Chana Curry Buns: #182 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Chana is the Hindi word for chickpea, a widely used legume in Indian cuisine. These yeasted buns have a curry-scented dough and a filling of spiced chickpeas, coconut milk, raisins, and onions. They were inspired by the Great British Bakeoff cookbook and proved to be a lovely accompaniment to our asparagus leek potato soup.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($5.50 total for 4 large stuffed buns)

Dough:
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1/3 cup hottest tap water + 1 cup warm water – free
4 cups white whole wheat flour – $0.64
1 tbsp curry powder – $0.70
2 tsp salt – $0.10
1 tbsp sesame seeds – $0.08
1/4 cup olive oil – $0.40

Filling:
1 tbsp canola oil – $0.05
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
3 celery stalks, chopped – $0.15
2 garlic cloves, minced – $0.08
1/2 tsp turmeric – $0.14
1/2 tsp cumin – $0.14
2 tsp curry powder – $0.56
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1/4 cup raisins – $0.25
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained – $0.79
1/4 cup coconut milk – $0.49
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Prepare the dough: in a small plastic bowl, mix the yeast, brown sugar, and 1/3 cup hottest tap water together briefly. Let it sit for 5 minutes to bloom the yeast until a thick foam forms on top. In a large metal bowl, mix the flour, curry powder, salt, and sesame seeds.

Once the yeast has bloomed, add the yeast mixture and the olive oil to the flour mixture. Stir well with a wooden spoon to form it into a dough. Knead the dough with your hands for 10 minutes, then put it back in the metal bowl. Cover with cling wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until it has doubled in size.

2. Prepare the filling: In a large pan, heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes to soften the onions. Add in the garlic, turmeric, cumin, and curry powder, and mix well. Next, add the raisins and chickpeas, and finally the coconut milk.

Stir to combine and cook for about 10 minutes over low heat, until the mixture is pretty dry. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings as needed. Remove from heat and cool.

3. Assemble the chana buns: cut the risen dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece out on a cutting board to a circle about 6 inches across. Divide the filling into 4 portions and put one portion into the center of each circle. Wrap the dough around the filling and pinch the ends together. Turn the bun over so the pinched ends are underneath, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Cover the buns with a tea towel and let them rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled. Remove the cover and bake the buns at 425F for 20 minutes until they’re nice and golden brown. Cut into them and serve warm with your favorite soup or salad.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If any of you amazing cooks tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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