Sunday, 17 May 2009
Mangal Chana Masala Spice Mix
Chana Masala....yummmmm. This is basically a chick pea stew, made (depending on Indian region and Indian mother concerned) with a variety of spices and a base that involves a combination of ginger, onion, garlic and tomato. This is something I occasionally make from scratch but somehow my spice combinations never quite pack the punch of the ready made commercial mixes- admittedly an unusual situation for me (as I come from an Indian family, I tend to avoid these often generic blends). However, the Mangal chana masala mix is actually made in India and therefore Indian housewife approved. And despite cooking quite a lot of Indian food, spices such as amchoor (mango powder) and anardana (pomegranate powder) are still relatively hard to get hold of, and as they're not used in that many other dishes a ready made mix containing them is very convenient.
The Mangal mix also contains another dozen or so spices including star anise, cumin, cloves and fennel, together with a big kick of ground chili. The instructions only say to add the mix to base of fried onions, but I also add my own fresh ginger and garlic too to increase the depth of flavour. I also add tomato puree but this is definitely optional. You can use the mix with tinned chickpeas, which obviously won't need as long to cook as their dried counterparts (around 20mins of simmering), but still absorb a lot of flavour. The finished chana masala has a lot of umami-savouriness with a hint of sweetness, and is very dark and rich without being heavy. These flavours are well balanced with the heat of the chili, which although strong is not over-powering. I'd recommend eating this with a cooling salad or yoghurt raita, and some rice, naan, parathas, or luuchi/poori to soak up all the spiciness.
Cost: around £1.35 depending on outlet (cheaper in India!)
I rate it 8.5/10