Often, I can get a recipe right the first time around. Everything deserves tweaking, but normally I can get pretty close to dead-on the first go. If I am working with flavors I know and I am comfortable with, adjusting as I go works great. Indian food is not my strong point. I love it and I want to get better at making it. Talking to the owner of Spice of India was the best mini-lesson I could have received! Because of him, I learned how to make fantastic Indian style rice and was introduced to wonderfully cheap and tasty tandoori spice blend. For chana saagwala, he handed me the Badshah chana masala spice blend and told me to follow the directions and just add spinach. I didn't follow the package instructions because there is an incredible amount of salt in it. The flavor is there though: Indian chili powder, fennel, coriander, etc. I would love to make my own spice blend, but the Badshah is so cheap and now I have learned to work with it. The "short cut" is because of the spice mix. It took about 5 tries, but I got it! This is stuff is addictive.
1 Tbsp oil
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp Badshah chana masala
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp cracked fenugreek seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp ground coriander
5-6 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed*
1 8 oz can tomato puree
1 14 oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed
Heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, fenugreek, and cumin. Cook 2-3 minutes, stir constantly. Add spinach, tomato puree, chick peas, chana masala, and coriander. Reduce heat to med-low. Simmer and allow mixture to reduce by about 1/4 (this is just to evaporate the water from the spinach.) It will take about 20 minutes, stir occasionally. (If mixture over reduces, add a few Tbsp water.)
Serve with rice.
Serves 4 side dish portions OR 2 main course portions.
*Forgot to plan ahead a little and didn't thaw spinach? You can use it from the frozen state, but add it before the tomato, chick pea, etc. Let it thaw and come up to a luke warm temp before adding the rest of the ingredients.
**Also, do not add salt at any point of this! The tomato puree and spice mix already have the perfect balance of salt for the dish. If you have no salt added tomato puree, cook the dish as described and taste about 5 minutes before serving. If it needs salt, add a little bit at this point.
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