Chana Masala is a Gateway Drug

Last night, I cleared my schedule and decided to make smitten kitchen’s chana masala. I’d made it once before, but it had been with a bunch of friends over and there were so many hands involved I didn’t have a clear sense of how long it would take. Turns out, that dish takes about ten minutes to prep: Chop two onions (two minutes), press garlic (1 minute), add excessive amounts of spices (5 minutes), add tomatoes, chickpeas, and water (two minutes).

so many spices!

I kid you not, it literally took me five minutes of running back and forth between the recipe and the spices and measuring spoons. There are SO MANY SPICES. I finally understood why many cultures think American (and British) food is so boring– the only dish that I think comes close to containing that many spices is pumpkin pie. And we make that once or twice a year. And it’s dessert, which totally doesn’t count.

Anyhow, after adding everything, the dish simmers for ten minutes, you add some salt and lemon juice, and that’s it. I had so much extra time I cleaned the kitchen! And then ate a very, very tasty dinner!

Problem is–now I’ve got all of these delicious spices and I want to make more delicious dinner foods! Can anyone recommend some extremely excellent Indian recipes that are similarly tasty and easy?


4 Responses

  1. Buy 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer. 660 delicious and easy recipes.

  2. Ooh! I checked it out and it looks GREAT. I ordered a copy from Thanks for the tip!

  3. You can mix the spices with yogurt, ginger and garlic for an amazing marinade.

  4. once you have the spice mix everything else is pretty easy.

    I often mix it with roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, onions, red lentils, canned tomatoes, and enough water or stock to cook the lentils and then serve the curry with mango chutney and homemade flatbreads. The curry freezes pretty well too. Sometimes I throw in cabbage too.

    Or you can add it to a bunch of cooked spinach, tofu, some stock or apple juice and a little yogurt and make tofu saag.

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