Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Chana Masala (Chole Batura, Chickpeas Curry)

November, when weather changes from colorful and crispy to dark and gloomy is the month of comfort food at my house. Comfort food of India almost inevitably call for some type of lentils/legumes. Among all, my favorite is the famous “Chana Masala or Chole” - this homey and hearty Punjabi fare will make even the most doubtful person worship Indian food. No wonder, it continues to be the most popular food item in Indian restaurants worldwide.


Soak 4 cups of chickpeas in water overnight or atleast 6 hours. Take them in a pressure cooker, add salt, one teabag(optional) and water and pressure cook them until they are just tender. Take care not to overcook. Drain the water and separate one cup of cooked chickpeas. Blend these separated ones into into thick, smooth paste with little water.
2 cups of finely chopped ripe, juicy tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped lengthwise
1 tablespoon of premade Chana masala powder (Badshah or any other brand from an Indian store)
½ teaspoon of red chilli powder and salt
¼ teaspoon of turmeric
Fresh cilantro and lime juice - for garnish

Cooked Chickpeas, tomatoes, pureed chickpea paste, cilantro, onion, red chilli powder, salt, chana masala powder(Badshah brand) and turmeric


1. Heat one teaspoon of peanut oil or ghee in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add and toast ¼ teaspoon each- cumin and mustard seeds.
3. When seeds start to pop, add the onion, and cook until translucent.
4. Add the tomatoes and cook on high heat until the tomatoes turn to soft. Press with a spatula and mush them.
5. To this tomato sauce, add the cooked chickpeas, pureed chickpea paste, chana masala powder, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and one to two cups of water. Stir to combine.
6. Have a taste and adjust the spice levels to your liking. Keep the heat on medium and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the curry thickened. (The curry should not spread like a flooding river when served on a plate.)
7. Just before turning off the heat, stir in finely chopped fresh cilantro and lime or lemon juice to taste.

Enjoy the chana masala with rice/roti (chapati) or with puris. Keep the leftovers refrigerated. The curry tastes very good next day.

Chole Batura - Chana Masala with Puris
Chole Batura - Chana masala with Puris.

How to prepare Puris : Recipe

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Chickpeas (Monday November 7, 2005 at 10:33 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Pizza with Red Beans & Tomato Chutney

Red Bean Pizza

When it’s this easy to make flavorful, delicious pizza at home, I can only imagine restaurants suffer. Why? This homemade crisp pizza tastes as good or better as any thin crust pizza I have ever had in a restaurant.

I started with few leftover chapatis of yesterday. I added the tomato chutney layer and topped with red beans and cheese. Baked in an oven for few minutes, the outcome was a scrumptious looking, saliva inducing meal. An impressively, easy way to satiate the pizza cravings without doing the back-breaking pizza labor.

Red Beans, Onion, Garlic, Chilli, Tomato, Cheese and Chapati


1. Pressure cook: One cup red beans(soaked in water overnight beforehand) to tender or use the canned red beans.

2. Prepare chutney: In a skillet, add oil and cook coarsely chopped one onion, two tomatoes, three cloves of garlic and four chillies to brown. Cool, then add salt and blend to coarse puree.

3. Take fresh or leftover chapatis, about 4 to 6. Cut each chapati to 4 wedge-shaped pieces of equal size.

4. Slice to thin strips or grate cheese. I used Monterey Jack cheese in this recipe - About half cup.

Layering Chapati pieces, Tomato, chutney, red beans and cheese in an iron skillet

Before Meal Time:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In an iron skillet or in an ovenproof dish:
First, place the chapati pieces, then on top, add and spread tomato chutney to a thin layer. Sprinkle some red beans, cheese and cilantro. Continue until the last chapati, ending with a layer of the chutney, beans and cheese on top. Place the skillet in the oven and bake at 400°F for about 10-15 minutes, until the cheese melts and chapatis start to brown. Remove, slice and serve.

The whole combination of baked chapatis, spicy tomato chutney, red beans and cheese came out very well and tasted real good.

Slice of Red Bean Pizza

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Red Beans (Chori), Wheat Flour (Durum Atta), Cheese (Monday September 19, 2005 at 11:44 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes in Oven

Few roma tomatoes, each cut into five round slices, tossed in salt and pepper, then baked on a foil covered tray in the oven at 350°F for about 45 minutes.

Oven Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil

My first time making these and I am surprised at how easy it was to prepare them, and how good they tasted. Because I chopped them thin, I didn’t had to cook them for 3 to 4 hours in the oven.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato (Monday September 12, 2005 at 11:49 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Paratha + Frittata (Egg Pizza)

For this month’s EoMEoTE, I got this idea of combining paratha + frittata from the charming couple Mrs. D and Chopper Dave’s post Quittata. I mostly followed their recipe, but instead of puff pastry, I used homemade Paratha and also added the ingredients I liked (eggs of course and vegetables)- that’s how I came up with “Paratta“.

I wanted to make this with 6 eggs, as I felt very guilty to use one dozen eggs just for the two of us. My frugal mentality won’t allow me to even think about such excesses. But 6 were not enough, so finally I brought the number up to 8.

