Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Indian Sweet Chickpea Spread and Mango Marmalade (Chutney)

America's Test Chicken consists of two separate chickens, each with her own take on this cooking thing. Check out Chicken One's related blog, A Travel for Taste where she shares travel stories and recipes collected whenever she ventures abroad. And give Chicken Two's new, also-related blog, Poop from the Coop a read. There you can find stories about her personal adventure re-experiencing the kitchen after many years away. Please join our Facebook group to share your own recipes, kitchen practices and know-how. We are also on Pinterest and Instagram.
The complete recipes appear at the end of this post.

From Chicken One:
Indian Sweet Chickpea Spread/Flatbread Filling
I'm excited to bring you this recipe. Besides this being a dish completely new to me, it's a recipe from my new Indian cookbook, Indian Harvest by Vikas Khanna. Even if you never cook a single thing from this book, it would make a beautiful coffee table book because of the stunning photography inside. It's a joy to use!

Another reason for my excitement: two new ingredients. The first goes by several names, including Bengal gram and chana dal. Here they are with the dried version on the left and ones I soaked overnight for this recipe on the right:
It actually consists of immature chickpeas, dried, polished and split. It looks a lot like lentils, and many people refer to them as such. Dal is the Indian word for beans and lentils and such, so that explains the chana dal moniker.

The second new ingredient is jaggery, a name that does not describe how sweet it is! Basically, it's unrefined sugar in block form.
Jaggery can be made from sugarcane juice or other plant-based juice such as that of the date palm. Mine was from sugarcane.

The worst part of working with jaggery is that I had to grate it. See knuckle-protection advice over there in Chicken Two's column! Next time I'll buy the grated type.

Although this recipe can be used as a gluten-free, vegetarian spread for toast or anything else you like, it's actually intended to be a filling for a festival flatbread.

We were going to present the flatbreads first in this post, but there were some major SCAFUs (Situations Chicken All Fowled Up) in the kitchen regarding those. Therefore, we are going to try making the flatbreads again with better success before we give you those recipes. Look for them (we hope) in the next post!

Meanwhile, enjoy the sweet stuff this week on toast or crackers until we get you the authentic (again, we hope!) delivery vehicle.
From Chicken Two:
Mango Marmalade (Chutney)

I have to tell you that since we started cooking Indian cuisine, my exposure to different spices has definitely changed what I like in flavors! Now, when I taste a dish, if it doesn't leave just the right amount of pucker, I say it's missing something.

There's nothing missing from mango marmalade, let me tell you! It's simple ingredients taste wonderful and will reach out and smack you in the kisser when you're not looking. Oooeeee! Hot stuff, and I love it.

To quote the author of this recipe, "crisp - tender unripe mango, puckered with natural sourness that was balanced with a smothering of sweet sugar, blood-pumping cayenne and sensuous cardamon". I mean, who can resist anything described with such passion?

The recipe comes from what has become our go-to Indian cookbook, Indian Cooking Unfolded by Raghavan Iyer. We've mentioned him in previous posts. He waxes poetic in his very detailed instructions!

The recipe is below, but a word or two of caution:
You will need to grate a peeled mango. It gets pretty slippery so watch your knuckles! I had a couple of close calls. You can also use a mandoline, but I felt it was just another opportunity to slice and dice my hand! Better to be safe!

I. Sweet Chickpea Spread and Flatbread Filling
  • 1 cup dried Bengal gram (dried, split chickpeas; chana dal)
  • enough to soak chickpeas + 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup grated jaggery
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Cooking Directions
  1. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water plus one inch. Soak them overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place in saucepan with 3 cups fresh water and cook til very soft, about an hour.
  3. Drain and place in food processor with jaggery and cardamom. Process til very smooth.
  4. Serve as a spread or use as filling for puran poli, an Indian festival flatbread.

II. Indian Mango Marmalade (Chutney)
  • 1 pound unripe mango
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ground red cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Cooking Directions
  1. Peel the mango and, using a box grater, shred on all sides as close as you can get to the pit. You should end up with about 4 cups of shreds.
  2. Place mango in a medium-sized saucepan and stir in sugar, vinegar, cayenne, and cardamom. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the liquid starts to evaporate, after 8 to 10 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue simmering, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sugar starts to caramelize and look bubbly(about 10 to 15 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat and let it cool. It can be stored in a glass container for a month in the refrigerator. Best served warm, so you can microwave it for a minute or two before using.
  4. Makes about 2 cups

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