Chana masala

BM# 101: Week 3, Day 3
Theme : 
Creamy gravies

Last month, my old neighbors had come over home. With the kids at school, there was enough time to relax and catch up with each other. We had a mini pot luck and had a great lunch. I had made three gravies that day, two of which I am posting for this theme. I hadn’t picked this theme when I was preparing the meal, it was just good luck that I took pictures of the thali. My friends had brought in vegetable biriyani and bisibela bath. It was served along with the Chana masala, Chettinad mushroom curry and a mixed vegetable curry. Do check out the carrot halwa recipe too, it is a simple and easy way to make this great dessert.

Coming to the Chana masala recipe, this is again from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. After trying the mushroom curry recipe from the book, I made this first when we had some friends coming over. I didn’t have enough time to soak Chana, so I cooked it for one hour in Instant Pot before making this gravy. If you have time, you can soak the Chana overnight and cook it before making this curry. I already have a recipe for Chana masala in the blog, but this recipe has enough differences to make a separate post.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: Vegan Richa’s Indian kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 6 medium tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 2″ long piece of ginger
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon oil or ghee
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • A good pinch of hing
  • 2 teaspoons Chana masala or Garam masala
  • Salt as needed
  • About 2 cups of water*
  • Coriander leaves and lemon juice for garnishing and serving

*You can use the water Chana was cooked in.

Method:

  1. Drain and Pressure cook the soaked Chana with enough water until it’s done. Let the pressure release naturally. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, combine tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chilies and 1/2 cup cooked (and cooled) chickpeas. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil or ghee in a pan. Add the chopped onions and cook till it turns pink. Add all the masala powders – cumin, turmeric, chili, garam (or Chana) masala, hing and salt. Mix well.
  4. Add the puréed tomato paste. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring in between to prevent tomatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a little water in case that happens. Reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes until the mixture is dry and starts to leave the side of the pan.
  5. Add cooked chickpeas and about 2 to 2.5 cups of water. You can use the water in which Chana was cooked. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, taste testing in between to adjust the seasoning. Take off the heat and serve garnished with coriander leaves, minced onion and lemon juice. This pairs very well with rotis and plain basmati rice.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.

Sadya on a plate – 2016 Onam

2onam_2016

BM # 70
Week 4, Day 1
Theme : Thali
A proper thali meal needs some planning in terms of preparation and execution. People mostly prepare a thali or any elaborate meal when there is some festival or guests are visiting. In my case, my fridge was empty to prepare a thali meal, but my drafts section was full. So I am taking you back to a meal I prepared in September this year for Onam.
With my dad visiting us, there was some motivation in preparing this mini sadya. If it was just the three of us, I don’t think I would have bothered. We had a full sadya the next day at a friend’s place, so Onam really was good :-).
Though the plate looks messy, it has twelve dishes in there. The chips and pickle are ready made, but everything else was prepared at home. Funniest part was that my fridge was equally empty that day also, so this is literally what I scrapped from all my resources – fridge, freezer and pantry.I wasn’t planning on capturing the sadya on camera, but I am glad I did!
The meal has

This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70 .  Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.

Recipe source: Ramya’s recipe

Ingredients: 

To grind:

  • 1/3 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 green chilli or per taste

Other ingredients:

  • 2 cups pineapple chunks (I used canned)
  • pinch turmeric powder
  • salt as needed
  • 1/3 cup yogurt, whisked well
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon oil

Method:

  1. Cook pineapple chunks with a little water and a pinch of turmeric powder. Add salt as needed.
  2. Grind the coconut, mustard seeds, jeera and chilli to a smooth paste adding water as needed. Add this paste to the cooked pineapple. Let it boil for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat.
  3. Whisk the yogurt well and add it to the pineapple mix. Mix well and take off the stove.
  4. Heat one teaspoon of oil in a small pan for tadka. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard pops, take off the heat and add it to the kichadi. That’s it!

3onam_2016

 

Tamil Nadu meals

thali2

A balanced meal should have grains, vegetables, fruits and protein worked into it. A typical South Indian Tamil Nadu meals consist of rice, served with a lentil based gravy like sambar with vegetables on the side. Yogurt is an essential part of the meal. A banana after the meal is not at all unusual. So, without knowing the definition of a balanced meal, our ancestors have provided us the same!

In olden days, families were much larger in number and there weren’t any appliances to make life easy.  A simple meal presented in a plate had a lot of effort behind it. This explains the bigger meals as appetite is worked up because of a labor intensive lifestyle.

