November 14, 2013

Chana masala

The weather here really changed quickly. It went from a relatively warm fall to windy, cold, and our first snow of the season a couple days ago. No matter how old I get, there's always something magical about the first snow of the year. I'm not sure I'd ever be able to live somewhere without well-defined seasons because I enjoy the changes in the weather and the changes in the natural world so much. The snow is melted now, but it is still cold an windy. The last of the leaves are getting blown off the trees and I can hear them rustling along the street. 

Days like this make you want a warm and comforting meal and my version of Chana masala is perfect for a cold evening. This dish is simple and is another one that is pretty frugal while not skimping on flavor and quality. As with most Indian dishes, it does require a lot of spices, so if you don't already have these spices on hand, they can be expensive to buy all at once. But, a well-stocked spice rack is a good investment for cooks who want to try different cuisines. This dish is made with dried chickpeas, but you could skip that part and use canned if you want. I am finding that dried are tastier and cheaper, so I've been trying to use them more often. This dish will serve about four people.

Chana masala
1-1/2 cups dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
sea salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or ghee)
2 teaspoons Garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 fresh red chili, seeded and minced
1 small white onion, halved and sliced
1 large tomato. diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup water
juice of half a lemon

for serving:
Basmati rice, cooked to package directions
plain yogurt, for topping
naan or other flatbread, optional 
Hot and spicy refrigerator turnip pickles, optional

Rinse the chickpeas and place in a slow cooker. Cover with cool water (about 1/2-inch over the top of the beans). Add the vinegar, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the chickpeas are soft and creamy. (Skip this if using canned)

In a large heavy-bottom skillet, heat the coconut oil along with the Garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and coriander. Toast the spices in the oil, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Add the garlic, ginger, chili, and onion. Stir well and cook until they all begin to soften. Stir in the tomato and water. Let the mixture come to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are broken down. 

Drain the cooked chickpeas and discard the bay leaf. Stir the chickpeas into the sauce. Let them simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt to taste.

Serve hot with a side of Basmati rice and topped with plain yogurt.

What was I cooking one year ago?: turnip and Yukon gold potato gratin
Two years ago?: pumpkin gnocchi in gorgonzola sauce 
Three?: Moroccan spiced chickpea and lentil soup


  1. I definitely crave curries and warm spices when it's cold! Love channa masala!

  2. Sounds like the perfect treat when craving for a healthy, vegetarian meal.
    Just looking at all this wonderful spices makes my mouth water!

  3. Chana masala is a dish I have always wanted to make, would love to give this a shot. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love channa masala. It's just so comforting!!

  5. Yes, I love the changes in season, especially Autumn and Spring. So dramatic and full of surprises. What a perfect autumnal dish you have prepared. Garbanzas are an excellent, healthy (and cheap) meal but they need a little assistance, such as the spices you've added.

  6. I have recently gotten into cooking Indian food, and I love chickpeas, so this looks like a match made in heaven to me!

  7. We're having a cold, windy day here today and this sounds perfect! All of those spices will really warm me up. thanks!

  8. Dear Amy, Sounds wonderful!! I love trying new things and new spice flavors. I am learning all the time. I would love to try this. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  9. I do indeed have all of those spices on hand. ;-) So I can make this - and will. I love Indian. Good stuff - thanks.

  10. Indian food has become my absolute favorite, but it's something that I never cook. This recipe definitely looks doable AND delicious. I love the way garam masala smells!

  11. I love that dollop of cooling yogurt over the heat of the chana marsala Perfect to warm up in this cooler weather. Have a super day! BAM

  12. wow Already had first snow? I would prefer snow to cold rainy weather.
    The chickpea curry looks warming and delicious, Amy.

  13. Love how healthy this looks and how it's packed with flavors --delicious!

  14. I love chana masala - just delicious. This looks like a great recipe, I will give this one a go!

  15. Alright, these are something I NEED to make...they look so good!

  16. This is perfect for a Meatless Monday meal. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Perfect healthy meal! Definitely putting this on my dinner list :) Pinned!

  18. All the spices in this sound wonderful!


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