This yummy soulful curry is easy- you just need to get your spices at Ratto’s

Chana (Chickpea) Masala

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Region Indian
This classic North Indian recipe has a combination of tips from Rajasthani and Gujarati friends. I make it weekly, as my go-to comfort food.


  • 1 heaped tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 heaped tablespoon tumeric (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes (to taste)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 heaped tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 1 Large piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 cube jaggery (substitute a teaspoon of raw sugar or agave syrup if unavailable)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (soak and cook your own, or use canned)
  • 32fl oz good quality canned tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste (Substitute Cider vinegar if unavailable)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garam masala (ground)


This delicious recipe is a culmination of years of adjusting what I had learned in Udaipur, Rajasthan. With the help of a Gujarati friend in Washington DC, I added the fenugreek, plus the jaggery and tamarind to give it a sweet and sour kick.  The best thing is, once you have the pot simmering, you can leave it and work on other things. Just don't leave the flame too high.


Step 1
In your food processor, blend onion, ginger and garlic into a rough paste
Step 2
Toast spices in hot pan for a few minutes until they release a delightful scent. You may grind your spices or leave them whole for surprise bites of flavor.
Step 3
Sautee jaggery and spices (except salt and pepper) in coconut oil until jaggery melts. If using agave, wait until step 5.
Step 4
Add onion mixture, stir and saute for about a minute
Step 5
Add canned tomatoes, chickpeas, and reduce heat to a simmer. Add agave syrup, if using.
Step 6
Add tamarind or vinegar, and salt and pepper
Step 7
Simmer for about 30-45 minutes, covered, until flavors meld, adding water if necessary to keep moist,
Step 8
Remove from heat, sprinkle with Garam Masala. Garnish with fresh Cilantro. Serve over Basmati rice, with a nice chutney and raita.

Aren’t we lucky to get all this for under $20 at our Old Oakland Friday Farmer’s Market!

Farmer’s Market: Enough Said. Well, maybe not. I think I’ll preserve the Meyer lemons, Moroccan style, roast the Delicata squash with sage and Ratto’s olive oil, make a Turnip Gratin with Gruyere, serve the last of the tomatoes with fresh Mozzarella, and put the pomegranate seeds in an Arugula Salad. Yes, you can get the accompanying ingredients here. Yes, recipes are forthcoming.


We have a number of new salts that can jazz up your next meal (or your next tequila drink!)

We’ve just received a plethora of gorgeous salts. Salts from the sea, salts from volcanoes, salts infused with dried truffles and porcinis, salts with herbs. They are a quick taste booster to any dish. They also have an amazing way of making your next Tequila-based drink extra special. Just rub some citrus around the rim, and dip your glass in the salt. Here we’ve mixed lava salt with chili powder for a very fun and explosive flavor. Hint: chill your glasses in the freezer for extra refreshment.

Ratto’s has excellent quality ingredients for your homemade condiments. Try this aioli with smoked fish or roasted potatoes, or jazz it up with some smoked paprika as a dip.


Serves 4-8
Prep time 10 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Condiment
Misc Child Friendly, Gourmet, Serve Cold
Region Italian
This is a wonderful accompaniment to smoked fish, roasted vegetables, or added to a sandwich


  • 1 Medium egg (room temperature!)
  • 1 clove garlic (smashed)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup Ratto's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Do make sure your egg is room temperature!


Step 1
Pulse together the egg, garlic, Dijon, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a food processor
Step 2
Gently pour a thin stream of the remaining olive oil while the machine is running. As it thickens you will hear the sound change
Step 3
Stop machine and check consistency. If too thin, turn machine on and continue to add oll. If too thick, add more lemon juice or water.
Step 4
Season with salt & pepper. Add fresh herbs or spices to jazz it up, if you wish.

This perky dressing can stand up to strong flavors like a raw kale salad. Just wash, chop and massage fresh kale & toss with the dressing. Top with toasted nuts. Alternately, use as a dip for crudites.

Tahini Dijon Dressing

Serves 4-6
Prep time 5 minutes
Allergy Tree Nuts
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Condiment
Misc Child Friendly, Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
A perky dressing for many occasions


  • 2 tablespoons Tahini (stirred well)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Small shallot (minced)
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 2 tablespoons White Wine vinegar
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Ratto's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 dash sugar
  • Sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 knob fresh ginger (peeled and chopped (optional))


This can keep up with strong flavors, like a raw kale salad, or use as a dip for crudites


Step 1
Combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor & blend
Step 2
Slowly drizzle in olive oil until blended
Step 3
Adjust salt, pepper and acidity to taste