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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Curried Kala Chana in Coconut Milk

The month of September this year is probably my busiest month.  I'm out of town all week with little room for innovation in the kitchen and on the weekends, there are a plethora of activities and invitations planned.  This leaves me approximatley 1/2 day a week to become intimately involved in my own kitchen with all its spices and tools, and dry ingredients (since I haven't been shopping much for my empty house).  When I finally do get cozy, I want comfort and regeneration.  Something that will wipe the stress and fatigue away and get me ready and willing to face the crazy upcoming week.
Anything involving chickpeas, beans, or daal does the trick..
Serves 6
1 cup black chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked until tender in the crockpot
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
Pinch hing
1 inch piece ginger, grated 
1 green chili, split and seeded
3 garlic cloves, grated
2 medium shallots, sliced
1 large carrot, grated
1 tomato, chopped
10 small cubes frozen spinach (about 200g)
1 can coconut milk
3 Tbsp dried methi (fenugreek leaves)
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 cup reserved chickpea cooking water
Salt to taste
chopped green onions for garnish
1.  Heat the coconut oil on high in a wok or tadka and add the cumin, mustard, fennel, and fenugreek seeds.  Cook until the seeds start to sputter, about 30 seconds.
2.  Add the turmeric and hing.  It should fizz, then add the ginger, garlic, and green chili.  Cook until fragrant.
3.  Add the shallots and carrots.  Cook until the shallots are translucent, about 2-3 minutes, stirring.
4.  Add in the tomato and spinach.  You want the tomato to "melt" a bit.
5.  Add the coconut milk.  Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 5 minutes.  The spinach should be completely thawed.  If you choose to use fresh, it should be wilted.
6.  Add in the kala chana, lim, and methi.  Bring to a boil.  If too thick, add in some of the cooking water from the kala chana.  I added about 1 cup.  Taste and add salt as needed.
7.  Simmer on low until ready to eat.  I left mine about 30 minutes on a very very low simmer.

Serve over some rice and topped with some chopped green onions.
I cooked my basmati/red rice in the kala chana cooking water, so it came out brownish, but I really felt I needed to use up every nutrient I had available for my regeneration to be complete.
I also roasted some chicken thighs in some tandoori chicken spices, but that it completely optional.  I enjoyed this so much I'm already dreaming about having it again for lunch tomorrow..
there is something about mixing chickpeas with spinach, coconut, and rice that makes me feel born again.. 
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