Everytime I go to the supermarket, I see MDH’s Chana Masala powder mix. Now, I’ve used it before…but not for its intended purpose. I see the happy picture on the box and I wonder if chickpeas can really be that glamorous? I bought the box and decided to take the plunge.
After watching the culinary superawesomeness of Ms. Manjula, in her Youtube contribution, I felt a teensy bit more knowledgeable about preparing the dish. Manjula cooks hers with ginger, and by golly, so will I! Her recipe calls for fresh chiles, which I did not have around.
Chole, a.k.a., Chana Masala
- 1 lb dried chickpeas, which expands to at least 2lb after soaking overnight (about $.80 – I got a 2 kg bag for under $3.00);
- 1 can of whole tomatoes, which I then chopped (guessing: about $1.50 – fresh is better, and that’s what Manjula did, but, the available tomatoes looked kinda waxy and were still superexpensive);
- 1 extremely large onion, almost 1lb (guessing: $1.00 worth);
- 1.5 cubic inches of ginger (guessing: $.50 worth);
- 1/5 of the package of MDH chana masala powder – about 2 tablespoons (about $.35);
- cooking oil (pennies);
- salt* (I threw in three generous dashes of fish sauce); an
- pressure cooker.
“Cavalier” is the word I would use to describe how I cooked this. I put the burner under the pressure cooker on medium high, and threw the MDH in when the oil was nearly smoking. Fortunately, I had chopped everything in advance, so in the onion, tomato and ginger went, surely preventing a small kitchen fire. And then the cooked chickpeas. Since I had undercooked the chickpeas the first time around, it took me a while to pressure everything together…probably about 25 minutes in aggregate – pressured it, for 15 minutes, checked it, and then pressured it some more.
You might see the burn marks on one of the chickpeas in the top picture. I would recommend just simmering it (in a regular pan) for 40 minutes like the package recommends – might need a little more water than just the canned tomatoes I used here. I like it just really chunky and with very firm chickpeas. Indira of Mahanandi makes a puree of some of the chickpeas to thicken it a bit. Maybe next time, I’ll try it that way. But I am definitely making this again. So good, and so easy!
Smells absolutely great when you are cooking it. Tastes even better the next day – very microwave-friendly. And is a fabulous lunch, even when cold. Likely makes at least 10 servings (yields almost 4 lbs) for less than $4.50 – less than $.45 per serving.
#8 in a series of my posts about recipes yielding meals for under $1.00 per serving:
- Madras Chicken Curry in the Tundra for less than $1.00: even better than it sounds;
- approximately Sailu’s adraki kebabs – less than $0.50 per serving;
- maximally lazy and frugal version of feijoada (under $0.25 per serving) // Year of the Boar post #2;
- antioxidant red cabbage and sweet potato curry – about $1.00 per serving;
- When the stars make you drool just like Pasta Fazool, that’s Amore…(about $.50 per serving); and
- Three Bean Salad: antidote to winter, super convenient and less than $1.00 per serving!
P.S. There is such a thing as Indian Chinese food, as in, Chinese food interpreted by Indian nationals. Me adding fish sauce, well, I just like it, but I suppose I can get away with calling it some kind of “fusion” technique!
P.P.S. I put the chole on a little plate because I adore being able to see the chickpeas themselves and because I liked the plate. In reality, I prefer eat more than 1.5 tablespoons of food at a time.
* If you leave out the fish sauce, of course, it will be vegan.