Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chana Masala

Apna Bazaar may be one of my new favorite places. Located in a shopping center with Asia Market, which by far has the best, most flavorful Chinese restaurant in Austin, this little grocery store packs a lot of punch. The owner gladly helped me with the 50-foot wall of spices to find what I needed to make my first today into Indian food, chana masala. I found everything but forgot the cardamom pods - twice! I'll have to remember next time. The owner's wife also make samosas nightly for sale in the store and runs spice introduction classes from time to time.

Inspired by Orangette's posted recipe, chana masala is a spicy chickpea dish with tomatoes and onions. The chickpeas in this recipe were canned, but fresh would probably yield even better results. After tasting it fresh out of the pan without yogurt last night, my lips were burning for a good five minutes (okay, so I doubled the cayenne...) but the yogurt made the flavors much milder and the interesting mix of spices shone though. I made it last night and had it reheated today (as was recommended) and it was really good!

This dish came together quickly, and I was impressed with how much of a flavor punch was delivered for little effort. If my mother made Indian food when we were growing up, this would be a staple in her kitchen. It's like a big warm hug.