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?

Quick & Easy Chickpea Salad

(Amounts are equal to three gallons (feeds about 40-50); adjust to your party’s size!)

6 cucumbers, peeled & chopped

4 cans black olives, sliced

4 large cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 large container of crumbled feta (optional)

Mix all ingredients together, add salt and pepper, then drizzle olive oil & balsamic vinegar to taste. If preparing in advance, chop everything but keep it separate until just before the event.