For Shinae Choi Robinson ‘s Indian Cookalong Event see here:

Originally shared by Rajini Rao

Channa Masala

1. Chickpeas: If you are using dry chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soak overnight and cook with plenty of water until softened. I like to add some flavoring during cooking (a bay leaf, a dash of oil, salt to taste, a clove of garlic,3-4 whole peppercorns and cloves). If using canned, drain and set aside.

2. Potatoes: Boil 3-4 potatoes in their skin. Peel (or leave the skin on), cut into big cubes, and set aside.

3. Spice Blend: Using a spice mill, clean coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, coarsely grind 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 3-4 peppercorns, 2 cloves. You can use more or less of each, just keep the proportions similar.

Substitute with powdered spices (milder flavor): 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tbsp coriander powder and 1 tsp cumin powder.

4.Finely mince: 2 small onions, 2 green chillies (optional), 1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, 2 cloves of garlic. I like to use a food processor to chop them all together.

5. Caramelize onions: To make the gravy, begin by heating a couple tbsp vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the minced onion mixture and cook on high for a few minutes, stirring, while the onions lose water. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until the onions turn light brown and pull away from the sides of the pan. Stir occasionally, don’t let it burn.

6. Tomatoes: Chop 2-3 tomatoes, add to the onion mixture and continue cooking.

7. Spices: Add the freshly ground or powdered spices. Add a tsp of turmeric powder and a quarter tsp of chilli powder/cayenne pepper (optional). Also add salt to taste and a good pinch of sugar to balance flavor. Mix in the spices while on low heat.

8. Potatoes: Add the cubed potatoes, and mix them in.

9. Chickpeas: Add the cooked chickpeas in their water. If using canned, add drained chickpeas and then add a cup or more of water to make a gravy of your choice of thickness (it will continue to thicken).

10. Garnish: After the chickpeas have simmered in their tomato-spice broth, squeeze in half a lemon (or lime) and garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves. If it seems too spicy, you can add a dash of cream or a dollop of yogurt just before taking it off the heat.

Serve hot, with the _pulao rice, cucumber raita and optional store bought naan (Indian bread).

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91 Responses to COOKALONG RECIPE POST #2

  1. Martha E Fay says:

    I want to know how to make saag

  2. It would be easier to come over for dinner? ^_^

  3. Martha E Fay says:

    Rajini’s too far away for dinner and I adore saag

  4. Rajini Rao says:

    Come on over, Gabriel Trujillo 🙂

    Martha E Fay , I’ll find you a recipe. Do  you mean saag (spinach) by itself, or do you want it with paneer or potatoes?

  5. Martha E Fay says:

    I add paneer or chicken.  I haven’t been able to find a recipe I can follow though occasionally I’ve gotten close.  Mainly, I get plain saag for take-out and then add chicken or paneer.  Or just eat it plain.

  6. What about spectators at this event? Can the guys just sit and watch the ladies cook?

  7. Rajini Rao says:

    Spectators welcome, but there is no’re just going to have to hang around virtually and give us moral support 🙂 The way it works is that people post pictures of their versions to the event page, ask questions, offer suggestions and so on. One can even cook at another time altogether and add to the page.

  8. Looks great. I’m going to try my hand at this today. 

  9. Oh I see… Thanks! – I was only joking anyway. I’m sure you know 🙂

  10. Rajini Rao says:

    You were joking? Noooooooo!


  11. Jan Moren says:

    Made sag paneer a couple of times at home. Paneer is surprisingly easy to make yourself (well, if you’re not from India and know how it’s supposed to taste I guess). We’ll have to try this one!

  12. Rajini Rao says:

    Agree about the paneer, Jan Moren ..all one needs is cheese cloth to strain the fresh curds. You can substitute chickpeas in this recipe for red kidney beans (the dish is called Rajma), cannelini and so on.

  13. Rajini Rao says:

    Haha, Gnotic Pasta . We are very close to BWI. Just saying 🙂

  14. Jan Moren says:

    Rajini Rao Our problem isn’t finding ingredients — nearby Kobe is home to a sizeable expat Indian population — but that things like beans tend to come in kilo-sized packages which would take us a few years to go through…

  15. Rajini Rao says:

    We have the same problem! My husband brought home an enormous bag of black beans…I’m getting somewhat tired of Mexican style beans with tortillas, as delicious as they are 🙂

  16. Rajini Rao says:

    Gnotic Pasta , I guess Cook-in. Shinae calls it Cookalong 🙂

  17. Jan Moren says:

    Rajini Rao Quick question: you grind whole spices shells and all? That doesn’t, well, add a bit too much fiber to the dish? Or it turns out fine with enough cooking? Or I’m missing a step here?

  18. Mary W. says:

    Dang, that looks good Rajini Rao! Thanks for the recipe! Maybe someone take pity on me and make it…it’s a shame my cat can’t cook!

  19. Rajini Rao says:

    Jan Moren , the pre-ground spices are pretty much the same thing as grinding them yourself. I do this when I want intense flavor. So yes, the whole spices are ground, fiber and all. Except for cardamom shells..these are removed prior to grinding. You can see that I ground them quite coarsely…a little longer in the spice mill and they would have been quite fine.

    At home, in India, one can send spices to a stone mill that grinds them very finely indeed. I was going to do a blog post on making the famous southern Indian rasam powder and sambhar powder. Mom sent the roasted ingredients to the mill and they came out super smooth.

  20. Rajini Rao says:

    Haha, Mary Owens . Send your cat to me for some cooking lessons 🙂

  21. Rajini Rao says:

    Sean Carolan , that brought such a big smile to my face. If only you knew how maternal I am 😛

  22. Mary W. says:

    I’ll be certain to pack ample supply of kitty litter & meds Rajini!!!

  23. I love eating Indian out but it intimidates me to think about trying to cook it. This is great. Something our whole family could do together.

  24. Remy Fiston says:

    whoa what’s a meal!

  25. Rajini Rao says:

    I’ve heard the spice list is intimidating, David Nicholl . One can omit some of the spices, or substitute with ground spices which are easier to use…just to get started. I really should take a picture of my spice cabinet. It is three wide and deep shelves, stocked full..I have separate shelves for ground spices, whole spices, dried herbs, baking ingredients… Actually, the more perishable ones are in my fridge.

  26. Jan Moren says:

    My experience is that while you need a fair amount of spices, most show up again and again in indian dishes. And they store pretty well (we have a large box in the fridge — we often cook Swedish and Japanese food, and it all adds up) so you can simply get a bit of each and not really worry about them.

  27. Rajini Rao says:

    Very true..I wish everyone on Shinae Choi Robinson ‘s cookalong post would read what you just wrote, Jan Moren . I think some are dubious about investing in unfamiliar and possibly, expensive, spices 🙂

  28. Jan Moren says:

    The thing is that even if it’s expensive, it will last for months and years. And “expensive” is almost always still less than the cost of a beer when you think about it. If you don’t manage to use it all before it grows stale, then so what?

  29. Rajini Rao says:

    Buying small amounts is a good idea, Shinae Choi Robinson . And stashing it in the fridge helps too.

    The only problem with garam masala is finding a mix one likes..some versions put way too much black pepper in it which overwhelms the rest. The name translates to “hot spice mix”, but the heat comes from cloves and peppercorns, not chillies.

  30. A question related to the spice mix: does anyone have suggestionsfor a good – possibly electric – spice grinder? I currently use mortar and pestle, and when googling for different ways I tend to end up with pepper mill-type things, which I worry aren’t going to grind to the fine level I get through hard work in the mortar 🙂

  31. Rajini Rao says:

    Coffee grinders work well, and you can get cheap versions. I have one those Bullet things…let me find a picture. 

  32. Do they really go fine enough? I’m used to my spices turning into a fine, flour-like powder.

  33. Jan Moren says:

    We end up with a fairly rough, coarse mix. Seems to work fine in practice; it’s all rendered down by the slow simmering anyhow.

  34. Rajini Rao says:

    Yes, that’s it Gnotic Pasta thanks! I also use the smaller adaptor for my blender which works well too.  Johan De Meersman , none of these would work as well as a stone mill but they are good enough, especially if you run them for several long bursts. 

  35. Hmm. If the bladed things work well enough, I suppose a ceramic mill should do a reasonable job, too? Iirc the local cheapshop has those in promotion this weekend 🙂

  36. Rajini Rao says:

    Jan Moren  Exactly right…they blend in with the cooking, inelegant as they are 🙂 The mix I show here is especially coarse, I must have been my usual lazy self that day.

  37. Guess it’s worth a shot, if all of you agree 🙂 Thanks for the advice, Rajini Rao, Jan Moren and Gnotic Pasta.

  38. Rajini Rao says:

    Let us know if you buy the ceramic mill, Johan De Meersman . I don’t know what it looks like either.

  39. Oh, the one I’m talking of is just a cheap battery-operated ceramic pepper mill, I think. Probably can’t be cheated at under €10 apiece :-p

  40. Rajini Rao says:

    If it can grind black pepper then it should do okay with cardamom seeds and coriander, Johan.

  41. Jim Carver says:

    Hi. I tried to follow along with this thread. Guess I understood most of it. I’m kinda into Thai food right now as the flavours are wonderful.

    There’s a little machine called a Miracle Mincer made in Italy. Don’t let the title fool you. This thing will grind anything very fast, often in seconds. It also makes nut butters. Costs somewhere around $80 as I recall and well worth it.

  42. Rajini Rao says:

    Here it is on Amazon:

    Thanks for the suggestion, Jim Carver . 

    I like Thai food too 🙂

  43. Jim Carver says:

    Rajini Rao That is it. Wonderful little device and I’m not that big on gadgets. I bought it to make almond butter, but wound up using it for so many other things.

    If I could have only one powered thing this would be it.

    If I could have only one unpowered thing (besides a knife) I would pick the large “granite” (haha) mortar and pestle from Thailand.

  44. Mezza May says:

    I must try this recipe…might not be able to make it on Sunday ….but one day soon!

  45. Thanks for that. It was a hit.

  46. Rajini Rao says:

    Delighted, Justin Barker , thank you!

  47. Atul Bhatia says:

    ms rajini can u we have anything spl in punjabi style pls let me know

  48. Rajini Rao says:

    Atul Bhatia , if you have Punjabi favorites, just let me know 🙂

  49. Rajini Rao says:

    Foodies on G+, isn’t this fun Suzi Harr ? 🙂

  50. Jim Carver says:

    Way more fun than politics Rajini Rao 🙂

  51. Rajini Rao says:

    Jim Carver , please kick me if I start talking politics on G+. It never seems to end well 😦

  52. Mary W. says:

    Rajini Rao…regarding politics, you hold your own pretty well AND you did fine job reporting precinct outcomes Tuesday night…our GP’s version of Diane Sawyer :-).

  53. Jim Carver says:

    Haha, this is true, the only time it goes well is if you’re around people that agree with you…and then you’re only preaching to the choir anyway. Seems a waste of time doesn’t it?

    Not like this. I could talk food and gardening all day and everybody still walks away happy. 🙂

  54. Rajini Rao says:

     Mary Owens , I was a bit light headed and talkative that night, wasn’t I? 😛  For the record, I’d not even had any wine, hah!

    Jim Carver ,’s not like we can actually change a fully formed opinion, so why do we do it? 🙂

  55. Mary W. says:

    You were great Rajini Rao and I had a wonderful time!

  56. I am a virtual follower here Rajini Rao and just passed on a few cooking groups here that are starting off (healthy positive fun). I am assuming the more people the merrier? 

  57. Rajini Rao says:

    Of much to learn and experience, Cheryl Ann MacDonald 🙂

  58. Yes there is a lot on the bucket list….and mine overflows at times Rajini Rao 🙂  But this looks so delicious.

  59. Jim Carver says:

    Rajini Rao You did really good well on the photos. Everytime someone makes a comment I enjoy coming back. Boy, if we could just patent that huh?

    I think my photos are getting a little better. There’s so much clutter around here it’s hard not to get some extraneous matter in your picture. And food pictures are the worst, even a slight bit of matter can ruin a nice shot with food. A friend of mine suggested to do the shots off of a tripod and I have one. I haven’t set it up in the kitchen and done that yet though.

  60. Rajini Rao says:

    The good foodie posters I follow do have a tripod, Jim Carver . I recall my friend Shinae mentioning a small fan that blows steam away from the camera! Another food blogger once mentioned only taking pictures in bright daylight. I just point and shoot. Actually, I have a whole bunch of .mov files on food photography that I’ve not got around to watching!


  62. Rajini Rao says:

    Thank you, nice to meet you ROGER BERMUDEZ 🙂

  63. Jim Carver says:

    Yeah you know if you have time, you can pull some great stills out of a movie. I don’t have that much time for that however. Nice to have them though.

    I think I have enough ad hoc ingredients to do it. Might have to improvise on the spices a touch but it could be that I may not be around for tomorrow, depends. We have a storm coming in about that time and the lightening always fries the tower. Those fries aren’t very tasty, but we’ll see. 🙂

  64. Rajini Rao says:

    If you have a recent food post, let me know. You tried making mozzarella, right?

  65. Jim Carver says:

    I failed Rajini…that stupid election and I failed to put the rennet in at the right time. Grrr! 🙂

    It’s ok the cats were happy and I’m sure it was safe to eat for humans also. I was thinking if we lived in medieval times we would suck that stuff down no problem.

    Actually, after the cats had licked the whey away it looked pretty good. I let them finish it anyway.

    Going for a restart tomorrow and get it right. It’s not hard, just have to pay attention once in a while.

  66. Rajini Rao says:

    Well, presidential elections are once every four years, so that is an understandable distraction! Cool, I’ve never attempted to make cheese (other than the easy paneer, which is just freshly denatured milk curds, drained and flattened). I’ll wait for you to figure it out first 🙂

  67. Jim Carver says:

    Rajini Rao I’m going to get serious this time and pull out the pH meter. That’s a critical step and if the pH isn’t right before the rennet goes in it won’t ‘gel’ right. Curdle, coagulate whatever. Looks like they want to hit it around 3.8-4.2 but I’d have to check that to make sure. Just going off of memory right now. And that seems reasonable.

    Many commercial operations now just use acid to lower pH and just hit it with rennet and other enzymes. They can make cheese in a few minutes for what we could do in a day.

    It’s also trickier when you use live organisms as opposed to chemicals also.

    Heck with that, I’m going to make homemade miso soon. Their chemical process can’t hold a candle to a natural fermentation. (Which is a chemical process anyway!) Uh boy.

  68. Jim Carver says:

    I was worried about the weather messing up my connection. Didn’t know I would be under it instead.

    Feel terrible…food doesn’t look good at all. You guys have fun.

  69. Rajini Rao says:

    Get well soon, Jim Carver 😦

  70. Jim Carver says:

    Thanks, maybe it won’t last that long. I hate the coming down with it part. It took a week to incubate so I guess it’s not the flu.

  71. Rajini Rao says:

    It’s fun to see the photos being uploaded as people cook in real time. I can see how this can become a community event. 

  72. I managed to acquire the mill, Rajini Rao – and even managed to crack the plastic, cheap junk that it is – but haven’t put it to use, yet. The grinding ceramics look fairly good, though, I’ll put it to the test later this week. Kind of dissapointed by the useful volume, though – the transparant bit you see in the picture is pretty much it.

  73. Rajini Rao says:

    Hmm, sounds modestly promising Johan De Meersman- at least it is inexpensive. This one mentioned by Jim sounds like a good bet–the reviews say that it makes a fine powder : 

  74. For a product that boasts “European design” (why would I care) it’s surprisingly hard to find on the old continent :-p

  75. Rajini Rao says:

    “European design” adds a little continental caché to us New World bumpkins 😉

  76. Jim Carver says:

    It is a fine design and a piece of cake to clean. You know some of them aren’t worth the trouble to get out because of cleaning. It has a really nice motor too.

  77. Rajini Rao says:

    You are tempting me to buy another toy, Jim Carver . We enjoy buying kitchen gadgets more than just about anything else 🙂

  78. Jim Carver says:

    Rajini Rao Oh you won’t be sorry, really. You can find them a little cheaper than Amazon, but it’s pretty close in price anyway. They’re about that much. I got my first one from an Amazon seller and then I bought another for my son from somebody else. But however you slice it, this thing works. 🙂

  79. Rajini Rao I tested the toy today. Works fine, gives almost as fine a grind as I get with mortal and pestle, but takes AGES 🙂 I may try a very coarse grind in the toy and finish with elbow grease, next.

  80. Rajini Rao says:

    Hey, it was inexpensive, and it did do a fine you are ahead of the game. I only hope the motor (battery?) lasts long enough for that second trial 😛

  81. Haha, yeah. I think it was well over half an hour, probably closer to an hour for a couple of teaspoons. Batteries will probably not be at their best right now 😀

  82. Jim Carver says:

    Izidoro Iziimoveis I think since this is an English post, you could probably translate it into English instead of making everyone else have to do that. Ya know? And maybe even tell us what language it is? Duh.

    I know some Spanish…but I’m thinking this is Portuguese?

  83. Rajini Rao says:

    I deleted the two posts, Jim Carver . When I translated them, they made no sense at all and rambled all over the place. Thanks for the comment.

  84. Jim Carver says:

    Oh yeah, maybe they didn’t even have that language down very well. 🙂 I could almost understand the words, but it didn’t make any sense so I guess that’s why.

  85. Jim Carver says:

    Want me to delete my comments and clean it up?

  86. Rajini Rao says:

    No need, thanks! 🙂

  87. Very Good Looking @ But; How Do It Taste

  88. Kumar Kumar says:

    Hi my name santu

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