Chana masala involves cooking chickpeas in a tomato-based sauce fragrant with spices. TNS
James P. Dewan
There are more than 1.7 billion people on the Indian subcontinent, all of whom eat food. Chana masala is a relatively simple dish that can crack the door to the cuisines of that region. Be nice to your tongue and give it a try.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 to 30 minutes
Makes: 8 servings
Though there’s a fair bit of prep and measuring, this recipe is pretty easy. It’s based on a recipe given to me by my friend Ravi Balasubramanian, originally from Tamil Nadu, India, now of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ingredients that add specific qualities, like heat, sweet, sour, etc., may be increased or decreased to suit individual tastes.
3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as expeller-pressed canola oil
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 large onion, cut into small dice
2 ounces (about 3 tablespoons) garlic-ginger paste, see note
1 fresh jalapeno or serrano, minced, or more to taste
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 can (28 ounces) ground or diced tomatoes
1 can (29 ounces) chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon amchur (dried mango powder) or 1 ounce lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt as needed
Fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and onion; cook, stirring, until fragrant and onion is translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Stir in garlic-ginger paste and minced jalapeno along with coriander, cayenne and turmeric.
3. Add tomatoes and chickpeas; increase heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer to thicken slightly and combine flavors, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Add garam masala, amchur or lemon juice, brown sugar and salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon). Simmer to combine flavors, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately, garnished with cilantro.
Nutrition information per serving: 237 calories, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 34 g carbohydrates, 10 g sugar, 9 g protein, 443 mg sodium, 8 g fiber
Note: Garlic-ginger paste is available at some grocery stores in tubes or jars. To make it at home, simply pulse roughly equal amounts of peeled, minced garlic and peeled, grated ginger in a food processor with a little oil and salt. It will keep for a couple months or more in the refrigerator. Or buy garlic paste and ginger paste separately, then mix them together. Leftovers freeze well.
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