Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Simplified Chana Masala

Chana masala is amazing. It’s a delicious, tangy curry made from chickpeas. I first learned to make it when an Indian co-worker of mine recommended I check out http://www.vahrehvah.com/. The Vah Chef--Sanjay Thumma--is amazingly entertaining and his recipes always turn out great. His chana masala recipe is a little complex, but we found it to be a huge crowd pleaser when we have guests. If you have a few minutes, you should check out his recipe and give it a try. 


We eat this dish so often that I had to adapted it into a much simpler recipe. It uses ingredients we always have on hand, so we can easily throw this together on a weeknight. And even though it’s a lot simpler, we think it still tastes awesome. Even our toddler loves it!


Note: There are two main types of chickpeas in Indian cuisine: chole and chana. Chole is what we call the garbanzo bean. Chana is a smaller bean, which I think makes for a better dish. If you have an Indian store nearby, these are really easy to find and inexpensive. If you don’t, chole masala is still wonderful! The other secret ingredient for chana masala is amchur powder. Amchur is powder made from dried green mangos. It’s extremely sour and adds a wonderful flavor profile to the dish. It’s easy to find at Indian stores and online, but if you don’t have it, try adding more lemon juice. You can also use chana masala seasoning packets to make this, but they aren’t as good and often use a foul smelling seasoning called black salt.

Special Equipment
Nothing! (But a pressure cooker won’t hurt.)

Full Ingredient List
1 cup dry chickpeas
0.25 cups oil
0.5 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1.5 tsp garam masala
0.5 tsp coriander powder
0.25 tsp cayenne pepper
0.5 tsp amchur powder
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp sugar
1 T lime juice

Instructions
Step 1: Prepare the chickpeas

1 cup dry chickpeas

Soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain, rinse, and cover in water. Pressure cook for 7 minutes or boil for 1 hour. Drain the cooking liquid. (Alternatively, you can use 2 cans of cooked chickpeas. Just rinse them well.)

Step 2: Cook the onion

0.25 cups oil
0.5 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and saute until lightly toasted (about 30 seconds). Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the diced onion and garlic. Saute until the onion turns translucent.

Step 3: Finish the dish

1 can petite diced tomatoes
1.5 tsp garam masala
0.5 tsp coriander powder
0.25 tsp cayenne pepper
0.5 tsp amchur powder
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp sugar
1 T lime juice

Add the tomatoes and their juices into the onions. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cover the mixture. Continue cooking until the tomatoes start to break down. Add the chickpeas and then heat until warm. Serve over basmati rice or with hot buttered chapatis.

1 comment:

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