Cook shares her love of India

ONCE I got married, my mother-in-law made me her proper Rajasthani version of a dish my own mother's family had been cooking for years. Rajasthan is a desert, so you can't always find fresh ingredients and dishes would often be conjured up from larder ingredients.

These little dumplings (gatta), based on my mother-in-law's, are cooked in a simple but incredibly tasty yogurt and tomato sauce which is based on the one my mother made. It is fun to make, easy, cooks in 20 minutes and is exquisite. I crave it if I haven't eaten it for a while.

Rajasthani chickpea dumpling curry

SERVES: 3-4

Ingredients

For the gatta:

125g (1 cup) chickpea flour

11⁄2 tbs vegetable oil, plus more to make the dumplings

2 rounded tbsp plain yogurt

1⁄2 tsp salt

3⁄4 tsp cumin seeds

1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric

1⁄4 tsp chilli powder, or to taste

1⁄4 tsp carom seeds

For the curry:

1 medium-large tomato

2 rounded tbs plain yogurt

2 tbs vegetable oil

3⁄4 tsp cumin seeds

1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric

1⁄4 tsp chilli (chili) powder

11⁄2 tsp ground coriander

1⁄3 tsp garam masala

Handful of coriander leaves (optional), to serve

Method

Knead together all the ingredients for the gatta. The dough should be of a medium firmness.

Bring a large pot (around 700ml/3 cups) water to a rolling boil and salt it. Meanwhile, rub some oil onto your hands, take small portions of the dough and roll into long ropes, 2cm in diameter. The length isn't important; mine are usually 8-10cm long.

Add the dumplings to the boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes; they will rise to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and pour the cooking water into a measuring jug. Slice the ropes across into ½-1cm thick "coins”.

For the curry, blend the tomato and yogurt to a fine puree. Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan over a low heat. Add the cumin seeds and, once they redden (around 20 seconds), add the remaining spices and cook gently for another 15 seconds. Add the tomato mixture and a little salt and cook, stirring, until it has reduced to a thick paste and you can see oil droplets coming out at the sides, around 10 minutes.

Add the gatta and 500ml (2 cups) of their cooking liquor into the pot. Bring to the boil and simmer for 6-7 minutes.

The gravy will be only lightly creamy and will thicken further as it sits so, if need be, add a little more of the gatta "stock”. Season to taste and serve with rice or Indian breads, scattering with coriander.

This is an edited extract from I Love India by Anjum Anand, published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $39.99 and is available in stores nationally.


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