Thinking too much about this recipe and it’s merits frustrates me.
When I was young, I was vegetarian and hated curry, which to me meant all Indian food. What a waste. Of all the diets in the world, the Indian culture contains some of the most varied vegetarian recipes. Hinduism encourages a vegetarian lifestyle, and though it is left up to the individual, many Hindu’s are vegetarian. Today, throughout India and it’s many regional cuisines vegetarian dishes are frequent and varied.
I remember eating many fettucine alfredos in my vegetarian days. Restaurant menus were always short on options and despite being a pasta addict, I was never enthusiastic about the gluey looking pastas I chowed down on. Aromatics and spices like ginger, garlic, onions, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cardamom in Indian cooking make every dish taste unique. Mint, cilantro and fresh chilies fleck the dishes with hints of green. So different than those bland, plate-shaped fettucine dishes.
Now that I have embraced curry and other Indian flavours I am attempting to make some classic recipes, of which this Chana Masala, or Channa Masala, is one. Chana, Hindi for chickpea, masala simply translates to chickpeas with a spicy mixture. While researching this recipe I found the common ingredients to be chickpeas and tomatoes with generous amounts of garlic, ginger, onions, and garam masala.
So I urge you, if you are a vegetarian out there who is hesitant about curries, give this Chana Masala or chickpea curry recipe a try. Make it a feel meal and serve it with some sweet and sour okra. Just don’t use your spouse’s coffee grinder to make garam masala — they hate that.
Chana Masala(serves 4)
Adapted from Recipezaar
In a heavy pot with a lid heat oil to medium and add onions & garlic. Cook, stirring regularly for 5 minutes or so. You want the garlic and onions to actually start to brown.
Turn heat to medium low and add ground cumin, turmeric, cumin seeds, curry powder, coriander, paprika and salt. The spices should become fragrant when they hit the heat. Just don’t stand too close or you risk a sneeze. Stir for 60 seconds, then add the tomato and cook for another 3 minutes stirring regularly. Add chickpeas and water and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. It should be at a gentle simmer.
Add chili and ginger, stir for another 30 seconds and serve.
This recipe keeps well in the fridge and is a great filling for a wrap the next day. Try adding fresh spinach, cilantro and a bit of yougourt to a wrap along with a scoop of Channa Masala.