Thursday, January 6, 2011

Indian at home = easy

Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines, but I don't go to Indian restaurants that often. When I got a gift card to The Spice House for Christmas from my lovely roommate J, I seized the opportunity to finish equipping my pantry for at-home Indian cooking, and picked up two fragrant flavorings - cumin seeds and garam masala. Combining those with pantry staples like curry powder, turmeric and coriander, now I'm covered to make Indian food at home whenever I get a craving! 

For my first foray into Indian territory, I used this recipe as a starting point. Chickpeas, tomatoes and yogurt turn into brilliantly golden and fragrant stew-like meal that's perfect over rice and served with some garlic naan (I tried out Trader Joe's brand and it's pretty good!).

Enjoying my meal with a nice cold glass of Riesling
Chickpeas in Tomato Yogurt
(adapted from Big Caprese Salads, original recipe here)

1 1/2 T vegetable oil
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano chili, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1 1/2 t coriander
2 t cumin seeds
1 t turmeric
1 T garam masala
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 c stock or water (I used chicken stock, but you can make this vegetarian if you wish)
1 can chickpeas, drained
2/3 c plain yogurt
2 T heavy cream, half and half or whole milk

Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and minced garlic and chili, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions have begun to soften. Add all the spices to the pan, and stir frequently to coat the vegetables and toast the spices, about two minutes. Add the tomatoes, drained chickpeas and stock to the pan, and stir everything to combine. Simmer on medium heat, and allow the liquid to reduce and start to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat, and slowly stir in the yogurt and cream to incorporate. Important: When I did this last step, either I mixed it in too quickly or there was too much residual heat left in the pan, but either way - the yogurt curdled a little. What I'll do next time is mix in some of the liquid in the pan into the yogurt first, almost to 'temper' it like you would with egg yolks, and then add the yogurt to the pan. Done!


  1. Ahhh this is one food genre I've wanted to expand on but just don't have the spices for! Great gift from the roommate to get you a Spice House gift certificate! I bought yellow curry powder last time I was there. Probably time for a trip back!

  2. Do it! They're cheap ($2 and less) and smell sooo good :)

  3. That looks good! And I do love that Spice House.

    WOW. You HAVE been busy cooking since you got back... chicken, chili, egg nog, and now indian dish. :-) I was lazy and bought a Costco bird tonight and tossed a salad together for a chicken caesar salad... now I'm trying to avoid going near my "sweets" corner in the kitchen which STILL has too many goodies left from Christmas (those spiced chocolates are calling my name).