Chana Recipes

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Moroccan Inspired Chickpeas Recipe

Moroccan Inspired Chickpeas

09.08.10 by Jackie

After the interview with Las Vegas Chef Pinisetti, I was determined to try out his version of harissa. We made a batch over Labor Day Weekend using red chiles from the garden. I had about 2-3 tablespoons leftover that I didn't want to go to waste.

I decided to make a loose interpretation of an Indian dish called chole, where I replaced the garam masala, ginger garlic paste and amchur (dried mango powder) with Moroccan flavors. I added the leftover harissa to the dish and made a spicy cream cheese sauce to season the chickpeas. Sautéed mushrooms added a "meaty" texture and pieces of preserved lemons, raw onions and tomatoes cut the richness of the dish.

It was such a hit in my house with both the vegetarians and meat eaters that I’m sure to make it again soon. They said it was like a spicy mushroom stroganoff. That wasn’t exactly what I was going for, but they liked it. It’s interesting how flavor combinations can evoke memories of totally different foods. Over the summer I made Earl Grey ice cream and everyone said it tasted like Fruit Loops. Go figure!


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Chana Masala Recipe (Chole) Recipe

Chana Masala Recipe (Chole)

04.17.10 by Jackie

Chana masala, also known as chole, is my father-in-law's favorite Indian dish. It is a very common dish sold by street vendors in India. Daddy is a vegetarian like Lulu, so the garbanzo bean-based dish is perfect for their diet. Garbanzo beans are full of protein and make a complete dish when paired with a starch such as rice -in the case of this dish- a bhatura. The beans are cooked in thick, spicy tomato-based gravy and finished with amchur, a dried mango powder which lends a sour note to the garbanzo beans.

As I mentioned, chole is traditionally served with bhatura. If you're not familiar with Indian cuisine, bhaturas are deep-fried bread rounds. They are similar to, but slightly larger than puris, which I love. I'll post that recipe soon.


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Chicken Kebab Burger Recipe

Chicken Kebab Burger

03.22.10 by Jackie

Chicken kebabs are both healthy and nutritious. The poultry is mixed with garbanzo beans and seasoned with Indian spices. I usually make this recipe when I have leftover chicken. We had company for dinner so I decided to make a complete meal out of them and serve them as burgers. I double-stacked 2 patties with tomato slices, cilantro, fresh mint, raita (Indian yogurt sauce), red onion and fried shallots.

The weather is getting clearer and sunnier by the day, so next time you think of a barbecue, you should consider making chicken shami kebabs (that's the real name of the dish). If you're planning a fancy dinner party, you could serve them as tapas. Bite-size burgers are getting very popular. Either way, you should definitely try this fresh take on an American classic.


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Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi) Recipe

Chana Milk Halwa (Besan Burfi)

02.23.10 by Jackie

If you're familiar with French pâtes de fruit or fudge, you'll want to try the Indian / Middle Eastern equivalent,  called halwa. Halwa literally means "sweet" in Arabic. It can be made with different ingredients such as carrots, pumpkin, yams, beets, semolina and many types of beans, lentils or nuts.

Daddy (my father-in-law) had a craving for some chana dal halwa, so my mother-in-law made several batches this weekend. To the chana dal, she added roasted cashew nuts (Kaju in Urdu) for flavor and texture. This particular recipe also calls for a large quantity of clarified butter, or gheeGhee is popular in Indian cuisine and can be found at almost any Indian grocery store. This dessert is definitely not low fat or low calorie, but the taste and texture are extraordinary. Store-bought halwa cannot compare.

We made a huge batch and stored them in tins in the refrigerator. The girls placed the sweet candy in cellophane gift bags and tied a pretty bow around them to give away to their friends and teachers. Whether  or not you decide to share the dessert with others, you should definitely find time to make some. Your efforts will definitely be rewarded.


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Beef Shami Kebab Recipe

Beef Shami Kebab

02.17.10 by Jackie

Shami kebabs are made with an abundance of fabulous spices, meat (beef, goat, lamb or chicken) and chana dal (dried garbanzo beans). The spices vary depending on whether they're from India (Lucknow or Hyderabad) or Pakistan. My husband Lulu's family is from Hyderabad. They're all meat-eaters, with the exception of my husband and father-in-law. So we often make this dish when we have family over for dinner.

These are not your average kebabs. The meat is cubed and cooked in a pressure cooker with chana dal, and once cooked, it's ground in a food processor with yogurt. The resulting mixture is formed into "hamburger" patties that can be frozen or seared, depending on when you plan on eating them.

I learned this recipe from Baji, Lulu's late grandmother. She was an excellent cook. When Lulu and I first got married, she was already giving us hints.

"Jackie, I'm going to teach you a meat specialty from my hometown. They're called Shami Kebabs; they're spiced hamburger patties. This recipe is a must-have when you two have little children. It's nutritious and easy for little ones to eat. Speaking of which, when are you going to give me great grand-children so I can feed these kebabs to them?"

I would always smile, nod and pretend I didn't hear the part about having kids. Don't get me wrong, we'd love to start a family, but the pressure was a little overwhelming. Lulu's grandmother isn't with us anymore, but I promise that I'll make this for my kids when I have them, assuming they don't become vegetarians like Lulu (fingers crossed).


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