Northern Asian food requires more time in the pan than SE Asian food. You need time to cook out the raw flavours in the spices, and time too for the flavours to develop and blend together into something that is greater than the individual spices that go into it. I'm also a big fan of using different kinds of protein, and one of my favourites is chick peas (garbanzo beans to the folks in the US).
- 2 tablespoons chana masala powder
- 800 grams tinned chick peas
- 2 tablespoons oil (not olive)
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 1 inch thumb of ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large tomato, chopped or 1/2 cup canned chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated coconut (optional)
- 5 small shallots (optional)
- 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 cardamon pods
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 dry red chillies
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 inch piece cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
1. If making the masala powder, roast the whole spices in a dry pan individually as they all take differing amounts of time to cook. Grind together in a spice grinder, and then mix with the dry ginger and nutmeg.
2. Heat the oil over a medium heat, and saute the onion, ginger and garlic until onion is soft, add in the curry powder and cook a further 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Add the tomato, chick peas, and 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil, and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Taste and add salt to taste. I added a large chopped potato at this stage as well as I love curried potatoes, so tend to pop them in curries that don't typically have them in there. Stir frequently and if it starts to get dry then add more water. The final curry will be fairly dry.
4. Blend the coconut and shallots together into a paste and add to the cooked curry, cook for another 2 or 3 minutes and serve with Indian breads like paratha or dosa and rice.