In the past few months, and last few weeks especially, Rob has had to do a lot more around the house. And when Rob does the cooking, it means the kitchen is filled with curry.
He must have become bored, because one day he opened up his favourite cookbook, 660 Curries, and made chana masala.
True to form, Rob simplified the original recipe. He didn’t want to hunt down tomato paste so he used a can of diced tomatoes. We prefer cooked to raw onion, so the onion went in at the beginning. And because the cilantro looked pretty sad, he could only scavenge a couple tablespoons to toss into the dish.
I don’t know what it was, but I thought this was fantastic. Rob will tell you it is from the secret ingredient: love. I agree, but am partial to think it could have also been the amchoor (mango powder).
I’ve made chana masala a few times but never been enamoured with it enough to share a favourite recipe. With a quick glance at the recipe, it is the amchoor and cooked cilantro that are the main differences. Amchoor could be skipped but if you have it, use it! And if you don’t find the recipe special without the amchoor, try to find it at your local Indian grocer or specialty spice shop.
Here are some other recipes that use amchoor powder:
Adapted from 660 Curries
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp pressed garlic
14 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp mango powder (amchoor)
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
4 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained if canned
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1.5 tsp salt, or to taste
1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil.
2. Add the onion and saute for 5-10 minutes, until softened and turning brown. Stir in the whole cumin seeds and cook until they are fragrant, around 5-10 seconds.
3. Decrease the heat to medium and stir in the ginger and garlic. Stir until they turn a light brown, around 2 minutes.
4. Stir in the diced tomatoes, ground coriander, ground cumin, mango powder, chili flakes and turmeric. Cover with the lid slightly ajar and simmer until the mixture forms a thick reddish-brown sauce, around 5-10 minutes.
5. Pour in the chickpeas, cilantro, and the salt. Raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens (5 minutes more). Season to taste.
6. Sprinkle any remaining cilantro over the chickpeas and serve over rice or with naan.