Thursday, February 3, 2011

Channa Masala

Yesterday was Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, so an early spring has been predicted. The mere hope of saying farewell to winter, be it a day or a week or two weeks early, makes me want to dance.

We had a few hours of spring yesterday morning as well. The temps were in the mid-40’s for several hours, although they quickly fell and brought us back into winter. Just after I woke, I went to a radiator in one of the upstairs rooms to say good morning to Spooky (who spends his nights under the covers with us, then for some reason will leave around 7am for the radiator in the next room). I looked outside and saw a beautiful rainbow, even though it was not raining. What a nice gift-- a rainbow in February! It was so beautiful, each band of color blending almost seamlessly into the other, and it stretched in a perfect arc. If I had been dressed I would have been tempted to run outside to see if I could find the pot of gold at the end. But… which end? Anyway, as I watched the winds kicked up and a bank of dark clouds erased the rainbow.

By noon, the temperature outside had started to fall and ominous clouds rolled in. I noticed that I had just a small amount of cooked chickpeas in the freezer, so I decided to make channa masala for lunch. I have used this recipe for several years and do not know the source, but it is a lunchtime favorite in winter. Although probably not “authentic” to the dish, I like to add some vegetables so peas and bell pepper are added to the onion-spice-chickpea mixture. This time I had a partial can of diced tomatoes in the refrigerator, so I used those instead of tomato sauce. We both decided that we prefer the sauce.

The spice mixture of garam masala, coriander, cumin, ginger, and turmeric is very fragrant and this is a perfect dish to warm up with on a cold winter day. I used a mix of brown and white basmati rice.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Channa Masala

Servings: 2

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

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1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon canola oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 medium garlic cloves -- crushed

8 ounces tomato sauce

8 ounces cooked chickpeas -- (about one 15-ounce can, drained)

1/3 cup frozen green peas -- thawed

chopped fresh cilantro

chopped cashews

Prepare rice, as desired.

Mix spices in a small cup and set aside.

Heat oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion and bell pepper until softened. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the spice mixture and stir for a minute. Pour in the tomato sauce and mix well, then add the green peas and chickpeas and stir. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the hear, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

Serve over hot, steamed rice. Garnish with the cilantro and/ or cashews as desired.

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Per serving: 293 Calories (kcal); 6g Total Fat (1g saturated); (16% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 50g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 1257mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates