Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chickpeas and Split Peas with Mint and Tamarind

Mint and tamarind are interesting additions to an otherwise pretty standard chickpea dish.  My using a can of tomatoes instead of a few fresh ones probably helped steer this dish towards its chana masala friends, too.

The flavors here were great, but I found myself wishing it were less dry.  I used canned chickpeas, and I cooked them and the mung beans for a really long time, so I can only guess that cooking with more oil might have helped?

Chickpeas and Chana dal in a Tamarind-Mint Sauce
(adapted from taste space)

1.5 c cooked chickpeas
1/2 c chana dal or yellow split peas, picked over, washed, and drained
1/2 TB peeled and finely chopped garlic
1/2 TB finely chopped ginger
1-2 fresh hot green chiles (seeds removed), finely chopped [we used 3 deseeded red volcanic peppers]
1/2-1 c mint leaves, packed, washed, and coarsely chopped (we used 1/2 cup and this wasn’t minty, so you could use more)
1-3 TB canola oil (I used 1 TB--see headnote)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes and juice
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garam masala
1-2 TB thick tamarind paste (or fresh lemon juice), to taste

1. Simmer split peas in water (I added a pinch each of salt and turmeric) 1.5 to 2 hours, or until tender.  Add chickpeas and set aside.
2. Combine the garlic, ginger, green chiles, and mint leaves in the container of a blender.  Add 3-4 tablespoons of water as needed and blend, pushing down the mixture with a rubber spatula several times, until pureed.  Set the minty mixture aside.
3. Heat the oil in a wide, medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and stir and fry until they are a rich, reddish brown.  Add the tomatoes. Stir and cook until the tomatoes reduce and darken and the oil begins to show at the sides of the pan.  Add the green spice paste and stir over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  Add the chickpeas and their cooking liquid, then stir in the salt, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and tamarind paste, mixing thoroughly.  Cover, lower the heat, and simmer gently for 30 minutes.  Serves about 4.


Other culinary silliness: Chocolate T-Rexes, using one of several amazing cookie cutters that Sarah gave me for my birthday.  Chocolate wiener dogs also occurred.


And a delicious breakfast: sprouted rye bread with miso and tahini, then mashed avocado, lemon juice, and pepper.  Will I ever be able to leave southern California?  Happiness is an avocado tree in October.


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