Sharma's Chickpeas
(or, Chana Masala)


I'm recording this mostly for myself, but since I'm posting this on the web I suppose I'll explain a bit.

My friend Sharma makes a terrific chickpea dish. It's called chana masala, except that Sharma's version (he says) is a little different from what another Indian might expect. It's awfully good, and not too hard to make.

This is the recipe exactly as we made it on May 24, 2004. It makes a ton, maybe enough to feed a person for a week. Feel free to laugh at me for recording the precise weight of each ingredient we used.

There are two specialty ingredients, chana masala (same name as the whole dish) and parathas. We can buy both at our tiny local asian grocery, so they're probably pretty easy to get. Chana masala is a blend of spices intended just for this dish. It comes in a little box. Parathas are a sort of Indian bread. They can be bought pre-made and frozen.

Other than that, it's worth noting that Sharma prefers it with a couple of large red onions instead of the white. Oh, and chai is just great for after dinner. Also, I'm thinking a few blackberries would be good with the meal.


and on the side,
Note on the cumin seeds: I just tried to make this again, and I'm pretty sure that .6 oz. of cumin seeds is just wrong. So, until I can remeasure we go back to Sharma style directions (which are why I'm measuring in the first place): Use "a decent amount" of cumin. .6 ounces is an indecent amount.

Prepare the ingredients, washing and chopping everything. Put the pot on high heat and add oil. Add mustard seeds when the oil starts to boil. Add cumin seeds when mustard seeds are popping vigorously. Wait until the cumin seeds turn a uniform brown, then add the onions and the chilis. Turn down the heat a bit and stir, mixing the seeds well with the onions. When the onions turn "golden brown", stir in the tomatoes. Wait for the mixture to get a little soggy, stirring occasionally. This takes a few minutes, maybe three to five. Put in the chickpeas and stir everything up. Sprinkle in the masala, chili powder and salt. Stir occasionally until it seems done. This was right away for us.

Serve immediately with parathas and yogurt. The parathas need to be warmed in the frying pan until they brown a bit. This doesn't take long. The whole recipe is quite fast, except that it takes a while to chop up the onions and tomatoes.