Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Been a While: Aloo Chana & Pumpkin Muffins

The other day Andrew said to me, "Remember when you had a blog?" This was joke of course, but it made me feel bad for abandoning the CV for so long. I recently received a copy of "The Conscious Cook" that I promised to try out and post about-- and while I have several good intentions to make some recipes from it, I haven't quite had the time recently. But that's changing. So, here I am. Crawling back. With a post about one of my longtime battles: Indian food. [[I'm trying out "The Conscious Cook" tonight, and will report back.]]

Anyway, Indian food, for whatever reason, is really flippin' hard to make taste right. The recipes online or even in cookbooks just don't match the flavors you get in restaurants. They're either bland or too sweet. I combated the sweetest in past attempts by removing things like cardamom and garam masala [[lots of cinnamon]], but a lot of flavor was still missing. After talking to a fellow vegan in the area [[evolution]] about enchilada recipes, it occurred to me that maybe a tomato based sauce wasn't right for an aloo chana. He mentioned that the enchilada sauce he liked is chili pepper and water based. So with this aloo chana, I cut out the tomatoes and went chili based.

And while this isn't exactly right, it's damn near the best Indian food I've ever made. You'll like it. I'm just trying to blindly recreate a flavor in my mind, so whenever I don't get it right, I'm frustrated. But at least this recipe tastes good.

[[Aloo Chana]]

2 14 oz cans of garbanzo beans, drained
3-4 red potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces

2 Anaheim chilies, roasted and chopped
1 white onion, chopped
2 small red bell peppers, chopped [[when I say small, I mean organic small]]
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of no-chicken broth
juice of one small lemon

3 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground Indian cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or more for heat
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ginger
1-2 tsp of salt

1/2 cup soy creamer
3 tbs fresh chopped cilantro
a lemon peel
brown rice

-- Place the two Anaheim chilies on a cookie sheet under a high broiler and roast until they are blistered and black. This should take about 10 minutes. Be sure to rotate to get all sides. Remove them from the oven and place in a paper bag for 10 minutes.
-- While you roast the chilies, chop the potatoes and boil in salted water until tender, about 20 minutes.
-- Remove chilies from the bag, and remove the blistered skin. Chop the tops off and remove seeds. Place in a blender with chopped onion, bell peppers, lemon, garlic and 1/2 cup of broth. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
-- In a skillet, lightly toast the mustard seeds on medium heat for about five minutes. While that's toasting, blend the cumin seed in a coffee grinder or spice grinder. Add the ground cumin to the skillet and toast that with the mustard seed. Add the rest of the spices, except salt. Stir for about 2 minutes.
-- Add 2 tbs vegetable oil and the chickpeas. Stir coat the chickpeas and allow to cook for a few minutes.
-- Add the boiled potatoes and stir those to coat. Add the remaining 1 tbs of vegetable oil if necessary.
-- At this point add your puree. Let the chickpeas and potatoes sit in the chili puree on medium high heat for about 10 minutes. Add chopped cilantro, creamer, and salt. Stir. Let sit for another 2 minutes.
-- If it becomes to thick, use your left out broth to thin it out. Serve over brown rice or basmati rice. Garnish with more more cilantro and a lemon slice.

I realize Aloo Chana isn't very festive. A lot of bloggers this time of year go out of their way to give you awesome holiday recipes. And if I were more on top of things, I'd probably do that, too. But I'm not. I did however, have this looming can of puree pumkin that never made it's way to a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, so I made these pumpkin spice muffins from Vegan with a Vengence. If you've never made them [[and I've had this book for a while, and neglected to try them]], you definitely should. They taste like winter and smell like heaven. Really. Sub in whole wheat pastry flour, and they're practically guilt-free [[maybe]].


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

So glad to see you posting again! :)

Michal said...

I was wondering where you were off to :) Lookin tasty as usual!