The ingredients I’ve added:

One paratha made to skillet size. (How to make Paratha? Follow the Gif)
8 eggs
One small onion, 2 green chillies- finely chopped
Half cup chickpeas, soaked in water beforehand for about one hour
Sun dried tomatoes, sliced - quarter cup
Few sprigs of cilantro, finely chopped - quarter cup or to taste
One medium sized tomato, sliced in thin round pieces for decoration
Salt to taste or ½ teaspoon

I’ve also added some leftover spinach curry to this mix. I did remove egg yolks because we both can’t stand the smell of yolks. I wanted to add eggplant too, I’ve even cut and prepared but unsure how they’d taste with eggs, at the last minute I’ve dropped adding eggplant slices to the egg mixture. Instead grilled the eggplant slices for a separate meal later in the day.

Eggs, Sun dried tomatoes, Chickpeas, Eggplant, Spinach, Tomato slices, Cilantro and Onions


Preheat the oven to 350* F

In a big bowl, break only 6 eggs. To these eggs add onions, green chillies, chickpeas, cilantro, spinach and salt. Whisk them together to blend well.

Heat an iron skillet on medium flame and fry the paratha lightly on both sides.

Now, pour the egg mixture on to the paratha and arrange the round tomato slices on top.

Break the remaining two eggs in the same bowl, whisk them well and pour this mixture on top of tomato slices.

Paratha Paratta in Making

Place the iron skillet in oven and bake at 350*F for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the center is set and sides are puffy golden.

When you are sure that paratta is well cooked, remove the skillet from oven. Let it cool for about 5 minutes then loosen the edges with a spatula or knife and slide it onto a serving plate. Cut Paratta into wedges and serve them warm or at room temperature.

Paratha+Frittata = Paratta

Slice of Paratta

This is one new dish that I am going to make frequently as we both were really satisfied with the final result.

My regular readers, you may be curious about my delayed posting today - your guess is right, I wanted to escape the primetime ratings drama by King George the Second. Really, who believes him anymore? (except of course the madcow infected ones.)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Wheat Flour (Durum Atta), Eggs (Tuesday June 28, 2005 at 9:09 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Egg Kurma

Plain eggs halves look beautiful and tasty in this colorful curry - mainly prepared with tomatoes… lot of tomatoes.


6 Eggs, boiled, peeled and each cut into two halves
6 to 8 big ripe juicy tomatoes, cut into small pieces
One small piece of coconut, powdered
1 tablespoon of fresh dhania-jeera(coriander-cumin) powder
4 cloves of garlic - finely minced
Salt and red chilli powder to taste or 1 tsp each

Tomatoes, Dhania-Jeera powder, Dry Coconut piece for Egg Kurma Tomato - Coconut Gravy Thickening on the Stove -


First do the popu (frying few mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves in 1 tsp of oil) in a pan. To it, add all the above ingredients except eggs. Cook it covered on high heat until the tomatoes are softened. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes to thicken the gravy. Don’t add water. The gravy must be all tomatoes and coconut. Just before you turn off the heat, add the boiled eggs and mix it once.

Egg Kurma (Egg Curry, Egg Pulusu)

When prepared with fresh ripe tomatoes, with or without the eggs, this will turn into one rich and satisfying curry. The taste of cooked and thickened tomato juice with lightly added Indian masala just explodes in your mouth when eaten with plain rice or with rotis.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Eggs (Monday June 27, 2005 at 7:27 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Tomato Rasam (Tomato Soup/Tomato Chaaru)

Our lunch today is big on taste, small on size, a quick and comforting sort of meal:

Tomato Rasam,
Sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, spinach, walnuts and red chilli garlic powder.
Yogurt with shredded carrot

Tomato rasam, yogurt with carrots and sandwich

Tomato Rasam Recipe:

Take few very ripe tomatoes, few leaves of cilantro and small piece of tamarind in a vessel.

Ripe Tomatoes, Cilantro and Tamarind

Add one cup of water to them and hand squeeze the tomatoes along with other ingredients until nothing hard left to squeeze (work those hand muscles). Add water if needed. Leave the contents undisturbed for few minutes to get the pulp settled at the bottom. Separate or strain the juice from the sediment below. How tasty the rasam depends on how juicy and fresh the tomatoes are. So attempt this rasam only with decent quality ripe or cherry tomatoes.

In a mortar take half teaspoon each of black peppercorns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds and make a fine powder of them with a pestle.

Tomato, cilantro and tamarind juice after hand squeezing the raw ingredientsBlack pepper, coriander seeds and cumin seeds in mortar

Do the popu (frying mustards seeds, cumin and curry leaves in oil), use just a drop of oil for popu. Even 1 tsp of oil is too much for the rasam, it spoils the rasam taste with oiliness. To the popu, add the tomato-tamarind juice and half to one glass of water. Don’t dilute it too much with water. Add half teaspoon of salt, dhania-jeera-pepper powder and one teaspoon of sugar or powdered jaggery. Mix it once, have a taste and adjust the seasonings. And bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Tomato Rasam (Tomato Soup)

You can have it as soup or with rice. Tomatoes’ sweet tartness, tamarind’s sourness and jaggery’s sweetness combine and make this into one tasty rasam.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Vegetables, Tomato, Amma & Authentic Andhra (Wednesday June 22, 2005 at 3:09 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

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