Chutney Challenged: on location, off topic

Well, I did make the channa masala on Sunday. Things went okay. Folks told me — I served it to six adults and three kids within 24 hours — “Your chickpeas are so firm. But tender.” I would agree. Maybe because I soaked them for 12 hours. Channa masala takes up a lot of time, many steps, squeezing and sautéing, boiling and scraping. Kids told me: “I’m not. HAVING. Anymore of this!” Ignore them, because they are not our target audience. 

General advice:

  • Read the entire recipe carefully and fully. Once or twice. If you just “skim” the recipe, a few steps might take you by surprise when it’s too late.
  • Use a non-stick pan, all the oil (maybe a bit more than the 1/3 cup grapeseed or peanut oil the recipe requires) and watch the temperature carefully. Channa masala has a long cooking time: 90-120+ minutes. First you make the spiced tomato & onion gravy. Then you add it to the chick peas. That combination simmers stovetop for quite some time. After a while, both the gravy alone and then gravy combo will do their best to adhere to the bottom of the pan. Avoid this, unless you want to make charred masala instead of channa masala. 
Image

Channa masala quartet.

Changing topics/locations

I wanted to write more about the masala earlier this week . And I couldn’t. I woke Monday morning to two awful stories: another gang rape in India and media sympathy for Steubenville (umm, the rapists, not the young woman at the center of this case). For a few days, I couldn’t be a food blogger. So I blogged nothing. 

Yesterday I boarded a plane to Austin, and from Atlanta to Austin I did write about what happened in India, what’s happening in Steubenville, what I observed in middle school — from the nightly news to home ec. class. How no one among us should be surprised that rape and sexual violence happens everywhere — could happen to anyone.

It’s personal and political and kind of … out there. So I might post it, or I might not. I guess you can take this paragraph as warning that a “very special” Chutney Challenged post might be coming soon. So maybe you’ll want to avoid it, or read it. Or fundamentally disagree.  

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned.

Another thing that’s next

Image

My clients: Edit, Jessica, Nicole, Sharifah. En route is Jennifer.
Photo credit: Jessica.

Ragda pattice. I was invited to Austin to play personal chef to a group of dynamic, successful, cultured and very Midwestern ladies with an appetite for adventure. I loaded my suitcase with hand-blender, pressure cooker, gym clothes, chilies, spices and some heels and glitter because, come on people, this is Texas. Terrified that a jar of tamarind chutney might wreak havoc in my luggage, I packed none of this ragda pattice essential. Soon we’re off to Central Market to stock up on mint, cilantro, onions, potatoes, tamarind chutney, ginger, etc. The white vatana is already creamy, golden and all soaked up. A cloudy, spicy, reflective day in Austin awaits us.

That’s vacation, baby.  

Image

My spices, my toiletries, my clothes = fifty pounds of baggage.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Divya
    Mar 23, 2013 @ 21:44:00

    hi i wanted to know how do i make pattices in oven…what temp and for how long…wht binding agent should i put in the potatoes.

    Reply

  2. Chutney Challenged
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 07:05:34

    Divya, I have not found a recipe for oven cooking. All recipes require a pressure cooker. The binding agent is cornstarch, 30 ml. Make sure the oil for the pattice is hot enough when you begin to fry them. If you find a recipe that does not require a pressure cooker, do let me know. I have been searching for one!

    Reply

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