Whenever I make this Chana Masala dish, it is usually gone by the next day. Chana Masala is a flavourful and popular dish from the Punjabi region. When I’m in the mood for Indian or Pakistani cuisine, this is one dish that I want.
The main ingredient is chickpeas. Chickpeas are a healthy and versatile legume, packed with plant-based protein and other nutrients. They have an earthy and nutty taste and a soft yet grainy texture. I like to use them in soups, salads, stews and dips.
There are many ways to make Chana Masala. The image above is a simple version that I made with fresh chopped tomatoes, lemon juice, coriander leaves, sumac and other spices and herbs. It can be served as a main meal or a side dish. In this recipe, I added coconut milk to balance the spices and citrus flavour.
It’s an easy-to-make curry that keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Serves: 4-6 (or more as a side dish)
1. In a big pot with a little olive oil, sauté on medium heat for 3 minutes until soft (add a little water if it sticks to bottom):
- 2 medium-size cooking onions, diced
- 1-2 garlic buds, pressed
- 1 hot green chili pepper, minced (remove seeds for a milder Masala)
- 1 tablespoon (tbsp) fresh ginger, grated
- Can add a little water to reduce sticking at bottom
2. Add the spices and sauté for another 2 minutes:
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) curry powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsps black mustard seeds (or dijon mustard with seeds)
- 1 tsp ground sumac*
- 1 tsp paprika
3. Add and simmer with cover half off for 15 minutes:
- 2 cups fresh tomatoes with skin, chopped
- 1 cup pure tomato purée sauce
- 1½ cups water
- 4 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed (two 350-400 gram jars)
- A big bunch of fresh coriander or parsley leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup lemon or lime juice
- ¼ cup coconut milk, add a little more if too spicy-hot
- Pink salt, to taste
Simmer for another 5 minutes with cover off.
Take off heat and let the curry sit for at least 30 minutes to thicken. Tastes even better the next day. Can store in fridge and also freezes well.
*You can find sumac in Middle Eastern food shops or markets and it’s starting to appear more frequently on the shelves of supermarkets. If you can’t find sumac, you can substitute the spice with ½ tsp finely grated lemon peel and a dash of ground black pepper.