Monday, June 23, 2008

Catalan Chickpeas with Almonds and Tomatoes - Chole in a different Avataar?

First off, I would like to share this piece of good news with my dear friends! !
I just found out that Mascarpone Cheese is a health food* :) The article I just read mentioned that the calcium in this sweet cheese suppresses the release of calcitriol and parathyroid hormone which both inhibit the breakdown of fat.
So buddies, gorge away......;)
Feels good to be back with a chickpea recipe after a short break. I can never have enough chickpeas :) I'm forever looking for new ways to make chickpeas. My mom's chole of course remains my top favorite, but I don't mind experimenting with new recipes as well. On one such quest I chanced upon this beautiful creation of Melissa's, Catalan Chickpeas with Almonds and Tomatoes! Intrigued I was and the beautiful appetising picture made me want to try it even more. Here is my adapted version.
Catalan Chickpeas with Almonds and Tomatoes
1 heaped cup dry chickpeas soaked overnight
2T oil 1 onion finely chopped
1/2 cup tomato puree
a pinch sugar
a pinch saffron
3 garlic cloves chopped
1/3 cup almonds
2 T coriander/cilantro leaves
1.5 cups water
1 lime for the juice
salt, as per taste

1. Cook the soaked chickpeas till done. I pressure cook them, you may use your regular method or use canned as well.
2. Heat oil. Add chopped onion and saute till golden brown.
3. Add tomatoes, sugar and saute till it blends to form a paste. Melissa mentions that this is called 'sofregit' and is the base for many Catalan dishes.
4. Grind garlic, almonds, saffron & cilantro to a paste. I ground the almonds in a mixer first and then pounded all ingredients in a mortar/pestle.
5. Add the paste to the onion mixture along with cooked chickpeas and water.
6. Bring to a boil and simmer about 15 minutes till it forms a thick sauce.
7. Season with salt and lime juice as per taste.
8. As with many dishes, the flavor develops the longer it sits.
1. I used the ingredients I had at hand. The original version calls for parsley, I substituted it with cilantro. Also, I used water instead of using stock.
2. This dish does not use any hot spices. For enjoying this dish on it's own use a lot of lime/lemon juice for a lovely flavor.
3. For serving it with naan/rice I added some chili powder and garam masala powder as well :)
I liked the addition of ground almonds & saffaron, makes it so rich and creamy.

My contribution to dear Sia's MBP-street food.
* - I just read the health claim on the net, to be taken with a pinch of

On another happy note, I received a bagful of masala's from my dear friend Meera. What with kolhapuri masala, goda masala, malvani masala, the list is endless. I think I'm set for a loooooooong time :) Thank You, Meera, you are so very generous and kind, it was the best gift for a foodie like me ;)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Some Random Thoughts and Some Thank You's are in order....

The 'tick' incident in the household left everyone paranoid! After checking and re-checking the clothes in and out for the tenth time, it still did not feel safe enough to wear! All the talk about 'naturalism' went by the wayside and people were heard begging for the antibiotics real quick! Anyway, things are fine, thankfully :)
This did not leave me in much of a chatty frame of mind over the last few days, speaking of which, my dear friend Meera has passed on the 'Good Chat Blog' award to me and I'm very grateful to her for that! Many many Thanks to my dear friends Asha, Meera, Cham, Sukanya and Shrimathi for passing on the 'Make my day' award, means a whole lot to me :) Also a big thank you to dear Pravs for the 'E' award. Will proudly display these on the side bar and will be back soon :)
Don't mean to infringe upon your time, just be careful outdoors this summer my friends!