The Sensitive Kitchen

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chole Panir Masala (Paneer and Chickpeas Masala)

I cook my own chickpeas - they absorb the flavors of the masala so well when fresh and hot - and use the cooking water to make the masala for this dish. If you are crunched for time, substitute 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, and some water or vegetable broth... and consider investing in a pressure cooker!

Please also note that the amount of cayenne in my recipes is to taste. I cook for children, so by necessity, everything is mildly spiced. If no children will be eating this dish, you may wish to double the cayenne; if you're accustomed to Indian food, by all means triple it.

Note: made this dish again, omitted chana masala powder in favor of 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper.

1 cup dry chickpeas, cooked, liquid reserved
2 Tbsp ghee, divided
14 ozs paneer, cubed
3/4 tsp black mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 red onion, diced
1 tsp garlic paste (or very finely minced garlic)
1 tsp ginger paste (or very finely grated ginger)
1 tsp coriander powder
3/4 tsp cumin powder
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste
1 c crushed tomatoes
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp channa masala powder
2 tsp amchur, or to taste (optional)
2 Tbsp cilantro

In a large, flat-bottomed saute pan, or a large wok, heat 1 Tbsp ghee over medium-high heat. Saute paneer until golden brown. Remove.

Add remaining ghee; when it shimmers, add mustard seeds, cover immediately, and cook until popping subsides. Add curry leaves; when crackling subsides, add red onion. Cook until softened.

Add ginger and garlic; cook a moment or two. Add spices; cook until fragrant. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, and at least 1 cup cooking water from chickpeas (to taste). When liquid comes to a simmer, add chickpeas. Simmer a few minutes.

Add paneer; simmer a few more minutes. Remove from heat, stir in channa masala powder and amchur, top with cilantro, and serve.

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