Indian food can be intimidating, because it usually includes about 1,000 ingredients, 870 of which you’ve never had in your kitchen before. But it’s also delicious and satisfying, and somehow uses some kind of black magic to take all those ridiculous amounts of spices and make them work in harmony to create new and intriguing flavors. Curries have grown to have a special place in my heart, and this one is my new favorite.
I found the recipe as we were brainstorming on how to feed our church small group the following night. There are always a few people that are either vegetarian or trying to be more careful about what meat they eat (happy meat, etc) so we wanted something (1)vegetarian that we could (2)make a lot of (3)for cheap, and this fit the bill perfectly. It’s hearty, complex, filling, satisfying, and –despite the long ingredient list– pretty simple to make.
The original Chana Masala recipe is here, and I made it pretty much as is. I used whole coriander and cumin seeds and toasted them before grinding, because I’ve seen that done in other curries and it usually makes at least a small difference. Go with ground if that’s what you have though. I also waited to add the garam masala till near the end, because I read somewhere it’s more of a finishing curry spice. Chime in if you know differently. Finally, I made twice what this recipe calls for using chick peas I cooked in the crock pot, so you’ll notice in the pictures that the pot suddenly changes halfway through the process as I realize that my almost-full dutch oven wasn’t going to fit another 10 cups of chickpeas. Lesson learned, but there were leftovers galore so I win in the end.
I’ll keep the instructions simple so you can take it in, and look at the pictures if you need more guidance. We garnished with plain whole milk yogurt and cilantro from the yard, and that worked nicely.
Chickpea Curry Recipe (Chana Masala)
1 tb oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon (usually about an inch) fresh grated ginger
1 tb coriander (whole if you have it
2 tb cumin (again, whole if you have it)
1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1 28-oz can of whole or diced tomatoes (or canned tomatoes from your pantry!)
2/3 cup water
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or cook them from dry– to me it tastes better)
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon
This is how it’s done:
-saute the onions in the oil
-toast and grind the spices and set aside
-add the ginger and garlic, saute for a little
-turn down heat, mix in spices
-add tomatoes and cook
-add water and chickpeas, cook till thicker
-add salt and lemon juice, and serve