True story. I used to be cautious with Indian food. Now, I love it. As in, I can’t get enough of it. As in, I went to India for 11 days and came back craving, no not a steak, but more Indian food. Here is the thing, though, it isn’t a food that I find easy to make. There is a lot of preparation and generally a long list of ingredients, which basically explains why it is so good. I once asked my mother-in-law for her chole recipe and threw in the towel after only reading about halfway down the list. Thus, comes in my list of imitation foods that I can make quickly on weekdays, shortcut-style. I’m not pretending these could even come close in taste to an actual Indian meal, but they help get me through until our Thursday night, Indian-restuarant night or our next trip to the in-law’s house.
Chole- This is simple. Buy a bag of dried garbanzo beans. Follow the directions on the bag for either the long soak or the quick soak. Then, cook the beans in about 5-6 cups of water. I use my favorite Dutch oven but any large pot will work. Bring beans and water to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours. Remove as much excess water as you can with a ladle; there should be some water leftover. At this point, you can also remove 2-3 cups of beans and set aside for the Roasted Chole recipe below. Next, add the Goan Coconut simmer sauce pictured above to the pot and continue to simmer until heated through, toss some frozen naan in the oven, and spoon the “chole” over jasmine or basmati rice. Add some chopped cilantro to the top if you are feeling fancy. Oh, and if you are feeling especially last-minute, you could always buy 2-3 cans of garbanzo beans and cook them on the stove with this sauce until heated through; how is that for a 15-minute meal?
Roasted Chole- Now, what to do with the chole leftovers? Leftovers at our house just sit and sit and sit. After we have inhaled as much of the chole from above as we can, I try to get any excess sauce off the leftover garbanzo beans by using a slatted spoon. Then I line a cookie sheet with them, toss in olive oil, and cook at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. There you have it~ an instant protein-rich snack for the week. Remember how I mentioned you could pull out 2-3 cups of plain garbanzo beans? If you chose to go that route, you follow the same directions above but also toss with salt (or whatever spice combination you choose to experiment with). Easy, easy.
Samosa’s- This last recipe is an oldie-but-goodie that I make often from Real Simple magazine. It is their Easy Samosas Recipe. Samosas are a great appetizer with either store-bought (hey, we are taking shortcuts here anyway, right?) mango chutney or an easy mint chutney. (For the mint chutney pictured above, I just blended 8 ounces of greek yogurt, 50 mint leaves, 15-20 cilantro leaves, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and a splash of milk.)
There you go… 3 Easy Indian Dishes. I hope you find them as delicious as I do!
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