White peas (chana) in Dhansak masala

While cooking pulses learn to variate the masalas you use. Be bold and go beyond your four or five spice mixes that you have. You can mix and match. There are however some masalas  that are designed to compliment the pulse; an example being kabuki chana, which has a nutty flavour when cooked and is perfectly complimented by a  robust masala . However the same masala can be used when cooking meat and veggies together as the flavours compliment each other. Today I used a Parsi dhansak masala, anoter robust masala which compliments pulses, vegetables, grain and meat. 

If you live in Mumbai and can get your hands on this brand then I strongly recommend you do as the combination of masala in this brand are down to science. I purchase my dhansak masala from Gangar stores, Dadar T. T. The masala is packed by A.A. brothers and the telephone number is 24166299, 24128561. A hundred grams packet costs you Rs 60 but this is worth the money. This brand was recommended to  me by a Parsi in Dubia( of all places).Today, I used this masala to cook the white peas to give this dish a distinct dhansak flavour.

White peas – 150 grams
Onions – 2 large
Tomatoes – 4 medium size
Cinnamon – small stick
Cardamom- 2
Cloves – 2
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Dhansak masala – two tablespoons
Fresh coriander- one handful

A few tips and the method of cooking

Soak the peas overnight. Drain water and add fresh water enough to cover the peas. Place this in a pressure cooker, add salt and cook for seven whistles. Reserve any pea stock. if you wish to alter the colour of this dish to a darker colour then add a tea bag while pressure cooking the peas. Use the same stock to get a deep brown colour. You can use the same hack when making your kabuli chana dish. Do not worry, the tea flavour does not change the taste of the dish.

In a pot, heat oil and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle add the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. They will puff up with the heat of the oil  while releasing their own flavourful oils. Now add the thinly sliced onions. Fry this till the onions are golden brown. Add the tomatoes and half a cup of the pea stock. Cook this till the tomatoes have broken down. Now add two tablespoons of the dhansak masala and quarter cup water and cook this on slow fire for five minutes. Add the peas and stock as required and continue to cook this on slow heat for twenty minutes. If you are running out of stock add water. After twenty minutes add a handful of fresh chopped coriander. If you find you have too much stock in your pot then squish the peas with the back of  cooking spoon. This will help thicken the gravy. Allow this dish to rest for at least two hours before reheating and serving.


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