Lately I’ve been rather bored & uninspired in the kitchen.
As I trolled through old emails to myself (my oh-so-advanced note keeping system), I found several messages reminding me to make chana masala.
I’m not sure what drives me to resonate with the dish so much- I’ve never had it. I’m not even sure I’ve had Indian food at all before.
Even though my ears perk up every time I hear it mentioned, I always cast the idea aside. Making channa masala involves a lot of spices I don’t stock in my pantry. Finally, though, I grabbed the bull by the horns and sucked it up- I bought the spices I needed & hoped to goodness that I ended up liking Indian food.
My adventures in chana masala making began:
(Make note of that bell pepper in the picture. There are no bell peppers in chana masala. I was clearly confused.)
Normally quite the adventurous experimenter in the kitchen, I decided to take the lead from some experts on this one, seeing how I had no idea what I was going for.
Most of the recipes I found were pretty similar, so I figured I would just go with what was the same in all of them, and save any variations for a second go round.
Here’s what I ended up using:
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch of ginger, minced
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/2 can tomato paste
1 Tbsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp tumeric
dash of salt
1 can diced tomatoes (not drained)
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed & drained
generous splash of lemon juice
I’m going to keep the directions simple since the ingredient list looks overwhelming (it’s not- don’t worry!) but here are two great resources if you want to get more in tune with your ‘channa: channa masala directions & inspiration.
Here’s what you do:
Saute onions until lightly caramelized. Add in garlic, ginger, & jalapeno.
Please please please wash your hands (with soap!) after cutting the jalapeno! Don’t ask me how I know.
(There are those pesky
Coat mixture in tomato paste & let cook for a few minutes to concentrate flavors. Then stir in spices.
Don’t breath in while leaning over the pan in this step- unless you like choking on dry spices. Ahem.
Next add in tomatoes & chickpeas. Stir and let simmer until heated through. Splash with lemon juice
Ah this is SO good. I felt like a real chef- I was so proud I’d made this! (To be fair, it’s a distinctive flavor- my husband hated it. And then proceeded to scrape his plate clean.) It was definitely hot! I could feel the heat in the back of my nasal passages
I served it with green beans with a drizzle of lemon juice for a bright, fresh flavor that could even out the heat & spiciness of the channa masala.
One of the things that made this dish stand out was the use of fresh ingredients. I love fresh ginger- I think it’s one of the few things that really makes a big difference when you use fresh instead of jarred, powdered, etc.
Do you like Indian food? Have you ever tried making it? I’ll have to try a few more Indian dishes before I can say I like it, but this was such a great change from the normal Italian, Chinese, & Mexican type meals I make!
Don’t forget- if you have questions for me, please go to my *rest days post* and leave them there or shoot me an email!!