Nate and I are absolutely obsessed with Indian food. We love the curries and spices; the numb feeling our faces get after eating a really hot dish is just a nice side effect.
The problem with Indian food is that it’s really difficult to find genuinely delicious Indian food restaurants, even in the DC area, and often the recipes we’ve tried turn out okay, but not great. And our expectations are high.
So, when SK debuted chana masala on her site just a few weeks ago, I hesitated. Any dish that includes a healthy injection of garam masala is okay by me, but could it possibly be as good as the masalas I’ve had at my favorite Indian food restaurants (Heritage India in DC and Akbar in Columbia, since you asked)?
Turns out, absolutely. SK’s recipe (adapted from a recipe by the famous Madhur Jaffrey) includes a lot of spices — so many, in fact, that we had to leave out a few — but the result is spicy, smoky, and really delicious. And it takes maybe half an hour to pull together (gotta love vegetarian dishes).
We didn’t have ground coriander, so we just left it out. We also didn’t have cumin seeds to toast, so we substituted with an extra shake or two of ground cumin. We don’t own amchoor powder, so we took SK’s advice and used the juice of a lemon instead. Oh, and we left out the chili pepper (I forgot to pick it up during our snow-frenzied dash to the grocery store).
We like spicy food, so we went with the recommended 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne. But if you shy away from heat, a 1/4 teaspoon will work just fine and still give you that great red pepper taste.
Nate and I are so happy with how this turned out (it tasted authentic to us), and are thrilled that it made a lot of food (plenty for dinner, lunch, and a midnight snackeroo).