In a moment of Gillian McKeith righteousness, I bought a large packet of dried chickpeas (apparently so much better than the tinned type), which has sat in our store for a few weeks pitifully looking at me for use. Their initial release came last night, into a bowl of cold water, to soak and swell for the night. But what to do this morning? I'm bored of endless supplies of humous and wanted to try something new. Pinterest beckoned with it's halls and halls of beautiful images all crying 'pick me, pick me' --- 'pin me, pin me'.
The one that caught my eye was Saveur's Chana Masala - mainly because it starts from the basics - where seeds can be used you'll see no dusty tasting ground spices here, it's the long way around but it's worth it. I added some dried apricots from my store cupboard, and also recommend a little more salt than the original recipe, but the result was a hot tangy bowl full of all the good stuff that my acupuncturist and Gillian McKeith both love. Whilst Chana Masala probably won't get me Nigella's rosie cheeks, it did leave my tongue on fire and panting for more.
The first, and most important, part is: SOAK your chickpeas the night before you intend to eat this! If you're being lazy, then just leave them in the comfort of their tin until you're ready. Obviously you'll have a store cupboard full of all the spices you need, and I'd recommend getting all your ingredients lined up (in just the same way that you need to do for Jamie's 15 minute meals).
2 tbsp. minced ginger
3 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. ground turmeric
8 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup elianto or olive oil
2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3 green cardamom pods
2 chillies (I used 4, but that's because I like the burny tongue feeling)
1 stick cinnamon
1 large yellow onions, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped (or use a can of tomatoes)
2 tbsp. Asian tamarind concentrate
5 dried apricots - halved
2 cups or dry chickpeas OR 3 x 15-oz. cans chickpeas
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Maldon Sea Salt, to taste (or if you don't have Maldon, opt for normal sea salt flakes)
Fresh coriander, to garnish
Start by cooking your chickpeas. Drain from soaking, and boil in plenty of water, over a high heat for 30 minutes or until they are starting to tenderize.
In the meantime, measure out the rest of your ingredients. Put the ginger, garam masala, turmeric, garlic and 3 tbsp of water into a food processor (I find a soup blender works best). If you don't have one, don't panic! Just chop everything up as finely as you can and mix it to make a paste. Set aside.
Heat oil over a medium heat, and add coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, chillies and cinnamon. The heat will release incredible fragrances; let them escape for about a minute and then add your onions. Brown for about 8 minutes, and then add your paste. As the moisture of the paste collides with your hot fried onions, the most amazing aromas will release. Savour these for a few minutes, and then add in tomatoes. If you're using fresh tomatoes, add a bit of water so they don't burn. Reduce, add tamarind, apricots and chickpeas (with their remaining cooking water - if there is very little, add some more), and bring to the boil. Reduce to a good tempered simmer and leave for 45 minutes.
Taste and season with salt, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and squeeze over some lime juice. Serve with rice if you need a hearty(er) meal!