Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vegetables in Chickpea Flour Gravy, Indian Style

My Indian cooking guru, Manjula, made an interesting dish this week called Sindhi Kadhi, or vegetables in gram flour gravy.  It looked interesting, and I thought I had all the ingredients, except the curry leaves, in my massive spice collection.  Manjula is the goddess of Indian cooking, and her recipes have never let me down, so I thought I'd give it a try today, and then eat it for lunches next week.

First up was measuring the spices.  Whoops, no fenugreek. How about some black mustard seeds instead?  I was so SURE that I had fenugreek.  Whoops, no tamarind paste, but I do have a bottle of Maggi's Tamarina sauce, so that will do.  She says to use oil to saute, but I don't want to open a new bottle of peanut oil just yet... how about some coconut oil?  What to do about the missing 10 curry leaves.... well, maybe 3 bay leaves will suffice?  Hey, is this even Sindhi Kadhi anymore?

I kept tasting as I added spices...  Near the end of the cooking time, it was delicious and mild and smooth, but I wanted to eat it over rice for lunches.  I thought it needed a little more punch, so I added the tamarind the recipe called for which didn't do much of anything, and then it came to me - garam masala!  1 tsp of garam masala did the trick!  Aromatic, spicy and slightly hot.  Delicious!

This entire recipe made about 9 cups at 1043 calories.  If I dropped the Tamarina, you could subtract 132 calories.

The basic method is to make a brown roux with some fat and the chickpea flour, add in the liquid, spices and veggies of choice and let it simmer for a bit before finishing off with the addition of some more flavorings.

What I would do differently next time (and there will be a next time): Cut the salt down to 1 tsp.  Cut out the tamarind completely, or add some sour mango powder, which I happen to have, for the hint of sourness the tamarind is supposed to bring to the dish, but lemon or lime juice would suffice as well.   Add a teaspoon or so of Panch Phoran whole spices instead of the fenugreek Manjula calls to replace the black mustard seed I used this time This would be good made with 4 C water and stir in 1 C half and half at the end, but I don't want the added fat or calories right now.  I'm filing that idea away for the future, though.

This puts me in mind of Issa's Chickpea Gravy, though, and you could spice this up to mimic her recipe which is SUPERB. Think how yummy this gravy would be with some breakfast sausage over biscuits, or with Italian sausage over pasta.  Or rice.  Or in a bowl, with a spoon.  Make it with white wine, garlic and shrimp over grits.  I am reeling with all the possibilities. Nom.

Indian Style Vegetables in Chickpea Flour Gravy

3 Tbs coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp panch phoran (opt)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 fenugreek seeds (opt)
10 fresh curry leaves (replace with 3 dried bay leaves)
3 dried whole red peppers (I used dried arbol peppers)
1/4 tsp asafetida or 1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs freshly grated ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 C besan (chickpea flour)
5 C water
1 lb mixed vegetables
1 small potato, cubed
1 tsp garam masala
3 Tbs tamarind (opt, or 1 Tbs lemon juice)

Heat oil over high heat, and add cumin, panch phoran, mustard and fenugreek seeds, stirring until they start popping.  Reduce heat to medium and stir in leaves, peppers, asafetida or garlic, turmeric, chili powder, ginger and salt, and stir for another minute, then stir in the chickpea flour to make a roux.  Keep stirring so that it doesn't stick or burn, until it is lightly toasted and golden brown.  Gradually stir in the water, making sure that there are no lumps. Bring to a boil, add the vegetables, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until vegetables are tender.  Stir in tamarind (if using) and garam masala, and  simmer another five minutes.  Light mash the vegetables, taste for salt and pepper, and stir well.

Serve as a soup, or over rice.  Makes about 9 cups, each cup is 116 calories (with tamarind, less without)

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