the appetizer:

Learn authentic Indian cooking with American Masala by Suvir Saran, including recipes like Savory Indian Crêpes with Tomato-Shallot Chutney (Cheelas); Goan-Style Shrimp Curry; and Chicken-Chickpea Harira.



Chicken-Chickpea Harira

Chicken-Chickpea Harira


Serves 8

Harira is a Moroccan soup that is served during Ramadan to break the day's fast. It is most often prepared with lamb and perfumed with spices like turmeric and cinnamon. Boneless chicken thigh meat generally has a silkier texture and more depth of flavor than chicken breast meat (though chicken breast meat can be easily substituted if you prefer). My favorite saffron comes from Kashmir, a state in northern India. Its color, aroma, and taste are headier than Spanish or Persian saffron, and its depth of flavor and color is stronger. To get the most flavor from saffron, use a mortar and pestle to grind the threads into a fine powder.

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground peppercorns
  • 5 whole cloves
  • A 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 red onions, finely diced
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless chicken thigh meat, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cored and diced
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon Toasted Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala, Sambhaar, or curry powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil with the ground peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon stick in a large pot over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook until they're soft and lightly browned around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken and cook until the meat releases its liquid and the pan dries, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix in the turmeric, Aleppo pepper, and salt and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fresh tomatoes and cook until they release their juices, about 1/2 minutes, stirring often and scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the chickpeas, canned tomatoes, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes. Stir in the saffron, Toasted Cumin, Garam Masala, and the chopped cilantro. Taste for seasoning and serve.

  • from:
  • American Masala:
    125 New Classics From My Home Kitchen
  • by Suvir Saran with Raquel Pelzel
  • Clarkson Potter 2007
  • Hardcover; 272 pages; $35.00
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-307-34150-1; 030734150X
  • Recipe reprinted by permission.

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American Masala


This page created February 2008

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