One of my favorite Indian curry dishes is homemade Chana Masala. It is a popular spiced chick pea dish that can be found at all Indian restaurants in many variations.
Chickpeas are all the rave these days but this particular ingredient has been most commonly used in South Asian cooking as either a thickening or binding agent for years back. I personally think the perfect Chana Masala recipe relies on how the chick peas are cooked. In this recipe you will note the Chana (chickpeas) is cooked well. Overcooked to be precise.
This helps ensure a thicker gravy.
Chana Masala has a great tang, spice, and tummy filling comfort zone that is perfect for those meatless days. I like to pair it with PURI, rice, or homemade paratha, but you can try it with a healthy tortilla, brown rice, or quinoa.
What kind of chick peas to use
TIP: The Instant Pot is a great gadget to quickly make whole dried chickpeas using the "bean and stew" button, but if you are crunching on time then use a can or frozen; just be sure to rinse them well to drain all excess sodium :). Either case, I highly recommend you boil/steam the chick peas before putting them into the spice mixture (see recipe below) and then mashing it in the pot. I also like to add spinach to mine sometimes just to add some healthy greens, but you can skip it.
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Happy Eating Folks! <3
Chana Masala Recipe
- 2 cups well steamed/boiled chick peas
- 1 medium finely diced, fresh tomato
- 1 medium finely diced, onion
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (powder or fresh)
- 2 teaspoon fresh coriander powder (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chana masala/chole chana masala (garam masala can be substituted)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 1 teaspoon finely fresh grated ginger (about half a thumb size)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups finely chopped baby spinach (optional)
- 6 whole peppercorns (optional)
- red chili powder
- finely chopped cilantro for garnishment
- In a non-stick pan heat oil and add peppercorns (optional). Immediately add the chopped onions and cook until translucent.
- Add tomatoes, red chili powder, dry coriander powder, ginger, garlic, masala, and turmeric. Cook until tomatoes no longer have any water.
- Add tomato paste and mix well. THEN add water. When the water is added after the paste has been mixed it, you will find it easier to combine the water into the dish.
- Stir in the chick peas, baby spinach, and salt. Mash about half of the chick peas with a masher. I add salt at the end to prevent over or under measurement (I add ½ tablespoon but please add according to your salt tolerance level).
- Stir in heavy whipping cream (optional).
- Cook for an additional 5 minutes on medium/high heat stirring frequently.
- Top with cilantro.
- Serve with one of the following starches-white/brown rice, quinoa, naan, paratha, or roti; and add an onion salad + lemon wedge to the final dish.