More than a few years ago, my sister and I went to an Indian restaurant with my dad and enjoyed some delicious chana masala – only to find out a few hours later that the chickpeas had been presoaked in lemon juice which neither of us can handle in large amounts. Since then I’ve been more than a little scared of this delicious chickpea dish, until Joe’s cousin made a lemon-free batch last summer. That incredible dinner gave me the boost I needed to try making chana masala at home, and based on my husband’s reaction I have a feeling it will be happening pretty regularly. Not only does it come together in record time, it features ingredients that I almost always have in my pantry – making it perfect for those oh so crazy weekday nights!
I served this with some curry spinach, not quite palak but a bit more than the standard creamed spinach as well, and some brown rice. My spinach recipe still needs a bit of work but I hope to share it shortly, assuming I figure out the perfect ratio of spinach to everything else!
Every now and then I tend to bite off more than I can chew when it comes to blog challenges, and this week’s r/52weeksofcooking is a prime example. The theme this week was Indian which is a cuisine I’m familiar with and have done a few times in the past. However I wanted to try something different so instead of my standard tomato based curry I decided to attempt a yogurt based dish, and then go the extra step in making it vegan. I researched a variety of different dishes before finally deciding on Navratan Korma which translates to Nine Gems Curry. For my nine gems I settled on: peas, green beans, Indian Eggplant, green bell pepper, tofu (or paneer), Indian red chilies, shallots, cashews, and carrots. I debated about using cauliflower or broccoli but it’s still too early in the season for them and couldn’t find any at the local market. Needless to say this is a very (very!!!) prep-heavy dish with lots of cleaning and cutting.
I started prep work with the tofu in order to give it time to press before moving on to the eggplant, for similar reasons, and then all the remaining vegetables. To figure out the right spices I looked at a variety of online recipes before finally settling on the below combination. For a more traditional dish use paneer in place of tofu, just keep it mind it will cook a lot faster than tofu and might require additional vegetable oil in order to brown.
I served the cashews only on top of mine since I couldn’t find a bag that was marked in such a way to indicate it was 100% peanut free. This dish might have taken a while to get started but it’s incredibly quick to come together and delicious – making all the cutting worth it! I also have a feeling this dish would work well in a slow cooker and look forward to testing that theory shortly.
Note: I’m submitting this to the So Delicious Dairy Free Recipe Contest