Tag Archives: curry

Chana Masala

28 Aug

Chana Masala- Homemade life2

This summer I read Molly Wizenberg’s memoir, A Homemade Life.  It’s full of yummy recipes and was really inspiring.  I have made at least 8 of her recipes and so far none have disappointed.  This was one of our family favorites.  Yes, even the kids enjoyed it.

Chana Masala

Good-quality olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garam masala
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed (or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom)
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 Tbs cilantro leaves, roughly torn, plus more for garnish
A pinch of cayenne, or to taste
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6-8 Tbs plain whole-milk yogurt, optional
A few lemon wedges, optional


Film the bottom of a large saucepan or Dutch oven—preferably not nonstick—with olive oil, and place the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is deeply caramelized and even charred in some spots. Be patient. The more color, the more full-flavored the final dish will be.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, stirring, and add a bit more oil if the pan seems dry. Add the cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garam masala, and cardamom pods (or powder), and fry them, stirring constantly, until fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup water, and stir to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water has evaporated away completely. Pour in the juice from can of tomatoes, followed by the tomatoes themselves, using your hands to break them apart as you add them; alternatively, add them whole and crush them in the pot with a potato masher. Add the salt.

Raise the heat to medium, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the cilantro and cayenne, and simmer the sauce gently, stirring occasionally, until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Add the chickpeas, stirring well, and cook over low heat for about five minutes. Add 2 Tbs water, and cook for another five minutes. Add another 2 Tbs water, and cook until the water is absorbed, a few minutes more. This process of adding and cooking off water helps to concentrate the sauce’s flavor and makes the chickpeas more tender and toothsome. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Stir in the yogurt, if you like, or garnish with lemon wedges and cilantro. Serve. **

Yields 4 servings

**Molly’s notes about serving– This chana masala can be served in two different styles: with a half-cup of whole-milk yogurt to smooth and soften the flavors, or sans yogurt, served with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of fresh cilantro. Either way, this dish is even better the second—or third—day.


Chicken Tikka Masala

7 Dec

When Sam and I have a chance to eat out, we almost always choose an Indian restaurant.  I hadn’t really attempted cooking Indian fare in my own kitchen until my Sept. 2007 issue of Cooks Illustrated arrived in the mail.  Their recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala is delicious and takes the intimidation out of cooking ethnic food.   The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve it over basmati rice and accompanied by naan and a mango lassi.  You won’t be disappointed.

Chicken Tikka
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Masala Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala (see note below for substitution)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
  2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
  3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
  4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

*Note: If you don’t have garam masala on hand, you can substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Spicy Coconut-Chicken Curry

7 Dec

I discovered this recipe in one of those free healthy living brochures while in line at the grocery store.  I’m usually leery to try recipes that have not been rated, or at least recommended by someone, as I hate to waste good resources on a bad recipe.  However, this one turned out fabulously.  It’s one of our new favorites and a great way to use bone-in chicken.  If you like Indian food, you’ll love this.  If you’ve never tried a curried stew, prepare to be delighted.

Spicy Coconut-Chicken Curry

6 to 7 chicken thighs, drumsticks, or a combination of both (bone-in, skin-on)
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
a one-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 Tbsp curry powder, preferably Madras
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I omit this if feeding kiddos or adults who shy away from spicy foods.)
1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes, drained
About 1 can (15 oz) light coconut milk, divided
1 cup frozen, thawed green peas
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle both sides with salt.

2. Coat bottom of 5- to 7-quart Dutch oven with thin film of oil and set over med-high heat.  When oil shimmers, add chicken, skin sides down, without crowding; brown in batches if necessary.  Cook until skin is golden brown and chicken releases easily from pot, about 5-8 minutes.  Turn pieces over and cook until they brown.  Transfer browned chicken to plate.

3. When last batch of chicken has been removed, add onion, garlic, and ginger to pot.  Cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add curry powder, cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook for 30 seconds until spices are fragrant.  Stir in tomatoes and 1 cup of the coconut milk.  Stir well and let come to boil.

4. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot.  Chicken should be surrounded by sauce, but not submerged in it, so that topmost skin is exposed.  (If there is not enough liquid in pot, add remaining coconut milk.)

5. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until chicken is opaque at bone, about 45 minutes.  Stir in peas and cilantro and cook until peas are hot, about 5 minutes more.  Serve over fragrant rice (basmati or jasmine).

Serves: 4 adults (plus a few kiddos)

Source: Braises and Stews by Tori Ritchie

Photo: Ben Fink