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Hello Kibitzers,

So, David Tanis did a lovely write up on dal in the New York Times on Wednesday.

I have never pureed dal the way he suggests, but as I said in my diary on dal there really is no one, true way to make this dish. http://www.dailykos.com/...

But today i am going to talk about Chana Masala--Chickpeas or Garbanzo peas cooked Indian style. This is absolutely one of my favorite dishes. My friends also like it a lot: in fact, a friend (from Uganda) requested it at her wedding reception. I stayed up all night to make it in batches to feed all who came to that reception.

This dish was also a source of some tension once between my mom and me. One summer when I was in India and visiting relatives, my mom proffered the information that I make awesome chana masala, and drafted me to volunteer to cook the same for the relatives. So, in order to comply with the image of a good little Indian girl, I did that, seething all the while. I didn't want to cook at that time, and I especially didn't want to cook in what seemed like a test.  The whole set-up was kind of nervous-making. Later, when I tasked my mom about it, she admitted that she did not want the relatives to see me as too Western and that I still had Indian cultural (and culinary) norms at my finger-tips. I hadn't been corrupted by the West, so to speak;-)

Okay now to the recipe:  
This is what you will need to make this dish: 1 teaspoon Tamarind paste. Or tamarind pods as JoanMar explains here:http://www.dailykos.com/....

2 cans of gorbanzo bean, drained and rinsed. You can soak 2 cups of dried gorbanzo beans the night before, but I find this to be too much trouble.
3 meduim onions, thinly sliced.
5-6 inches of ginger diced.
2 inches of ginger sliced thinly.
1 tablespoon of roasted and ground cumin seeds
1 black tea bag.
1 teaspoon of dried, ground pomegranate seeds (optional)
1 bunch of cilantro or parsley for those who find that cilantro tastes like soap (also optional)
Salt, Cayenne and Turmeric.

Slice (not dice) the onions and let them caramelize on medium heat in some oil. (10-15 minutes.) When the onions are golden brown, add the diced ginger and let it become fragrant (3-5 minutes.) Add the roasted ground cumin, turmeric, and the dried, ground pomegranate seeds (if using) and then add the chickpeas, along with 3-4 cups of water, add salt and cayenne, let it come to a simmer and then turn the heat to low. Really low. Add the tamarind paste (1 teaspoon) and place the tea bag in the simmering water.

The roasted cumin seeds and the tea bag help to impart a darker color to the beans. Remove the tea bag before serving. Let the beans simmer for an hour and a half on very low heat, stirring once in a while to make sure the beans don't stick to the pan. If you see that the beans aren't softening as much as you'd like, add some more water. You can pretty much walk away from the beans as they are simmering, except to check in once every 10 minutes or so.

I like to have beans on the dryish side since I like to eat them with naan, but you can leave them a bit soupy if you want to eat with rice. When the beans are done to your satisfaction, in a separate pan sizzle the sliced ginger in ghee or butter or oil, when the ginger turns light brown, pour this on top of the beans, add some cilantro for garnish and voila! Chana Masala!!

In the picture below, chana masala is on the left and there is a paneer curry on the right.  

indian food photo: med- indian food random5-1.jpg

Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate. Readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.
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