The first time I made khatte channe — chickpeas in tamarind sauce — I was delighted and a bit shocked that something so satisfying and delicious had barely taken 20 minutes to make. I tasted it as it bubbled on the stove and was amazed. I stole quite a few spoonfuls before I made the call to serve it plain and avoid eating my dinner straight from the pan. I couldn’t even wait for the rice to cook. Yes, I also happened to be really hungry, but still. Warm spices and sour tamarind took canned plum tomatoes and chickpeas from ho-hum pantry staples to something I couldn’t wait to make again. I thought I’d have enough left to bring to work for lunch, but I was barely able to scrape half a cup out of the pan after dinner.
To stretch my leftovers, I added some roasted vegetables that I found in the fridge and was again so thrilled with the punchy sauce that I wanted to drink it. But since that would be unseemly, I decided to do the next best thing and turn it into soup.
Soups and stews are some of my favorite work lunches, in part because my office is freezing most of the time (and especially when it’s below freezing outside). I did once have an unfortunate mishap on my way to work, when a stranger informed me that my bag was leaking chicken noodle. Luckily, it was a cheap purse and my Kindle suffered no damage from its brief swim. Since then, I’ve stuck with my most trustworthy glass containers and jars with tight-fitting lids….