Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chana Vada: Fried Chickpea Dumplings in Curried Tomato Sauce

This dumpling recipe is like an Indian falafel - herbed chickpea batter shallow-fried in oil until crispy and then served in a spiced tomato sauce.

On Sunday I started soaking the chickpeas.  On Monday morning I ground the soaked chickpeas in the food processor with a little water, then mixed in cilantro, salt, baking powder and spinach.  I then attempted to fry the dumplings in palm oil (which is supposed to have a super-high smoke point) and promptly set off the fire alarm.  If you can imagine the most piercing fire alarm ever and then multiply it to such a degree as to make one despair of life, you will have a rough idea of how our fire alarm sounds. And I set it off at 7:30 in the morning while Stephen was sleeping.  It's not the earliest time of day I've set it off, though.

Deep/shallow-frying is a point of frustration for me because the oil always starts to smoke at a lower temperature than it's supposed to.  This time I used organic palm oil, which was supposed to be safe up to 450 F.  It's almost a year before its sell-by date and smells fine.  My deep-fry thermometer was barely pushing 300 F when I started seeing smoke.  What am I doing wrong?

Fire alarm notwithstanding, I finished frying the dumplings and they did have a gorgeous crispy crust.  On Tuesday night I prepared the sauce - sauteed onion, ground cumin & coriander, ginger, garlic, Pomi tomatoes, turmeric, Indian chile powder and salt.  I reduced the salt in the sauce because I thought the chickpea dumplings were too salty.  I let the dumplings simmer in the sauce for about ten minutes and then put it away for the flavors to mingle overnight.  We had this for dinner on Wednesday night with rice, peas and fresh cilantro.  It's so delicious I'm willing to brave the frying step (though maybe with a little less oil at a lower temperature) to make it again.

1 comment:

Ruth Lee said...

ohhh my gosh, these dishes look awesome! Can you feed me? I'll definitely try to cook some of these:) Thanks for sharing your blog with me! Here's mine: