Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chana Masala for the Meek

I can count, on one hand, the number of times I've been to an Indian restaurant or tasted authentic Indian food. Thus, my knowledge of Indian food is limited, to say the least. However, I have read a lot of recipes online and made dishes in the past based on Indian flavors and spices. Recently, I've been trying out some recipes and this one for chana masala was a big success in my book.
I was first introduced to chana masala during college at the dining halls and while it was definitely not the most traditional tasting chana masala or even the tastiest, I really enjoyed the deeply spiced flavor profile of it. It's also super healthy and perfect as a vegetarian entrée, though it would likely also please meat-eaters as well. There are many variations of chana masala. I myself like some tomato and a multitude of spices in it. While I also like some heat, my family and I are wimps in comparison to the Indian standard of heat, so I have drastically toned down the spiciness level here. You can of course adjust to your own taste. I also didn't have amchoor powder, so I left it out.

As with most stews and curries like this, chana masala reheats amazingly and tastes even better in the following days. I also added some baked paneer in this after pics were taken and it was great. Serve it with rice and chapati or naan.

Chana Masala
Adapted from an adaptation of a Madhur Jaffrey recipe

250 g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight or about 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas
2 medium onions, minced
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp minced ginger
3 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp paprika
5 medium tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp roasted cumin seeds, ground
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Drain the soaked chickpeas, add to a heavy bottomed pot, and cover with about twice the amount of water. Bring it to a boil and cook over medium low heat until the chickpeas are tender, about 35-40 minutes. Drain the chickpeas and set aside.

Heat the same pot or another heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add a few tbsp. of oil and add the onions. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the onions start to turn brown stirring occasionally, add in the garlic and ginger stirring for another minute. Add in the coriander, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, and paprika and let the spices cook for about 30 seconds to a minute until they become fragrant and turn lightly golden.

Add in the diced tomatoes and cook until they start to break down. Add in the salt, water, the cooked chickpeas, lemon juice, and the ground roasted cumin seeds. Bring the whole thing to a simmer and let it cook for another 15-20 minutes, covered.

Serve hot with rice and chapati. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers and reheat on the stove. It will last for several days in the fridge.

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