Friday, February 03, 2006

Potato Chana Curry

This recipe comes from Madhur Jaffrey's amazing cookbook, World Vegetarian. It's like 1000 pages of recipes, so obviously some are better than others. The one I made tonight, a Caribbean potato-chickpea curry from Trinidad, was OK but not as unique as I expected. It involves so many spices, and even has a habanero in it, but it's still fairly bland. Maybe it's because I didn't use fresh herbs? Also, I didn't have amchar masala (a Caribbean spice blend) so I used garam masala (an Indian spice blend). It was good, but not a make-again.

Potato Chana Curry
pg 33 of World Vegetarian

1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked (Note: I used canned chickpeas)
2 Tbsp finely chopped culantro or cilantro
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
2 scallions, white parts only, cut into very fine rounds
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
1/4 finely chopped Scotch Bonnet or other fresh hot chile (I used an entire habanero)
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup peanut or canola oil (I only used maybe 4 Tbsp)
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp hot curry powder, such as Madras
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 x 3/4 inch chunks
2 tsp amchar masala (I used garam masala)

Put the drained chickpeas in a bowl. Add the culantro, chives, scallions, parsley, thyme, Scotch bonnet, and 1 tsp of the salt. Mix gently and set aside.

In a large, wide pot or deep frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and stir-fry for about 4 minutes, or until the onion pieces turn brown at the edges. Put in the garlic; stir-fry for another minute. Now add the curry powder and stir once or twice. Quickly add the potatoes, chickpeas, remaining tsp of salt, and enough water to barely cover the potatoes and chickpeas- about 1 1/4 cups. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Stir in the amchar masala and cook another 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 4-6 servings.

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