Mingle Dish – Baked Garbanzos with beans

I got a lot of compliments on the mingle dish tonight and wanted to share the recipe. Really, the secret is the tomato sauce. You could probably get away with doing anything with this sauce and it would be great. By the way, this was the solution to my tomato problem of a few weeks ago. 😉 Clever, huh? So it’s another food / recipe post on my blog. You can just skip it if you want (but you’d be missing out on some tasty food!)

This is all from Mark Bittman’s book: How to Make Everything Vegetarian, which has become my favorite cookbook of all times.

The base of the recipe:

4 cups Garbanzo Beans
1 recipe Spicy Indian Tomato Sauce (warmed)
1 1/2 cups cheese (The recipe recommended fresh cheese, I used mozzarella)
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup cilantro (which I forgot to put on)
Salt and pepper to taste

Grease the pan you are cooking in with a little of the butter. Layer on the sauce, then the beans. Insert chunks of cheese into the layers, and lightly salt and pepper. Pour the remaining (melted) butter over the top. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the beans and the cheese are a little browned. Garnish with a little more pepper and the cilantro.

Here’s the good recipe: And seriously, you could use this to fill donuts and it would be good. 😉 Ok, maybe not donuts… But this sauce is Amazing!

See my notes afterwards. I’ll explain some how I did it, because I didn’t quite do it the same way. It’s not a difficult recipe, but it does require some chopping and paying attention to it on the stove.

Spicy Indian Tomato Sauce

Makes 2 cups.

4 T butter or 1/4 c neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
one 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 T minced fresh chile or hot red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste
2 T garam masala or curry powder
1/2 t chili powder
large pinch sugar
2 c chopped ripe tomato (about 1 lb. whole), preferably peeled and seeded, or drained canned tomatoes
1/2 cream or coconut milk
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 t cumin seeds
1 t mustard seeds

1. Put 3 T of the butter or oil in a deep skillet over medium0-high heat. When the butter is melted or oil is hot, add onion, garlic, ginger and chile. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garam masala, chili powder and sugar and sprinkle with salt and pepper; cook and stir until spices become fragrant, a minute or two more.

2. Add tomato and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to release its liquid, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and cilantro and keep cooking and stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.

3. Turn heat down so the sauce bubbles gently and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato breaks up and the mixture comes together and thickens, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. (The sauce may be made ahead to this point, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before proceeding.)

4. Put remaining butter or oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add cumin and mustard seeds and toast them until they begin to pop. Spoon over the sauce just before serving.

My notes:
– I didn’t do the toasting of cumin and mustard seeds this time, but it’s a nice addition.

– Garam Masala is an Indian Spice which I still haven’t really found in the stores I frequent. Fortunately my recipe book (see above) has a recipe, which shows its about equal parts cumin and cinnamon, plus some other exotic spices. I just threw in equal parts cumin and cinnamon, and to be on the safe side, some curry powder I had laying around. It tasted just fine.

– The fresh ginger is great! The first time I tried it, I left the pieces a little bigger, which added special pockets of flavor. This time I minced rather finely. (I didn’t ever get a ginger chunk, as I didn’t get very much to taste.)

– I didn’t have any cream or coconut milk, so I used some of the plain yogurt I had laying around. It added a touch of tanginess.

– Through the full cooking time I thought that the sauce was too liquidy, but it came together right at the end after I turned the heat off and was the right consistency, something like a very chunky spaghetti sauce.

– I went a little overboard on the jalepenos, in my opinion, but you can vary according to your taste. Many of the people at the mingle liked the heat where it was.