Chickpea Curry & Rajasthani Potato Curry

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I was craving Indian food one day. I wasn’t sure what I’d make though since there are so many possibilities and exactly 1,000 recipes at least in my excellent Neelam Batra cookbook. One of my favorite dishes to get when I stop by Indian markets-slash-food posts is chickpea curry. In general I have an affinity for chickpeas. It’s not only good for you but quite tasty too. Since I am quite a beginner in Indian cookery I’ve been starting off with basic recipes if possible to build a foundation. So I made Chickpeas in Traditional Curry Sauce (Rassaedar Channae).

By “traditional curry sauce” Batra means onion, green chile peppers, garlic, ginger, tomato, cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, paprika, lime juice, yogurt, and cilantro. I love all the spices in Indian food and the savoriness of it all. It’s very comforting. To make things easier for myself I used canned chickpeas. I should have peeled at least some of the chickpeas. Chickpea peels are quickly becoming a personal pet peeve. But the thought of peeling four cans of chickpea didn’t flash brilliantly through my mind though, probably for very good reasons having to do with convenience.

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I wasn’t going to be satisfied with just one curry though. I perused through the thick book and came upon the Potato Curries section. Now I loooove potatoes and I loooove potato curry. I settled on the first curry of the lot, Rajasthani Potato Curry (Rajasthani Rassadar Aalu). As you can see the color was cheerfully golden from the turmeric and nicely spiced with green cardamom, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, and asafoetida. Asafoetida is an odd thing. It’s an herbaceous plant whose dried sap is used for culinary and medicinal purposes. It’s quite stinky but when cooked it mellows out and gives off leek and onion flavors. This curry was so delicious. I was actually craving it today. Must make soon again.

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Now I got the curries, what else do I need? Chutney of course! My favorite is a really spicy green chutney. I can’t get enough of it when I get a freshly fried samosa from a local Indian market. This time I made Mint Chutney with Pomegranate Seeds (Pudina-Anardana Chutni). The dried pomegranate seeds, another addition to my spice pantry, added a nice tang to the chutney. The chutney was made in a blender from red onion, a few green chile peppers, lemon juice, water, cilantro, ground dried pomegranate seeds, and black pepper.

To cool off any crazy spice spike I might be hit with I made a simple raita with whole milk yogurt, ginger, garlic, paprika, cilantro, and cucumber. And I unsuccessfully made my first batch of chapati, also known as roti and phulka. I didn’t use durum whole-wheat flour like I was supposed to do since I had a nearly full bag of regular whole-wheat flour at home. That and my lack of experience making flatbreads resulted in the very thick chapatis. They were fine flatbreads but bad chapatis. Still, once I had them nicely reheated from the toaster oven at work the edges became nicely crisped and the inside warm and steaming. It made a perfect utensil for my vegetarian Indian spread.