Chana 11/06/2010
 
Lunchtime was nearing at work on Wednesday and the variety of food I had in my office ~ an apple, peach applesauce, nuts, rice cakes, tofutti ~ were just not doing it for me.  Working in Manhattan, I have lots of choices, but I was short on time so I ran to a nearby whole in the wall health mart that has a variety of vegan and vegetarian prepared foods.  (It's not the cleanest joint around, so I tend to go with their pre-packaged items made by other vendors!)

I wasn't thrilled with my choices ~ there's a spinach seitan dish I usually get ~ but a chick pea masala caught my eye.  I never liked Indian food until a year ago ~ the smell was a total turn off and the sauces and certain spices were a deterrent ~ but I was at my friend Lisa's one night and she served up some vegan Indian food from a new place in town and I loved it!  The chana saag was a big hit...chick peas in a spicy and creamy cream-less spinach.  It was a new favorite.  (There was an amazing candied cauliflower too ~ like general tsao's chicken with cauliflower...wow!)  I haven't made it myself so I'll wait to post a recipe until I've got a good one to share, but if you're near a reputable Indian restaurant, try it.

Chana masala is another delicious Indian chick pea recipe.  Here's one from Vegan Express cookbook for you:

1 TBSP olive oil
1 large chopped onion
2-3 minced garlic cloves
2 15-16 oz cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1-2 tsp garam masala or good quality curry powder
1/2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp grated ginger
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 minced fresh cilantro (or to taste ~ my taste calls for leaving it out!)
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a wide skillet.  Add the onion and saute until translucent. 
Add the garlic and continue to saute until the onion is golden. 
Add the chickpeas, garam masala, tumeric, ginger, tomatoes, lemon juice, and about 1/4 cup water.  Bring to a simmer, then cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  This should be moist and stewlike, but not soupy; add a little more water, if needed.
Stir in the cilantro (if you want) and season with salt.  Serve on its own on shallow bowls or over rice.

It's spicy ~ I'd add a crisp, cold glass of white wine (or chai tea if you prefer.) And water!
 

Veg and the City