The meals were three course. Rice is the staple food and star of the meal. The first round is rice served with sambar. The second course is rice and rasam.  The third course is rice and yogurt with which you wind up the meal. For the first two courses, one or two simple vegetable preparations are on the side. Potatoes are treated like vegetables, but people are conscious of the use and don’t make it for everyday meals. It’s almost like a treat now a days. Fried papads or appalams are also served as a side.

In the picture here, I have gone back to the meals we grew up eating. It shows rice, sambar, rasam, cluster beans porial, potatoes, yogurt, pickle and appalam.

With smaller families now, the meal has simplified a lot. Most of the days, rice is served with sambar or some other gravy with a vegetable on side. Tamil Nadu is incredibly hot and so the rice and yogurt course, which helps in cooling the body, still continues. So, to this day, the meal has rice for carbs, lentils and yogurt (and meat, in case of non vegetarian meal) for proteins and vegetables and rounds up as a balanced meal.

potato_fry

If you are wondering why I am preaching about a balanced meal here, the thing is I wrote the above as an article for Travel Secrets Magazine. It was published in Oct 2015 edition and I thought its a good idea for me to note it down here as well :D.

thali

BM Theme: Dry vegetable side dishes

Potato fry recipe:

Serves : 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or per taste)
  • good pinch turmeric powder
  • salt
  • 2 teaspoon oil

Method:

  1. Cook the potatoes until its just done. Peel and let it cool completely.
  2. Dice into pieces and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add salt, turmeric powder and chili powder to the oil. Mix it in.
  4. Wait for a few moments, until the chili powder starts to change color from red to brownish.
  5. Add the diced potatoes. Let it get coated with the spiced oil and cook on low – medium flame until its roasted and has a crispy coating.
  6. Carefully keep turning it in between so that all the sides are fried equally. Serve with rice and sambar.

thali1

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 58

Simple South Indian Thali – Tamil Nadu

Like it or not, we have to eat three times a day. Once the breakfast is over and you catch your breath, its time for lunch. And after a relaxed lunch, when you feel sleepy and at peace with the whole wide world, the stomach starts grumbling again.Time for dinner.

This cycle doesn’t stop. Its fine actually, I love eating different kinds of food. The snag is that I just don’t like cooking them. Not three times a day, seven days a week, four weeks a month (you get the idea).

So weekends are dedicated to restaurants. But after one point, your wallet and your stomach protest at the very thought. So when I need really good home made food, I turn to my mother in law. An awesome cook, even her everyday food is a mini thali. Like the thali here. It tastes as good as it looks too.

I made just that rasam so that I can post it here without any guilt.

Everyday Tamil Nadu Meals Menu:

  • Vegetable Dishes and Curries
    • Keerai Masial : Spinach cooked and mashed
    • Raw Banana Podimas : Cooked and grated raw bananas cooked with minimum spices
    • Rasam : Made with ginger and green chilies
    • Mor Kuzhambu : Yogurt based gravy, with ash gourd cooked in
  • Plain Rice
  • Dal
  • Sides
    • Banana Chips : Store bought, usually we have pappadom
    • Lemon Pickle : Home made
  • Sweet
    • Motichur ladoo : Store bought

Usually, rice is served with sambar/mor kuzhambu/ kuzhambu and a vegetable side dish. In some homes, two side dishes are common. A second course is with rice, rasam and the same vegetable side dish. Final round is rice and curd with pickle. Sweet is not common as part of regular meals.

Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients for Rasam:

  • Tamarind paste                    :          1 tsp
  • Toor dal                                  :           1/4 cup, cooked
  • Tomato                                   :           1, chopped fine
  • Ginger                                      :           1″ piece, chopped
  • Green Chilies                        :            1
  • Sambar powder                   :            2 tsp
  • Pepper powder                    :            1/2 tsp
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Mix the tamarind paste with two cups of water. Add the tomatoes, green chili, ginger, sambar powder, pepper powder, salt and bring it to a boil.
  2. Let it boil for 5-8 minutes, till the raw smell of tamarind goes away. Mash the tomatoes well with a ladle. Do a taste test and adjust seasonings and add one more cup of water, if required.
  3. Add the dal, let it boil for another 3-4 minutes and take off the heat.
  4. For tempering, heat one teaspoon of ghee in a small kadai. Add mustard seeds and a pinch of hing. Add 4-5 curry leaves and once it turns color, add it to the rasam. Serve hot with rice and papad.

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