May 06, 2014
I am going to be brutally honest.
The best way to get on my bad side is to be pretentious. Maybe because most of the confident - successful - and talented individuals I have met and known in my lifetime have had one common quality: humility. This includes the late great Dizzy Gillespie, Rosa Parks, President Barack Obama, Colin Powell, Indian actors Shabana Azmi and Amitabh Bachchan.
I truly believe that once we become pretentious in our respective careers - we also lose the ability to listen and learn. I learn as much from watching and listening to the amazingly talented chefs in my life as I do from interacting with the security guards that watch the parking lot where I park daily to get coffee. Because, when I give them an Indian dish to try and they like it - I know I have a winner - despite our vastly different food backgrounds and knowledge.
Now in the culinary space - I am always amazed when I witness preconceived notions. From trained chefs to home cooks. And, one question that runs rampant - what is real cooking and what is not?
Having written a slow cooker book and having been raised in an Indian-American household primarily by the ease of Indian slow cooking really seems to bug some folks. They claim that 'dump and go' is not real cooking. Somehow, a shortcut means what comes out of the crock pot is less than tasty. Less than real food. Less than what they could produce toiling for hours over a hot stove.
I say, 'get over yourself'. I have spent hours toiling in the kitchen, getting my recipes just right, and presenting them perfectly. But, on days when I must get dinner on the table for my children (ages 11 and 9) w/out relying on take out - the 'dump and go' method works just fine. Especially because we rarely make exceptions for ease of cooking over taste. My kids love real authentic Indian tastes and flavors - and that's what they expect coming out of the slow cooker as well. And, it does.
So, for the days when you have the luxury, enjoy your time in the kitchen prepping and fussing. But, when you don't, brush off that guilt and know that you have done good by getting yourself and your family a meal you can feel great about. And, think of me!
Dump and Go Chana Masala
This recipe is an adaption of my recipe from The Indian Slow Cooker, page 77. I've shaved the cooking time by added two steps - soaking the beans and using boiling water instead of room temp.
3 cups dried chickpeas, picked over, washed, soaked overnight, and drained
1 medium yellow or red onion, minced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated or minced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1-6 Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and diced, optional
1 tablespoon cumin seeds (or powder)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chana masala
1 tablespoon red chile powder or cayenne, optional
1-2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
8 cups boiling water
1. Dump all of your ingredients from the drained chickpeas to the boiling water in a 5-quart slow cooker.
2. Cook on the High setting for at least 8 hours. Here's what you get when you are done:
3. Garnish with chopped cilantro and fresh onion. Serve with basmati rice/brown rice-quinoa or roti or pita.
If you like this recipe - you are going to LOVE what's coming up this Fall in my new book, Indian For Everyone. We are hoping you will support me and the new book by pre-ordering your copy now. If you do, send me an email and I will send you a special PDF with a few extras just to say thank you for being part of my village. I truly appreciate all the love and support. Just CLICK ON AMAZON.COM AND ORDER YOUR COPY NOW. And when I am in your city for my book tour, I look forward to signing it!