First, you make a paste in a food processor with minced fresh ginger, garam masala, turmeric, fresh garlic, and water. Then, in large saucepan or Dutch oven, oil is heated, and coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, dried chiles de arbol, and a cinnamon stick are added. When fragrant, chopped onions are added. There’s a lot of onion in this dish, the recipe calls for two large yellow onions, but they cook slowly, brown nicely, and become the base layer of flavor. After the onions have started to brown, the garlic paste is added and cooked for a few minutes. Next, canned, whole tomatoes that have been roughly crushed are added and the cooking continues until the liquid from the tomatoes had reduced a bit. Tamarind paste and canned chickpeas are then added, and the stew is brought to a boil, reduced, and left to simmer for about 45 minutes. I couldn’t resist adding some chopped greens, and Kurt might be right that I add greens to everything. Last, additional garam masala, amchoor, and salt are added. I upped the spiciness with some cayenne and garnished each serving with cilantro and sliced serrano chiles.
The amount of amchoor, or green mango powder, that’s added at the end is tiny at one quarter teaspoon, but it really makes a difference. It adds a sour edge that brightens the mix of flavors. Back when I used to rush through a recipe or not plan ahead well enough, I might have skipped it. But, I get it now. Sometimes little details make a big difference, and remembering the three p’s brings about good food.
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