Category: Indian

Chickpea Curry

There has been a whole lot of nothing going on around here lately thanks to the Snowpocalypse in Portland. The 8-12″ of snow is only just starting to melt. It’s going to be a slow, slow process. As easy as it would be to cook right now, it’s important to get out those nearby businesses and support them. This can’t be easy.

This was deliciously spicy. Two very simple things [chickpeas and tomatoes] shouldn’t taste so good, but they do. It’s amazing what seasoning can do. I’m looking forward to making this again now that I have my very own mortar and pestle to mix things like ginger, Serrano chile, and garlic together. I’m convinced the flavor will be even better. The little food processor worked just fine, though. Faster too. Thanks to that chile, the leftovers are going to get hotter as the flavors marinate. That’s just the way it goes.

I shoveled this in with a spoon, without rice or naan, but I wouldn’t have said no if it was presented to me. I was feeling lazy. Also lazy is not having fresh cilantro around. That would be the perk of having a little rabbit like my friend Emma has, but that’s just not happening.

Inspiration: Eating Well

Ingredients

  • 1 small Serrano, seeds removed
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2″ piece of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • cilantro and fresh lime for garnish

Preparation

In a small food processor, chop the Serrano, garlic, and ginger finely.  You can do this with a knife if you’re so inclined. Add the onion and pulse until it all comes together. Don’t over pulse or it will become a watery mess.

Heat the canola oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick. Add the coriander, cumin, and turmeric and stir. It should be evenly incorporated into the mixture and smell heavenly. Cook that for two minutes. Keep stirring so the spices don’t stick and burn.

Add the chopped tomatoes and about a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally for about five minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and garam masala. Cover the mixture and cook for another five minutes. Top with cilantro and lime juice before serving.

Chicken Tikka Masala (Crock Pot)

Before I make good on my promise of a crock pot recipe, can we just talk about The People’s Pig for a minute? Not the cart [even though the cart is awesome, too]. I want to talk about their new brick and mortar BBQ spot. I’m just going to say it’s taken the place of the best BBQ in Portland for me. It’s not a large menu, but it’s a good one. Pork and chicken and a handful of sides. The portions are ridiculous [as it should be for BBQ], and the flavor is out of this world. The smoked pork isn’t quite pulled but isn’t quite slabs and it has the most unbelievable char in spots reminiscent of the burnt ends you can get in Kansas City. It’s fall apart tender. The sauce comes on the side for your smothering pleasure. The greens are braised in a deliciously meaty braising liquid. The ribs are fall off the bone tender with a lovely pink smoked color and equal parts deliciously smoky char. I’m in love with this place. It looks like a little country hole-in-the-wall. The kind of place that you don’t feel ironic or kitschy drinking out of a mason jar. It’s freaking awesome.

Anyway, enough waxing poetic about BBQ. Let’s talk about another pot of meaty deliciousness [sorry, not sorry vegetarian friends]. I haven’t made a whole lot of Indian food, but I eat my fair share of it from food carts downtown. This tastes kind of legitimate, which is all I really care about. Does it taste good? Authentic is secondary. I went full on fat with the dairy. I know I really shouldn’t be eating it, but if I am going to, it’s going to be worth while. Full-fat Fage Greek yogurt and some organic heavy cream. The goods. It all comes together unbelievably easy. I made the sauce the night before and let the flavors meld together all night and then put everything in the crockpot in the morning. I really feel bad making crock pot meals sometimes because Andrew works from home and has to smell it cooking all day. My guilt is assuaged when I get a text message on the way home from work that he tested it [quality control!] and tells me how good it is. We’re even.

The chicken is pretty tender. I wish I would have used chicken thighs, and I will next time. Chicken breasts just have a tendency to dry out a little more, even when bathing in a mess of dairy for hours. I whipped up some rice and steamed spinach and called it a meal. A damn good one, too.

Inspiration: Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 3lbs chicken thighs or breasts, chopped into bite sized chunks
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 29oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • rice, steamed vegetables, cilantro for serving

Preparation

In a bowl mix together all ingredients from the onion to the cracked pepper. Let it sit overnight in the fridge if you’d like, but it’s not necessary. When you’re ready to start the crockpot, pour half of the mixture into the bottom of it. Add the chicken chunks and pour the rest of the mixture on top. Add the bay leaves. Cook on low for 8-9 hours.

When the time is up, test to make sure the chicken is fall apart tender. Whisk together the cream and cornstarch in a separate container. Pour the cream into the crockpot. Stir to incorporate throughout. Remove the bay leaves. Let the mixture cook for another 20 minutes before serving.

Chana Saag

Ahhhh I did it!

I finally made Indian food!

I’m pretty sure I was talking about this months ago, but that’s beside the point. I made some, and it was awesome. I decided against making naan so I could focus my whole attention on what I was doing. I’m notorious for doing too much at once and screwing something up. I bought some frozen naan instead, which while good, wasn’t really naan-like.

Start to finish took a whole lot longer than I thought it would, but maybe that’s because it was my first time or because I really let it simmer down. I like it really thick and stew-y. I followed this recipe, using the evaporated milk. Now that I have a sweet zit cropping up on my chin, I’ll probably go back to using coconut milk. These are the things I do to try new recipes.

I was honestly surprised at how similar it is to the Thai curry I make all the time, but yet they have two completely different flavor profiles. I picked up a container of hot madras curry powder, which means I have no excuse not to make this again. Indian food is one of the few cuisines where I don’t miss meat. It’s filling and flavorful enough without it.

Time to check out other recipes.

Inspiration: Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped into quarters
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger
  • 1-3 tablespoons of curry powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1lb frozen spinach
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 12oz can of evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup water

Preparation

Toss the onion and garlic into a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped. I’m lazy, so feel free to mince it if by hand. Heat the canola oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring to coat. Grate the fresh ginger into the pan as well. Stir for several minutes until the onion is soft and translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

Add the curry powder and cumin to the mixture. Start with one tablespoon of the curry powder if you have a low spice threshold. You can always add more later. Stir it well, letting it cling to the onion mixture. It’s going to smell awesome. Add the diced tomato and salt. Stir and cook for another five minutes or so until the tomato is broken down and soft.

Add the chickpeas, spinach, and water to the pan. Stir to break up the spinach and distribute the onion mixture throughout. Bring everything up to a simmer for five minutes so the spinach can heat through. Once most of the water has simmered away, add the milk. Let it simmer to desired consistency. I let it go for 10-15 minutes before I pureed half of it in the blender to really thicken it up. Taste for more spice. I added another teaspoon of cumin and two tablespoons of curry powder before I was satisfied.

Serve with brown rice and naan.