Sunday, February 26, 2012

Masaledar Cholay (Chickpeas in Spicy Tomato Gravy)

I am not a fan of making vegetarian dishes and I often say I will eat anything that is not vegetarian.  It stems from my belief that every dish benefits from the addition of a little (or a lot) of meat.  However, I do eat vegetarian dishes.  Since I have been married to my beautiful Angel, I have begun to cook with vegetables and make dishes that I would never have made in the past.  One such dish is this recipe for Chickpeas in Spicy Tomato Gravy.  

Chickpeas in a Spicy Tomato Sauce is actually known as Masaledar Cholay, a Punjabi dish that is popular in both Pakistan and India.  A cholay is a chickpea masala.  The Pakistani version uses potatoes; however, the Indian version uses tomatoes.

The key to Masaledar Cholay is the "gravy." It begins with the processing of garlic, ginger and jalapenos into a paste, which is added with dry spices (coriander, cumin and cayenne) to the sauteeing onions.  The liquid of the gravy comes from tomatoes and water, although I will admit that I left out the water.  Many recipes call for the gravy to be "almost dry." I just used the water in the tomatoes, as they broke down, to provide the liquid for the gravy.  Although it was not "almost dry," it was very flavorful from the paste and the spices.

In the end, this is an amazing dish.  Both Clare and I really enjoyed it.   Masaledar Cholay makes a great side dish or appetizer.  It can also stand alone as a main course, served with naan or fried Indian bread such as pooris or bhatooras. 

(Chickpeas in Spicy Tomato Gravy)
Adapted from a recipe by Sanjeev Kapoor in Food & Wine
Serves 2 to 3

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 onions, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 cup of water
1/3 teaspoon of cayenne powder
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno chopped
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
3/4 cup of canned diced tomatoes

1.  Create a garlic/jalapeno/ginger paste.  In a food processor, process the chopped garlic, jalapenos and ginger into a paste.

2.  Saute the onions.   In a non-stick frying pan, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onions and cook for three minutes.  Reduce the heat and continue to saute the onions until they are brown, about seven more minutes. 

3.  Add the spices.  Add the paste to the onions and stir until fragrant, which should take about two minutes.  Add the cumin, coriander and cayenne.  Stir and cook for an additional minute. 

4.  Add the tomatoes.  Add the tomatoes and continue to simmer over moderate heat until the mixture begins to thicken.  This should take about six minutes.

5.  Add the chickpeas.  Add the chickpeas and the water . Continue to simmer for about eight minutes or until the chickpeas are flavored with the gravy. 

6.  Plate the dish.   Season the chickpeas with salt, garnish with the cilantro and serve in small bowls.  This dish can be served with yogurt and/or naan, pooris, or bhatooras bread.


Food & Wine suggests that the best pairing for Masaledar Cholay is a fruity, Italian rosato.  Rosato wines are produced in Tuscany and Piedmont, including Banfi's Rosa Regale.   I have not reviewed any Italian rosato wines, but I have reviewed a French rosé wine from the Loire Valley, which I think could work well with this dish:

Famille Bougrier -- Rosé d'Anjou (2010)
Grolleau grapes
D'Anjou, Loire Valley, France
Flavors of fresh strawberries and raspberries 

Other French regions also produce some great rosé wines, such as Provence.  As always, Indian dishes also pair well with beers.  Indian beers, like Taj Mahal and Kingfisher, are lager beers, so I would recommend a light to medium lager beer with this dish. I think a pilsner beer, which is brewed in the lager style, could work well with this cholay.  One such pilsner beer that could work well is this beer:

Great Lakes Brewing Co. -- The Wright Pils
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Slight hoppiness, some malt


1 comment:

Lauren said...

This looks great! It's exciting that you're venturing into vegetarian cuisine. :-)

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