In my opinion, channa masala is the quintessential vegetarian Indian dish. It is usually the first that many people try and the one most associate with vegetarian Indian cuisine. I haven't cooked an Indian dish in a while and when I was thinking of what to make, I realized that I hadn't posted about channa masala on the blog before. I've made crockpot aloo channa before, which is great, but channa masala still holds a place in my heart because it's the dish that made me fall in love with Indian food. That being said, my recipe is great, but nowhere near as good as that found in Indian restaurants. Then again, isn't that always the case? Indian food is never as good when made at home. This is still pretty darn fantastic, though.
- 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp fat of choice (Earth Balance, olive oil, canola oil)
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 tsp curry powder (use your preferred blend, or just add the separate spices in my blend according to taste)
- 1 tsp garam masala
- Salt, to taste
- Heat fat in a large pan on medium low heat. Add onions, stir, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden brown.
- Add garlic, ginger and jalapeno and cook for another minute or two. Now, add tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the tomato flavor to intensify.
- Add curry powder and stir to combine. Add diced tomatoes and chickpeas and continue to cook on medium low for 5-10 minutes, or until everything is heated through. At the very last minute, add garam masala and lemon juice and give everything a final stir. Serve with roti or brown rice and try not to sweat too much from the heat (I used one spicy pepper).
I've talked to many people who said that Indian food intimidates them. Recipes tend to include a lot of foreign ingredients and it may seem overwhelming, but don't let it deter you. Actually, Indian food is one of my favorites to prepare because I love the aromas and the beautiful color tumeric adds to anything. Perfecting channa masala is like a gateway to other Indian dishes; I first made this over a year ago and it has taken me months to narrow down a recipe that I find truly delicious. It's also easy and inexpensive to make (I prepared mine in the time it took my rice to cook) and stores beautifully.