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ISO Indian recipe involving chickpeas and garam masala

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I know there must be one, the name's just escaping me at the moment.

Does anyone have a good recipe, or at least a name?

I have some chickpeas/garbanzo beans soaking in water at the moment.

I have garam masala powder.

In the kitchen, there are the usual suspects: carrots, tomatoes, onions, yogurt, dried and fresh chilis, etc.

What can I whip up as a side for butter chicken?

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  1. I don't have a recipe offhand, but are you thinking of chana masala?

    1. As already said, chana masala is probably what you're looking for. If you google it, you'll find tons of recipes.

      For a side I'd stir-fry some greens, very simple, to cut the richness of the chicken. Serve with some nice Indian bread and you'll have a feast.

      1. Not using chick peas or garam masala, but another great side dish for butter chicken is spiced spinach.
        saute a chopped onion, a crushed garlic clove, about a tsp of turmeric and 2 tsp of cumin seeds in some butter or ghee, until they're golden in color(although the turmeric makes everything golden lol)
        add 2 lbs fresh washed spinach and cover tightly, cook for about 5 minutes shaking the pan often, then uncover and cook until all the liquid is gone and the spinach is done.. salt and pepper and there you go.

        1. I think the really nice chana dal recipe in the Aussie Women's Weekly Indian cookbook has garam masala.

          1. I cannot vouch for the quality of the outcome described in this recipe, but I came across it as I looked for the difference between paneer makhani and paneer tikka masala, which from what I gather is that one contains butter, and the other doesn't.


            3 Replies
            1. re: FelafelBoy

              Although the term 'makhani' translates into 'butter,' paneer tikka masala is just chicken tikka masala made with cheese, and chicken tikka masala (CTM) often contains butter as well. There's very little delineation between CTM and murgh makhani (butter chicken), resulting in very little difference between paneer tikka masala and paneer makhani. Although there's hundreds of variations, you're basically talking about the same dish.

              1. re: scott123

                Hmmm ... interesting, but following along with your explanation leads me to think of the dal makhani I have had at various restaurants and the sauce the dal is in is a far cry from that in the paneer and/or chicken tikka masala and what I'd guess paneer makhani to be. I'd guess that the addition of a tomato addition (paste?) and perhaps even cream makes the sauce different. The dal makhani I have had in most places is tasteless even in the "butter" sauce. Labels on the dal makhani always include the ingredient butter, but I'd much rather have tarka dal or almost any other dal. Is this dish traditionally made as plain as those I have had? (The only ones I have had with some flavor were one that included one or two other beans, and I believe a little addition of tomato. Really makes a difference.)

                1. re: FelafelBoy

                  Dal makhani is a completely different animal. Dal, regardless of the variety, is never sauced. Dal, by definition, is a form of a sauce. Dal makhani is just beans made with cream and butter. Just because there's 'makhani' in the title doesn't mean that it contains the traditional tomato based, cream, butter 'makhani gravy' that's typically used for paneer makhani, murgh makhani, paneer tikka masala and chicken tikka masala. Makhani and tikka masala gravies are almost always tomato, butter and cream based, and the tomato is almost always in the form of paste, giving them a rich tomatoey boldness. At least, when they're done right.

                  As far as tarka dal being superior to dal makhani, I have found this as well. There are a couple of reasons for this.

                  The 'makhani' in dal makhani is a bit of a misnomer. Dal makhani doesn't really contain that much butter. It's mostly cream with a little bit of butter. Tarka dal, on the other hand contains a ton of butter/ghee. It utilizes a process where the butter/ghee is tempered with spices, bringing the flavor of the spices to the forefront and providing a rich buttery taste.

                  Cream has a tendency to mask flavor. This is why you find the cream based dal makhani somewhat bland. A butter based dish will always have a bolder flavor than a cream based one.

                  Other than the differences between butter and cream, we're also talking about different beans. Red lentils, in general, will always be more flavorful than the brown lentils/kidney beans used in dal makhani.

                  And lastly, this is just a theory, but I believe another factor that contributes to the inferiority of dal makhani is the substitution of half & half (or even milk) for the much more expensive cream. Even though the flavor masking effect of the milkfat is lost, it lowers the fat overall, creating a lowfat dish. Not using enough fat is pretty much the kiss of death for Indian food- dals especially.