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How to Cook Spices & Tomatoes for Channa Masala

Learn how to cook spices and tomatoes for channa masala from cookbook author Maya Kaimal in this Howcast Indian food video.


Hi I'm Maya Kaimal and I'm going to show you how to make channa masala. Channa masala is a nice basic chick pea curry with tomatoes. It's also known as chole. Today we're going to make my father's recipe with chick peas, and we're going to start with a taiga, which is a seasoning of the oil of whole spices.

So, we're going to heat up our oil, and add some brown mustard seeds, and cumin seeds. So, we're going to add our seeds to some hot oil, and the mustard seeds are actually going to kind of explode a little bit. So, you want to be aware that they might pop out of the pan, and they are also going to turn from brown to a grey shade, and then you'll know that they've released their flavors and the oils will start to take on a kind of a nutty quality, and the cumin seeds also add a nice warm sort of bitter-ish warm-ish quality too.

So, these are cooking nicely. Even if the mustard seeds don't actually pop, as long as they've turned grey, then they've done their job. So, sometimes they pop a lot, sometimes they just quietly turn grey, and now we're going to add our onion. We've got a cup of chopped onion, and we'll sauté this until it gets nice and soft. It takes about five minutes or so.

Okay, our onions are getting nice and brown. Get a spatula here and we are going to add our ground spices. We're adding two teaspoons of coriander, a teaspoon on cumin, quarter teaspoon of turmeric, and an eighth teaspoon each of cayenne and black pepper.

Any time you add dry spices, it's good to keep a little bit of water handy, because you don't want your spices to scorch. If they seem like they are getting really dry too quickly, add a little bit of water. These are doing okay, we have enough oil in here. I'm really getting a nice smell off of these spices.

I'm smelling the coriander, and once that smell really smells nice and toasty, I'm going to add our fresh tomatoes. We've got two cups here. Canned would do, but fresh is a little nicer in that they cook down faster. We're going to turn the heat up a little bit and I'm going to add some salt as well.

Chick peas are a staple bean in North India, especially in the region of the Punjab, and they're almost always paired with a sour ingredient. So, sometimes it's pomegranate powder which has a really nice, fruity dry taste. Sometimes is tamarind and in our case we're going to be using lemon juice.

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