Chana Masala

Hi there, general public.  I have here that most rare of things – a vegetarian post of savoury nature. Amazing, huh? The reason for this is that Boyfriend is on a kind-of-diet (there is no need, he is tall-ish and svelte-ish and cycles nearly every day but hey ho) and I am currently working away from the familial home for three days a week. I am abandoning the Boyfriend and NewHuman to their own devices and trying not to be too pissed off at how well they’re coping without my micromanagement. Devastating, actually, but luckily I can help by leaving a metric shit-ton of leftovers of the chickpea variety, bound to support Boyfriend’s diet and his weekly fart count in one fell blow.

Good, innit.

There are many things to like about working away, particularly out of London, not least of which is the lack of peak hour commute through London’s sweat-perforated transport systems. I’m usually to be found delivering contracts in the more hellhole-styled locations in the greater British isles, but this time have somehow landed up in a really rather nice city to the West of London. It’s all golden and seemingly bathed in sunlight a lot of the time. I can get good coffee and really good food at slightly-cheaper-but-not-so-cheap-as-to-cause-concern prices than London. I’ve had my finger hovering over RightMove ever since, no doubt increasing Boyfriend’s fart rate but this time due to stamp duty nerves rather than chickpea application.

I’m making myself eat out alone both nights of the week as experience tells me it’s far too easy to load up on shit hummous at whatever local Sainsburys you can find, sit in your hotel room in your tights and singlet and drip crumbs through the hotel pillows whilst watching a repeat of Rick Stein from 1998. It’s not a pretty picture to describe or to live through. So here I am, eating out alone, not eating chickpea leftovers, and winning Monday-Wednesday.

Then I get home and NewHuman says, ‘Away, Mama!’ but not in the sense of, ‘you’ve been away! Yay you are back!’ but more to say, ‘You have been away! Go away some more!’. Little gobshite.

Right, below are the ingredients for what is essentially chickpeas in gravy. A lovely, yummy, spicy Indian style gravy. Go forth and vegetarian the shit out of it. Recipe via Felicity Cloake’s always excellent Guardian column.

  I had taken a really nicely set up picture of the ingredients for you. Then I realised I had forgotten to include the chopped tomatoes cause I’m an idiot and because I was half a glass of JD and coke down (diet, yes yes aspartame death yes yes). So you get, instead, the above representation of how things really look outside Instagram setups.

Please gather, for four quite good servings:

450g of drained tinned chickpeas (I just used 2 tins – Felicity says you can soak your own but also says tinned ones are just as good so why you’d bother soaking hard bullets I have no idea. Get tinned ones, cook smart).

1 tbspn vegetable oil

1 tspn cumin seeds

1 large onion, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves

25g root ginger (I didn’t weigh mine, just used a large chunk)

30g fresh coriander (again I didn’t weigh this. Weigh fresh coriander? wtf? I just ripped a good half a bunch)

2-4 green chillis, roughly chopped, seeds and all (I used 2 large ones, was plenty)

1 tbspn ground coriander

1-2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground turmeric

400g tin of plum tomatoes, chopped

1.5 tsp fine salt

1 tspn garam masala

1 tbspn lemon juice
  Finely chop the onion.

Then in the wazzer thing, or with a hand whizz chopper thingy, chuck your chilli, ginger, garlic and coriander.  Wazz it all into a paste. Like, not chunky but quite fine and as paste-like as you can get.

  Oh yeah – I forgot to do this at the start. Stick your drained and rinsed chickpeas into a saucepan with 500ml of water. Bring to simmer, simmer for 5 mins, then drain, reserving the foul looking simmering water.

So you’ll have chickpeas, onion, paste.
  Put the oil in a nice big high-sided frypan and over a medium heat fry the cumin seeds for a couple of minutes till they get all aromatic and delicious. Open the back door so the neighbours can smell it and get jealous.

Throw in the onion, lower the heat a bit, and cook, stirring a fair amount, till they go golden brown, as demonstrated above. It’ll take longer than you think. Is annoying.

  Then add the paste, sloshing in a little more oil if you like. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  Then add the ground coriander, tumeric and chilli powder. I didn’t add much chilli powder – about 1/3 teaspoon, as the chillis were giving it more than enough heat.

Cook for another couple of minutes.

  Then add the disgusting chickpea water, the chickpeas and the can of tomatoes, and the salt, then stir through. Bring it to a simmer, then turn down and let it gently bubble away for a good 20 minutes or so until it really thickens and starts to reduce a very little bit.

Now is the point in most blog posts where I’d usually post a pic of NewHuman or the dog, but iCloud is being a dick and won’t let me email any photos from my album, and WordPress is being a dick and only gives me the last 25 pics in my phone album as options to post, so instead you get a photo of my face after 15 mins of total fuckery trying to get the thing to work. I’ve modelled this expression on that of a friend, SD (HI SD YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) who is the queen of the quizzical selfie.
  Right. After twenty minutes or so add the garam masala and lemon juice. Stir through, let cool a bit – we let it cool through dint of dishing it up onto a nice cold plate, as no way we were waiting to plunge our faces into the spicy goodness. Sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves, and serve with flatbread or steamed rice. We went with flatbread and a splodge of sour cream on top. Full delicious. Recommend.

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7 thoughts on “Chana Masala

  1. narf77 says:

    Vegetarian? Interesting (and cheap) tucker that lends a little bit of itself from every corner of the earth. “Food of the people”. Sterling grub that always goes better with a cheap bottle of vino and a big loaf of crusty bread (preferably made from your own starter by someone wearing Dr Scholl’s and tattoos of Shiva and long natty dreadlocks all down their back…) Nice selfie. Nice score on the job away from home. Nice that New Human has bonded so well with his dad that they are now able to gang up on your and make you think it might be time to have another one…a girl…to redress the imbalance (ducking). Life appears good. Glad to see.

  2. Lucy A says:

    I finally got around to making this last night, but forgot about your recommendation re. chillies so I blew our heads of with three green ones and a full teaspoon of hot powder. Now I need to make another batch with zero chillies and conbine the two so we can actually eat the stuff. Well done me!

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