Basic Curry Masala
by Archana Verma
Makes 1 Cup
(I usually at least double or quadruple this, freeze some)
1 T canola or coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 T peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 tsp crushed or minced garlic
1 cup finely chopped onion (red or yellow fine)
1 1/2 cups chopped tomato OR 1/3 cup tomato sauce* + 1 T tomato paste
*plain tomato sauce in a can, NOT spiced Italian tomato sauce in a jar, y'know?
Heat oil in shallow pan over med-high heat, add the cumin seeds when hot and let sputter and plump, about 30 secs. Add ginger, garlic and stir for 30 more seconds.
Reduce heat to medium and add onions - stir and sautee about 15-20 minutes until the onion is browned and mixture starts to pull away from pan. Add tomatoes or tomato sauce+paste and cook 10 minutes or so.
Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend until smooth.
So that's the main gravy - to make Chana Masala, you saute some more spices (1 T ground cumin, 2 T ground coriander, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp cayenne) in 1 T oil for 30 seconds. Then add 3 cans of drained and rinsed garbanzos, 1 tsp salt, 1 T lime juice, and 1-2 cups of water and 1 cup of the masala gravy, simmmer for 20 minutes and garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice or bread.
Same deal with daal - 1 1/2 cups red lentils:4 cups water, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp ground coriander, cook for 20 minutes until soft. In another pan, heat 1 T oil and add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds for 30 secs, then add 1/3 C masala gravy, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp garam masala. Stir into the lentils and serve, garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice or bread.
Basically, you can use it as a base for pretty much any Indian dish. She told us you can add boiled spinach to the gravy with some (soy) yogurt and cubed tofu for Sag Paneer. Or add a little water and 4 C chopped veggies and some additional spices (can't go wrong with turmeric, coriander and garam masala) and a little water and you've got Mixed Vegetable Subzi.
I usually freeze it in 2 cup batches, but 1 cup might be better. She said you can also do it in ice cube trays.