Monday, May 31

Chole Chaat aka Indian Spicy Chickpeas


I admit that I haven't had Indian food for quite a while, but for the past two days I have had a chance to fix this problem. First it was a late night chickpea dish in Cafe VS, which is a very popular place among locals for their Indian food and I really enjoyed it inspite of some guys making very sad and pathetic attempts to get acquainted with us while we were trying to eat. Next day I found my way to Jäneda food market, which is literally in the middle of nowhere. Right there of all places we stumbled upon a counter with an Indian guy cooking curries and serving Ginger tea. As appeared this is Crasta Catering who was there to promote their skills and services. I kept my cool if a huge grin plastered on my face can be called that, but what I really wanted to do was jump up and down from excitement and scream wohoo!!!  Anyway, since we actually had some grilled fish just before finding out about this place, we shared a small chicken curry with rice and I also had a small cup of Ginger tea instead of dessert. Even though the curry was literally made chili free to accommodate the "local taste" I was in heaven! I got my little dose of exotic and I didn't even need to leave Estonia for this. Plus there were some funny guys who joined us at the table and added  the spice that was lacking to the experience with their foolish but cute jokes. Everything that happened this Sunday was literally perfect. :)

Now back to the curry topic. Today I realised the Indian theme should not stop at all costs and I decided to make the chickpea dish myself, it's called Chole Chaat. I am not sure whether I can refer to it as curry though, anyone any idea? It is super easy to make and I think in total I spent 20-25 minutes on it. Perfect weekday quick fix.

Chole Chaat 005Ingredients, with this amount makes 2 servings:

225 g chickpeas (I used canned, since cooking them will take an eternity)

oil (I used olive oil)

1 small onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garam masala spice

2 cm piece of fresh ginger root, grated

2 red chilies finely chopped (I used dried half teaspoon to accommodate the "local taste")

200 g chopped tomatoes (you can use canned, but I prefer fresh)

Fresh coriander for decoration

1/2 cup of chickpeas to be thoroughly mashed with fork along with some liquid in the can. Make sure you reserve half of the liquid from the can for later use.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook onions with garlic until golden. Add coriander, cumin, turmeric and garam masala and fry 1 minute. Add ginger, chili, tomato, a bit of water and salt and stir until mixed and cook about 3 more minutes if you use fresh tomatoes. Add all the chickpeas and some of the liquid you reserved earlier (no more than half a glass). Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with Basmati rice or naan.

Here's a music tip for you as well. Raghav who was very popular in India when I was studying there in 2004. Amazing and unforgettable two months of my life. I have no idea what the lyrics say, but I am sure it is about something nice. :)

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