When I’m in the mood for a good comfort food that doesn’t involve pasta or cheese, I automatically think of Indian. The warmth, as well as the vibrant colors and pleasant aroma of the wide array of herbs and spices really make my mouth water and awaken my taste buds long before I take that first bite. Additionally, when I’m looking for a meal that is really filling but don’t necessarily feel like eating meat, Indian food is the perfect choice. Anyone who has had the chance to peruse an Indian lunch buffet can tell you that the variety of vegetarian options is quite impressive, from Palak Panner or Vegetable Jalfrezi to Naratna Korma, Baingan Bharta or Dum Aloo, just to name a few.
Fortunately the Internet is teeming with variations of recipes for all of these dishes specific to region of origin, and the availability of the many different spice blends makes it possible for you to duplicate them right in your own home.
It is with respectful humility that I offer the following recipe into the pool. Please note that I make absolutely no claims of authenticity with regard to this recipe. It is simply my own take on a dish that I regularly order in my local Indian restaurant. My modest copycat is quick to assemble and cook, hearty and full of flavor, and smells amazing. So if you’re looking for something different for dinner tonight; something with minimal effort after your challenging workday; pick up some Garam Masala (a spice mixture containing ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg) at your local grocery store, along with a few other common inexpensive ingredients and prepare yourself for a real treat.
Additionally, this recipe can be put together in the crock pot and cooked on low throughout the day, waiting to warm and comfort you as you unwind.
This recipe can’t be any simpler. Measurements can be approximate and you can feel free to delete or add any ingredients that you might have around your kitchen. Get creative!
I had on hand:
1 medium yellow onion
6 cloves of garlic
4 large Russet potatoes, cleaned and chopped
1 can of chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 25-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of raw coconut oil – olive or vegetable oil will work if you don’t have coconut – I love the flavor the coconut imparts to the dish
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon ground ginger – fresh ginger can be used instead, but I just had the dried
2 tablespoons of Garam Masala seasoning (alternatively, you could put together your own version by combining ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and nutmeg, to taste)
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt butter and oil in large pan (with lid) on medium low.
2. Mince onion, garlic and – if using – fresh ginger and cook in the oil, sweating the vegetables for about 3 minutes. For some heat, feel free to add in chile peppers. I didn’t have any on hand, otherwise I would have.
3. Add your chopped potatoes and chick peas to the pan, increase temperature to medium high and stir, cooking for about 3 minutes.
4. Add spices – Garam Masala, turmeric, and ground ginger – to the pan, stirring to coat the potatoes and chick peas.
5. Open and add in can of crushed tomatoes and stir.
6. Add 2 cups of water and stir (I also had half a can of coconut milk left over in the fridge from a recipe earlier in the week. I replaced some of the water with the coconut milk – the added richness was divine!). Place lid on the pan and let it cook until boiling. If you need to raise the temperature, feel free to do so. Once the mixture is boiling, turn on low, put the lid back on and just let it go, returning every 15 minutes or so to stir.
Cook until potatoes are tender (I like my potatoes starchy and falling apart). If you like it thicker, take the lid off and continue cooking until some of the liquid evaporates and it’s more like a thick sauce (That’s how I like mine!) Salt and pepper to taste.
Eat as a stew, or put over some Basmati or Jasmine Rice – or whatever you have on hand! There’s no real wrong way to make an Indian-inspired dish; the spices really do the work for you. When you’re tired and hungry and want something comforting but don’t feel like ordering takeout, this recipe will definitely satisfy.
Try this recipe out and let me know what you think! Make any changes? Feel free to share! Enjoy!