Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Kitchen Sink Channa

Well, the kitchen sink was involved during the process, but although everything else went into this channa masala recipe, the kitchen sink wasn’t literally incorporated.

What with the cranberry sauce and raw pumpkin pieces patiently waiting in the fridge, it was time to go into action.  I’d also just come home with some lovely kale, and I still had my home-grown tomatoes I was itching to use.

This channa recipe isn’t much different from others I’ve written about; it just contains more ingredients, but it’s all the better for them.

1 tablespoon cumin seed
½ teaspoon black cumin seed
½ teaspoon ajwain (celery) seed
3 green cardamom, bashed about
2 black cardamom, husked and ground a bit
½ teaspoon fenugreek seed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
6 cloves
1 teaspoon fennel seed
6 Kashmiri chilies
2 sticks cinnamon (or the equivalent of cassia) 
1 tablespoon coriander seed

Use a potato peeler to remove the rind.
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon hot paprika powder
1/8 teaspoon hing powder

2 tablespoons mustard oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
½ teaspoon fennel seed
2 Indian bayleaves
1 red onion, diced

2 cups peeled and diced pumpkin 

2 cups fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, roughly chopped
3 Thai chilies
5 garlic cloves (these can be trimmed but left whole with the paper still on)

3 cans channa, (540 ml) drained and rinsed
1 cup water
can coconut milk (398)
3 teaspoons tamarind pure (or a mix of tamarind and leftover cranberry sauce*)
3 leaves of kale, washed, ribbed and chopped into ribbons

salt to taste

Is there an older spice grinder out there?
Heat the whole spices in the large dry pan that you will be using for this dish.  On medium high heat, roast till the spices become fragrant, and give off just a whiff of smoke.  Brush into a spice grinder, and grind to a fine powder.  Add turmeric powder, paprika and hing, and set aside. 

On medium high heat, add oil and when it’s hot, add cumin, fennel and bayleaves.  Let them sizzle for about thirty seconds, then quickly add the onion, stir and reduce heat to medium and let cook till onion is transparent and getting golden at the edges.  Add the pumpkin and cook, stirring once in a while till it becomes golden here and there. 
The pumpkin will get more golden.

Meanwhile, add the tomato, ginger, chilies and garlic to the blender.  (This business of leaving the paper on the garlic cloves is a Goan trick, although I do trim off the rough hard bits.)  Buzz till well blended.

With the pot lid close at hand, add the tomato mix, and quickly close the pot if it splutters.  Don’t worry about getting every molecule out of the blender.  Set it aside for now.  Once spluttering has stopped, take the lid off, turn the heat to high, and let cook till the tomato mix is reduced and oil is separating.  It will be almost dry at this point.  Add the ground spices, turn to medium heat, stir and let cook for a couple of minutes.  

Stir the channa into the pot.  Add the water to the blender and buzz again to get more tomato bits, add that to the pot.  Pour in the coconut milk and tamarind, and if you happen to have it lying around, the cranberry sauce.  (Note to the wise: don’t even think of tossing in canned cranberry sauce, or someone else’s very sweet recipe for cranberry sauce.  You might as well be adding strawberry jam, which would be very weird…)

Kale is so beautiful but it's too tough while still green!
Add the kale, and give it another stir.  Cook at least twenty minutes till the kale is cooked and the sauce is somewhat reduced.  If it's too dry, add a bit more water.  This makes a great vegetarian main dish, especially if served with rice or chappatties. 

Pumpkin is massively healthy, and helps regulate blood sugar too.  Kale, channa and fresh tomatoes, along with turmeric—as far as your health goes, this is really the best!  This dish took about an hour and a half from start to finish, and it makes fabulous leftovers for breakfast and lunch, if you like.  

If you're ever stuck for finding ingredients, drop me a line! 

Reheated in the microwave for breakfast!

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