Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chickpeas Stew with Roasted Cumin and Tomatoes

So far, it's been a pretty spectacular April. It actually reached 70 degrees here in Seattle last weekend; last year the first time that happened was May 20th. I started lead climbing again, after taking a year-plus long hiatus. I'm loving my job and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I've brought lunch to work every single day.

I've been trying to cook something healthy, hearty and virile enough to last a week in tupperware. Last week it was a red quinoa & sweet potato pilaf (that sadly went un-photographed). This week I am thinking up some concoction with kale, caramelized onions, carrots, avocado and whole wheat pasta. But two weeks ago… two weeks ago I made this delicious Indian-inspired chickpea stew.

I would say the dish was easy to make, but it was slightly time consuming. I could probably attribute this to the fact I have two stove burners and a tiny oven (ah, the joys of living in a studio) but I would like to say all the ingredients were cooked with a coordination usually reserved for Thanksgiving dinner. There was some roasting, toasting and reducing going on and I just can't do that all by my lonesome that quickly. In reality though, there wasn't too much skill involved - a 19-year old dorm-dwelling collegiate guy could do it.

It was substantial enough that on it's own I could fill myself up at lunch. Usually though I tossed in some brown rice to avoid a serious case of the snack attacks at 3pm. I have a snack drawer full of almonds and trail mix at my desk for a reason, but I like to reserve those for desperate times. Like when I feel the urge to stress eat or am very actively trying to avoid the communal candy bowl.

Chickpeas with Roasted Cumin and Tomatoes
Adapted from eCurry

  • 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
  • 2 hot green chile peppers, chopped – Optional
  • salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1.5 cups fresh or canned tomato puree
  • 1.5  teaspoon roasted ground cumin

  1. Combine turmeric, salt, and the roasted cumin with the tomato puree and 1/2 – 1 cup water and stir it to mix.
  2. Dry roast the cardamom, clove in the pan. You will know they're done when you start smelling the spices roasting.
  3. Add the oil and the cumin seeds.
  4. Add the chopped peppers if you want it spicy. Once the cumin seeds start turning dark add the ginger paste. Cook for about a minute.
  5. Add the tomato puree mix, stir it in, and let it let it cook for about 4-5 minutes at medium heat.
  6. Add the chickpeas, cover and simmer for for 7 – 10 minutes. Uncover and mash up a few chickpeas with the back of the spatula. This should be like a soup, not dry. So if the water dries up, add more water when you are boiling. Simmer for couple of more minutes. Switch off the heat and keep it covered until ready to serve.
  7. Garnish with fresh cilantro/coriander leaves.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

No-Knead Beer Bread

So these past two weeks have been kind of hectic insane totally crazy. I am now two weeks into my new job and one week into a little bug I affectionately call The Plague. Oh, and I whizzed on in to the ripe old age of 24 this past Monday. Somehow during all of this I also managed to start and finish the entire Hunger Games trilogy. I think I may have snuck in a nap or two, swirled 'A' into the mixture and came out on the other end alive but lacking a voice. Hopefully a new book, some honey & lemon tea and a little bit a sun will be the cure I need.

As you may have guessed, there wasn't much time for blogging. And by not much time I mean none at all. I think I may have looked at my photo log to see if anything was queued up but that's as far as I got. So here I am, Sunday afternoon, willing my voice to work and ready to blog. If you notice this post is a little bit shorter than most it's because I most likely fell asleep and gave up.

I have been able to cook only a little bit in the past few weeks; it's mainly just food for lunch at work. Now that I'm falling into a routine, I hope it might become a little bit more of a regular occurrence and less of a side-thought. I made this particular loaf of bread maybe a month or more back. Don't worry, it's not sitting stale on my kitchen counter. I think 'A' and I gobbled the whole thing up the night I baked it. As I am a pretty big fan of the no-knead bread movement, I decided to try a little variation on the classic. Throw some beer in (it's extra yeast, right?) and call it good.

I'll save my voice and stop rambling but before I go, I guess you'll want the recipe.

No-Knead Beer Bread
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoon water at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoon mild lager at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar

  1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.
  2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch frying pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Use a little flour on your work surface if you need to.
  3. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined frying pan and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.
  4. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place a Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500F.
  5. Lightly flour top of dough and, using a sharp knife, make one long, 1/2inch deep slit along top of dough.
  6. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Replace the lid and place in oven.
  7. Reduce oven temperature to 425F/220C degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown  20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin