Sherpa Pie

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c cooked chana (chickpeas)
  • 4 s/m potatoes
  • 1 med. carrot
  • 1 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1 med. onion
  • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp asaoetida
  • 3/4 tsp salt

I decided to soak and cook some chana to address and perhaps overcome the seemingly nonsensical aversion I have to the taste of their shape, which is what I imagine elves’ poop must look like. My first instinct on this path to overcoming the more human attributes of tiny mystical creatures was to think about mashing them into some manner of delicious burger, meatball, meat patty or some other such animalesque fashion. Making something familiar was a good way to make the unfamiliar feel more welcome, right?

Well, tell that to the internets.

Most often returned results of the search string “recipe chickpeas” will get you largely two answers: hummus and chana masala. Both of which I have had, made and do not mind. Granted, hummus isn’t really a hot meal and we’re low on naan. Cross it off the dinner list. Chana masala… delicious, but still contains that impish little pop in your mouth I despise. And its roots come from another continent, which is just about the opposite of “familiar” to a girl born and raised in South Carolina. Who wasn’t in the mood for rice tonight. But wait… there were potatoes in the pantry! Oh, yes, sir.

Cut up the potatoes and start them to boiling. Start 2 tsp of with the black mustard seeds in a large, deep pan heating to M. Quarter the onion, add 1/4 c water and the garlic and -ginger pastes then pulse it all in the food processor until minimally chunky. Cut your carrot into small pieces and add to the onion. Pulse it a couple of times until carrot is your desired meal size. The onion should be getting to the consistency of cold grits. By this time, your mustard seeds are surely popping — spatula out the food processor into the pan. Even out the layer and let it continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5m. Add the undrained can of tomatoes, stir everything together. Start adding the rest of your seasonings, holding back 1/2 tsp salt for the potatoes. When everything is uniform, fold in the chana.

Let this cook for just another minute or two, then turn the burner off and let it stew while you drain the potatoes and mash them with the almond milk, sour cream and salt. Move back to your chana and give it a last stir before layering it all in the bottom of a casserole dish. Top it with the mashed potatoes, cover and bake at 350° for 20m. 4 spoons — could be five if the carrots were a little more tender and the potatoes a little more hifallutin.


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