It’s cold and pouring with rain outside, making us not want to go out. So it’s time to cook with the resources on board. In doing so, we try to use the products that can be stored for the least amount of time first.
Today, the kitchen raid revealed leftover chickpeas and tinned tomatoes as well as plenty of mushrooms. We couldn’t think of much to do with these at first, so we rummaged through the internet and behold: two recipes for “Dhingri Chole”, an Indian curry that we hadn’t come across before. Vegan and quick to prepare – perfect.
Chole or chana stands for chickpeas and they are often seasoned with sour flavours in Indian cuisine. The spice mix “Chana Masala” for the dish of the same name can be bought, but our spice jar is empty, which is why we quickly start making it ourselves. You need coriander and cumin seeds, green cardamom, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon as well as ground Kashmiri chilli, turmeric and amchur. The latter is a powder made from dried, unripe mango and provides the desired acidity. The flavour is similar to sumac.
The unprocessed spices are briefly dry roasted in a small saucepan or frying pan until they start to smell fragrant.
They are then processed into powder in a mortar, a spice grinder or a food processor such as our beloved Moulinette and mixed with the already ground spices – done. It took us barely 10 minutes and we made a little more to fill up our spice jar. As always, the exact quantities can be found at the end of the recipe.
Onion and fresh green chilli are chopped very finely after removing the seeds from the chilli so that the spiciness remains controllable. The tinned tomatoes are finely strained, alternatively you can pass fresh tomatoes through a grater, as we have explained here.
If you don’t have ginger garlic paste in the house (you can get it in any Asian supermarket), finely grate some fresh, peeled ginger and garlic as well. Any dirt is rubbed off the mushrooms with a kitchen paper towel, the dry stem ends are cut off and larger mushrooms are halved, otherwise we leave them whole.
In a high pan, we sauté the onion with very little neutral vegetable oil and a pinch of salt over a medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes until translucent and starting to brown. Then we add turmeric and green chilli and stir-fry everything for a further 2 minutes.
Now ginger garlic paste, the strained tomatoes and our homemade spice mix are added. Everything is mixed well and gently simmered over a medium heat with the lid on for about 5 minutes so that the flavours develop and the taste of raw garlic fades.
If you have kasoori methi in the house, which is dried fenugreek leaves and an important seasoning in Indian cuisine, you can cover the palm of one hand with it and then rub both palms together over the pan so that the dry leaves go finely crumbled into it.
This plant provides a typical flavour that is familiar from industrial curry powder
Then we pour a glass of water, about 200 ml, into our tomato base, stir well and add the chickpeas and mushrooms.
We continue stirring until all the mushrooms are coated with the sauce, put the lid back on and cook the curry for a further 15 minutes, then season to taste with salt. If you still want more heat, season with a little more Kashmiri chilli. If you want more liquid, add a little water and cook for a few more minutes; if you want less liquid, remove the lid and allow some to evaporate. More cooking time does not harm this dish.
Finally, chopped fresh coriander would also go very well with it, but we didn’t have any and, as already mentioned, leaving the house was not an option today.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for 2 people):
Chana Masala spice mix (results in a small supply):
3 tsp coriander seeds
3 tsp cumin seeds
5 capsules green cardamom
½ tsp peppercorns
5 cm cinnamon stick
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli, ground
2 tsp amchur (mango powder)
½ tsp turmeric
1 tbsp neutral vegetable oil
1 fresh green chilli, without seeds
½ tsp turmeric
2 tsp ginger and garlic paste (or freshly grated ginger and garlic)
200 – 250 ml strained tomatoes
3 tsp chana masala
200 g chickpeas, cooked or tinned
400 g mushrooms
Optional: A palm full of kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)