Local Heart, Global Soul

June 11, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Masala Chholey (Spicy Chick Peas)

Filed under: FOOD,INDIA,Indian Cusine,PHOTOGRAPHY,Recipes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Masala Chholey (Spicy Chick Peas)

1 Cup dried chick peas (also known as chholay or chana)
1 medium onion
3-4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon whole jerra (whole cumin seeds)
1 ½ teaspoon dhania powder (corriander powder)
1 ½ teaspoons jerra powder (cumin powder)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or powder or paste)
6-7 Tablespoons chopped tin tomatoes
½ Cup tamarind water
Fresh coriander (cilantro)
Fresh chilies (optional)

Another recipe from my recent Indian cooking classes.

This one uses tamarind in the ingredients, the pulp of the fruit being contained in hard bean-like pods that hang from the tamarind tree. You buy it in a block form and to use it,  break a little piece off the block and soak it in water, the water is then what is added to the recipe. If you really like the strong taste you can also add the mushy pulp from the bottom of the cup as well. Although tamarind is a well known ingredient in  Asia and Central America it’s sour taste can take a little getting used to for western palates as we are usually only  familiar with tamarind from it’s use as the main ingredient of Worcestershire sauce.

I’ve written out the recipe as given to us by our teacher, with a few additional notes and a lot of step-by-step photographs. Let’s getting cooking!

Method: Leave the dried chick peas to soak overnight in plenty of water. Next day, add salt and boil until tender. (Chick peas cooked from dried will have a firmer texture to them than chick peas available commercially in cans). The firmer texture of the chick peas you cook yourself is normal, they don’t go really soft.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Heat the vegetable oil (don’t use olive oil because it has a very distinctive flavour that does not go well with Indian recipes) in a deep pan, add the whole jerra  (cumin seeds) and gently fry for 1 minute. Note: Be very careful not to burn the cumin seeds or your entire dish will taste bitter.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Peel and finely chop the onion. Add the chopped onions and saute until brown.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

These are the little chilies she used: I’m not certain of their name but they are about 4-6 cm (1- 2 inches) long and for us, one was spicy enough for the entire dish.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the remaining spices, coriander powder, jerra (cumin powder)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the turmeric powder…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the peeled and grated ginger and saute for approx 3 minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now add the the chopped tomatoes and stir continuously until the oil and masala (spices) separate.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When the the oil and masala (spices) separate it will look like the photograph below…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the chick peas…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now stir and add the tamarind water… this is cup with some tamarind soaked in the water…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A block of tamarind looks like this…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is the package wrapper from the tamarind…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Pouring the tamarind water into the chick pea mix…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is the more solid (now squishy) leftover tamarind in the bottom of the cup. We didn’t add this, only the watery part.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cook  some minutes more until the chick peas are well mixed with the gravy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wash and coarsely chop the coriander. (stalks and all for maximum flavour). Add the coriander garnish to the chick peas.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gently fold the coriander into the chick pea mixture….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The finished dish: the tamarind gives a distinctive taste, slightly sour which I didn’t totally like at first, but I have to say it grows on you and I would make this again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Teachers’ Note: cubes of skinned, boiled potatoes can be added if desired.

February 19, 2011

A Little Soup-Stop to Fuel the Journey…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since my foot is still out of action,  I’m treating you (in a virtual sense) to lunch in a place that I  found last summer whilst out on one of my walking tours.

My journal notes tell me that I had a mundane list of shopping to do that day and that one of the  items needed picking up from near here.

I happen to know that there are some very nice buildings in the area that I have been meaning to photograph so my pocket camera went into my jacket and I decided to take a small random walk along some streets I hadn’t been down in for ages.

Time ticked away and I got hungry and thirsty, but it was early afternoon already.

I wanted more than just a bottle of water on the run and less than a meal… so when I spied this small café on the Koningin Emmakade, I stopped to see what was on offer. I enter via the small garden entrance on the Weimarstraat, and take a table in the sunshine.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

An item under “soups” caught my eye.

