Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chickpeas and Chana dal in minted sauce

Over the week, I experimented with one of my not-so-favourite herbs: mint. I like mint in tea and chocolate but not so much in anything else. Until now. This dish is called Paraati Chana  in Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian and I am now a mint convert and this recipe has now become my favourite preparation for chickpeas.

What you’ll need:
* 1 ½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
* ¾ cup chana dal or yellow split peas, washed and drained
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
* 3 hot green chillies, finely chopped (didn’t have any, so left out and it still tasted good)
* 1 cup mint leaves
* ¼ cup oil
* 2 medium onions (used both red and brown), sliced
* 400g can diced tomatoes (the original recipe calls for 500g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, but they don’t sell 500g tins of tomato at the local supermarket and I hate using 100g of a separate can!)
* 2 ½ teaspoons salt
* 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
* 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
* ½ teaspoon garam masala
* 3 tablespoons thick tamarind paste or fresh lemon juice to taste (used tamarind paste which is a product of Sri Lanka and sold at the Pakenham Sri Lanka food and grocery store)

What to do:
In a large pot, add pre-soaked and drained chickpeas and 7 cups of water. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for an hour. Add split peas, cover and simmer for 1½ to 2 hours or until chick peas and dal is tender. Set aside.
Blend garlic, ginger, green chillies (if available) and mint leaves. The original recipe recommends adding 6-8 tablespoons of water to puree the mixture, but I left out the water and ended up with a chunkier alternative.
Heat oil in a pan, brown sliced onions.  Add tomatoes until reduced and the gravy turns oily at the edges. Add mint paste, stir through for a few minutes, then add pan mixture to chickpea pot, along with salt, coriander powder, cumin, garam masala and tamarind paste. Mix well. Cover and simmer for half an hour.

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