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Baby-Butts and a Confession

La Petite Maison Verte: Baby-Butts and a Confession

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Baby-Butts and a Confession

When we were kids, my sisters and I used to joke that chickpeas look like tiny baby-size butts.  You've got to admit, the likeness is hard to deny.....Well, in addition to that fun coincidence, these beans also just so happen to be a great source of protein and fiber and they're a low G.I. carbohydrate which is important as this prevents a spike in blood sugar after eating.  So the take home message here:  eat your baby-butt beans!

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I want to share this recipe for Chana Masala:  it's an Indian chickpea stew that I had (prior to making this recipe) only eaten at Indian restaurants or in Amy's Organic Indian frozen meals.  I try to avoid frozen, prepared foods these days but there was a time not too long ago that I would frequently purchase Amy's Indian Mattar Paneer and Palak Paneer when Brian was deployed or if I was eating dinner alone.  Yes, I confess I used to stockpile Amy's frozen Indian entrees and other frozen single-serving meals {cough-Lean Cuisines and Lean Pockets-cough}.    

Fast-forward to Today's Julia:  a wiser, healthier, more kitchen-confident Julia.  And I have this recipe to share.  It comes from Jenna at Eat, Live, Run and as opposed to most recipes, I only slightly adapted it since it was my first time cooking Indian food at home (I'm not counting the times I've used Trader Joe's Tikka Masala simmer sauce over chicken).  The only changes I made were to use half the amount of jalapeno and half of the recommended cayenne pepper...because I'm a complete spice-wimp.  That being said, with my changes it wasn't spicy AT ALL and Brian said he would have liked a bit more heat.  Even so, Brian and I loved it and it definitely beats Amy's frozen chana masala.  And since it was on the table (start to finish) in LESS than 30  minutes you better believe I won't be reaching for the frozen version any time soon!

Chana Masala
serves 4
only slightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run 

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped (next time I would use 1 whole jalapeno)
1 teaspoon minced ginger (or a 1 inch knob, peeled and finely minced)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (you can increase this depending on how spicy you want it)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or less, to taste)
2 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 lemon, juiced

greek yogurt and/or chopped cilantro, for serving (optional)

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and cook on medium - medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until golden brown.  

Once the onions have caramelized, add the garlic, jalapeno pepper and ginger and cook another 2 minutes, stirring all ingredients together.  

Add tomato paste to pan and stir into sauteed vegetables, immediately increase heat to medium-high and use a spoon or spatula to flatten down everything onto the bottom of the pan.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until a crust forms on the bottom of the tomato-paste/onion mixture.  

Add coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, turmeric and sea salt and stir well.  Add chickpeas, diced tomatoes and garam masala.  Cook for about 5 minutes until chickpeas have heated through, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, giving one last stir to make sure it is thoroughly combined.  Serve warm with or without greek yogurt and fresh cilantro.

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At October 26, 2011 at 1:00 PM , Anonymous HeidiRob said... beans!! I'm going to make this and let you know how it turns out. Maybe with some saag paneer - got a recipe for that?

At October 26, 2011 at 1:48 PM , Anonymous Jules said...

No, I haven't! Is it the same as palak-paneer? I am dying to make palak-panner but I need to find a source for paneer cheese first. I haven't found any Indian groceries in the area yet....perhaps I need to learn to make that too - ha!

At October 26, 2011 at 3:23 PM , Anonymous -Colleen & Ben said...

oh my goodness I LOVE BABY BUTT BEANS!!
I am making this ASAP!!!

At October 26, 2011 at 3:24 PM , Anonymous -Colleen & Ben said...

btw is garam masala a spice?

At October 26, 2011 at 7:22 PM , Anonymous Jules said...

Colleen - Garam Masala is a blend of Indian spices. They don't sell it everywhere (I had a little trouble finding it) but I was able to get it at a health foods store in town. They sell it in bulk, so I just got a little bag worth, you only need a teaspoon - a little goes a long way.


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