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 summer squash diced into cubes
- 2 cups of chopped greens (collards, kale, swiss chard)
- 1 large white or red onion, finely diced
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon amchur powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons peanut oil
- Juice of half a lemon or lime
- 1 cup water
- Salt and pepper
- Combine all the spices, except the cumin, in a bowl
- Set a skillet over medium-high heat, and warm the peanut oil until it’s shimmering. Add the onions, cumin and a little kosher salt, and saute until they start to brown (about 15 minutes). If the onions start to stick to the bottom of the pan, sprinkle with water and scrub up the pan bits.
- Add garlic; saute 30 seconds.
- Add the spice mixture (“masala”), and saute for 30 seconds. Then add the tomatoes and summer squash. Cook, seasoning with a little salt again, picking up anything that’s sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the tomatoes soften, deepen in colour and form a coarse sauce, about 5 minutes.
- Add the greens and chickpeas, and cover in the masala, cooking a minute or so.
- Stir in the cup of water, then gently simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper and citrus juice as needed. Turn the heat off, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve over rice.