“pittig  zoete aardappel soep” (spicy sweet potato soup)  it said,  for Euro 5,50…  sounds interesting, … sold to the Kiwidutch.

I ordered.

This probably can’t really be considered a “real”  Café review because one bowl of soup may or may not maketh enough information to base a judgment on, but I can tell you that I enjoyed the soup enough to resolve to go back for a  more substantial lunch in the future.

The brown full grain bread served with it was tasty and the service was fine too.

I’ll be keeping this place in mind for future reference.

I finished my lunch and sufficiently refueled, set out to continue  my walking tour.

EetCafe De Klap

Koningin Emmakade 118-A
2518 JJ Den Haag
Tel: 070 3454060

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 3, 2011

Spicy Parsnip and Carrot Soup… Easy Step-by-Step WONDERFUL!

Filed under: FOOD — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In a follow-up to yesterday’s post,  where I made Kung Pao Chicken for our lunch meeting guests, I also had a soup that preceded the main course.
This soup has become a staple winter favourite in our house for the last three years, and is a favourite not least because it has been part of my adventures with parsnip  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/new-227/.

This is also THE soup that prompted “I-think-I-have-always-hated-soup”  Himself to rethink his views.

As a member of the ex-Recipezaar website (now known as Food.Com) I found this recipe posted by member “Patchwork-Dragon”    http://www.food.com/recipe/spicy-parsnip-and-carrot-soup-203270 and it has been a feature at family buffet meals, entertaining  with friends as well as being a winter treat on our dinner table.

If you make this recipe, I’m sure she would be delighted if you could please be so kind as to leave her a review.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Over the years I have to confess to making a few personal changes: here are my notes:

– I have substituted red (or green) curry paste for the curry powder and we all prefer the deeper, more subtle complex flavours that it brings to the recipe.Add it carefully, starting with a small teaspoon and you will find a wonderful tangy (but not too fiery) heat in the aftertaste… fear not ! even fussy guests have come back for seconds. Experiment a little and increase to add more heat if you prefer. Personally we like spicy so use a heaped teaspoon of  curry paste.

– using curry powder instead of curry paste gives quite a different flavour… also, I found that adding it when cooking the veggies or at the end also changes the flavour.  I now prefer to use curry paste and to add it only at the blender stage, after the vegetables are totally cooked. The flavours stay more “pure” we think.

– I have added several peeled and diced potatoes to the recipe as they are a natural thickener and  we love this soup thick!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

– After running out of milk on time,  I now skip the milk in the recipe as we found we liked it better without.

– I add plenty of freshly ground pepper, some whole bayleaf, but no salt. (Shhhhh ….No-one I’ve served it to knows this and nobody has missed it yet!)

– Cooking the vegetables in the olive oil before adding any other liquid gives amazing flavour.. skipping this step does make a difference to the result! ( I sometimes add a tablespoon of butter to the olive oil for a little extra yum factor)

I have given the recipe per the original and added my extras as “optional”

Ingredients:
1 onion
450g parsnips (1 lb)
225g carrots  (1/2 lb)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
350 ml vegetable stock
300 ml skim milk
salt and pepper

1 small teaspoon Green (or Red) curry paste (or to taste)  (optional)

3 potatoes, peeled and diced ( cook with carrot and parsnip) (optional)

2 bayleaf ( cook with vegetables but remove before blending!) (optional)

Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and cut parsnips and carrots into evenly sized pieces.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the vegetables, coat with oil,and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, for a minute.
Stir in the stock and milk. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are soft.
Allow to cool a little, and then puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. If it’s too thick for your liking add more stock.

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is when I like to add the curry paste…

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s the consistancy of mashed potato so I add some water to thin it….

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I took these photos after it came out of the fridge and before heating it in the crock-pot later, so it looks thicker now than it  ended up being when we served it. ( and the very top photo in this post is of an earlier batch, but still the same soup)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Reheat gently to serve.

…and Enjoy!

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