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Chana Masala

This Indian dish of chickpeas and tomatoes is delicious as a side dish or as a vegetarian main course.  I love Chana masala so much that I've shared two recipes, one is a quick version perfect for after work.  This one is a longer version that I go to on the week-ends when I have more time to prepare a meal.  It is delicious!

2 large onions, finely diced
5 tbsp. ghee
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 cloves garlic
1 ½ inch piece fresh ginger
2 serrano chilies
3 large ripe tomatoes
2 19 oz. cans chickpeas (for best flavor soak and cook 1 cup dried chickpeas)
1 ½ tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. Indian chili powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup water
1 lemon
¼ cup fresh cilantro
¾ cup plain yogurt (not low-fat or Greek)

Heat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium-low heat and melt the ghee. Add the onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until soft and golden.
Crush the garlic into a paste. Finely chop the ginger and mince the chilies. Core and dice the tomatoes into medium dice. Drain and rinse the chickpeas under cold water and set aside.
Finely grind the coriander and cumin seeds. Once the onions are soft and golden, add the garlic, ginger and chilies. Stir to coat with the ghee and let cook for a minute or so until they release their aroma. Then add the spices and fry just until they release their fragrance.
Turn heat up to medium, add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the salt and cook until tomatoes start to break down and soften, about 10 minutes. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the chickpeas and water. Stir to coat with the onions and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat to low. Cover but leave lid slightly ajar. Let this simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing is sticking. After about 10 minutes check to see how much moisture remains. You want it to reduce and thicken but still have some liquid.
While the chickpeas cook cut the lemon in half and chop the cilantro. Once almost all the liquid has evaporated, squeeze the lemon juice over the top and let cook for another minute or so. To finish the dish, turn off the heat and stir in the yogurt. Just before serving fold in the cilantro and taste for seasoning.

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