Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chana Masala with zero oil - High on Flavor

I dare you to step out of your comfort zone and try this. Not only is this high on flavor, but is also low in calories. Directly minus the calories from the oil you would use otherwise for a chana masala. The trick to this is not harping on the fact that there is no oil here. It takes some time getting used to this type of cooking, but patience and good thick utensils are the trick. A good quality non-stick pan is recommended, but I prefer going with steel. Non-stick is a bit more forgiving, and does not burn your food too soon if you happen to get caught in something else. With the steel, you have to be more vigilant.

I am using a conventional spice combination with a few different ingredients. I am adding some mushrooms here. They are entirely optional but they gave a very strong heady flavour to the dish. I am also using some finely chopped apple as a sweetener, instead of straight sugar or substitutes. Using chopped onions and tomatoes instead of a masala paste makes this chunky and rustic. The recipe is as follows -

Ingredients -

2 cups boiled chickpeas

2 medium onions chopped

2 tomatoes chopped

3-4 cloves garlic crushed

4-5 mushrooms chopped

1/4 cup or quarter apple chopped

cilantro for garnish

salt to taste

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf
1 tsp coriander or dhania powder
1 -2 tsp Amchur or Dry mango powder

1 Tbsp garam masala OR

( a powder of

1 inch stick cinnamon

1 Tbsp black pepper corns

3-4 green or black cardamoms

5-6 cloves)

Method -

1) Soak chickpeas overnight, pressure cook and set aside, or used canned ones. This recipe will use 1.5 to 2 cans.

2) Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and the apple and set aside.

3) Lightly roast the whole spices and powder. This can be done beforehand and stored in an airtight jar.

4) Take a thick bottomed stock pot, pan or wok. Place on burner and add the onion. Saute a bit and add a splash of water or vegetable broth as onion begins to stick. I generally use a vessel with a lid. This also enables steam cooking.

5) Keep an eye on the onion and cook until it softens and the raw smell goes off. Add more water if needed, and keep stirring.

6) Add the chopped garlic and mushrooms and cover. Add splashes of liquid so that the mixture does not dry out and stick. This is the one step which is very important here, and needs patience.

7) Once the mushrooms reduce a bit, add the tomatoes, stir and cover. Cook until tomatoes soften, adding a little water as needed.

8) Add the boiled chickpeas now with the apple and all the spices. Stir, add more water, about a cup and cover.

9) Bring to a boil and simmer until the gravy thickens and everything comes together.

10) Add salt at the end according to taste and garnish with cilantro. The apple will have dissolved by this time and its flavor is not even noticed.

11) Serve hot with rotis or rice. I served this with some nutty red rice and it made a sumptuous lunch.

This is a great meal idea for those on the McDougall or Eat to Live plans, provided you follow general guidelines regarding salt intake, or how much rice or beans to eat etc.


Anonymous said...

The idea of apple instead of straight sugar definitely sounds great to lower direct calories, plus the unique flavor!

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