Post by: Aleda
I love Indian food. I love it so much I should spell LOVE in all caps. I adore the flavors and aromas of the spices, I relish in how warm the food makes me feel, and find that a good chicken tikka masala or palak paneer and some naan make for great comfort foods. Give me an authentic peshwari naan and I’m yours forever. I still haven’t found one to top the best peshwari naan I’ve had, which was in a tiny Indian restaurant on a tiny side street in London. Interestingly enough, the waiter’s parents are doctors in my neighborhood in Queens. Anyway, getting back to topic, I love Indian food. The problem is that I don’t really know how to cook it. Not yet anyway, but I’m learning.
I do have this one recipe for a chick pea masala that is incredibly simple and delicious and has become one of my signature dinner items, especially for guests. This time around I made it for my Market Blog partner-in-crime, the ever-lovely Kim for her birthday. I accompanied the chick pea masala with basmati rice, dandelion greens, and garlic naan and vegetable samosas, and a ginger-mango chutney (the last three of which I purchased pre-made at TraderJoe’s). Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?
So, here is my recipe for chick pea masala & basmati rice. I know there are some purists who will argue that I’m missing ingredients or doing it wrong. To you I say, I know. But I also say that it’s delicious regardless, and my whole food-cooking-blogging shtick is that I work with what I’ve got, which usually isn’t much. Enjoy!
Basmati Rice (Serves 4-6, divide in half for less):
2 cups of basmati rice – you may need to rinse the rice 2-3 times before cooking
2 1/2 cups of water
pinch of salt, dash of olive oil
Bring water to rolling boil, add rice, stir. Reduce to simmer. I actually find that I like the way this rice cooks better without covering it. I don’t know if there is an al-dente version for rice, but I hate my rice mushy. Should take about 20 minutes to cook. Fluff with fork.
Chick Pea Masala (serves 4-6, divide ingredients in half for less):
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 15 oz cans of garbanzos/chick peas
1 bunch green onions, chopped (note – you can make this w/o the green onions and it is still great if it’s one of those nights where you’re searching for what’s left in your kitchen).
2 15 oz cans of chopped tomatoes, or about 4 cups of fresh chopped tomatoes (note – I most recently used canned chopped tomatoes with green chili peppers from TraderJoe’s and it added a nice extra kick if you’re a fan of spicy food. If not, stick with regular tomatoes).
2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup water
4 tsp garam masala, divided (note-if you are not sure how spicy you enjoy food or are unfamiliar with this seasoning, work it in little by little to taste instead of using all in recipe).
Heat olive oil in large pan and begin to heat chick peas. Add green onions if you have them, if you don’t skip this step. Heat for just a few minutes, maybe 2-3. Add tomatoes, garlic salt and water. Stir. Season with 2 tsp (out of 4 total) of garam masala. Keep on medium heat, stir occasionally – about 10 minutes. Raise heat to bring mixture to a boil, and start stirring in leftover garam masala to taste. Cook/stir until chick peas are heated and you enjoy the taste and consistency. If you like it saucy to top rice you may want to add more tomatoes or a touch of tomato sauce, that’s up to you.
All in all prep and cook time should be about 25 minutes for the rice & masala. And a note for my beloved herbivore friends, this recipe is deliciously vegan.
And the finished product: