Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chana Masala, advised by Manjula

I can eat tomatoes now! I remember realizing back in the year 2000, after eating pretty much nothing but pasta (albeit wheat-free), dairy-free "cheese" (I mention in quotes because it was so gross back then and nothing at all like cheese) and with tomato sauce and TVP for almost a year and being in pain every day, that tomatoes probably bothered my belly. I lived in painful denial for a while, continuing to eat tomato sauce and paying for it. Sadly, I eventually I cut tomatoes in all forms but ketchup out of my diet, and along with wheat, was my main food sensitivity.

Ten years later I have bowel surgery. Tomatoes and I are A-OK now.

Tomatoes are delicious! I'd never cut into a tomato and eaten its wonderful flesh. I'd never cooked with fresh tomatoes. Basically, I hadn't lived. My brot
her and I didn't like them growing up, so 2010 has been the summer of reclaiming the tomato. I've been getting a few tomatoes in my CSA box, so I've been eating them every day. In salads. On sandwiches. In Indian food. It's been so great.

We had a monstrous tomato from the CSA
box (organic, of course) and I decided to try my hand at homemade Chana Masala. Normally, we make it as a quick meal, using canned tomatoes, canned chickpeas and boxed Chana Masala spice from the Indian Grocery. Recently I was in a piss-poor mood and decided I needed real nourishment. Of course I didn't know how to make Chana Masala from scratch, so I turned to the obvious source for such advice: Manjula! Nobody does Indian vegetarian cooking more completely, more gently, authentically and honestly as her. She has a ton of recipes up. As I cook Indian meals a lot, I reference her YouTube channel a lot. Her voice is soothing. I'd love to hang out with her in the kitchen!

Watch Manjula make Chana Masala! You won't regret it.

So yeah, the Chana Masala with chickpeas cooked from dry, real tomatoes and a homemade spice mixture totally killed the canned version.
But even making this from canned food will give you a lovely quick meal. Watching Manjula make it, then making it myself gave me a sense of satisfaction and totally saved my dour mood. Indian food always does this for me.

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