Friday, July 27, 2012

Channa Masala

I was going to wait and post this recipe next week, but last night my little sister (who just turned 22!) requested the recipe ASAP. Since yesterday was her birthday, I couldn't exactly refuse the request. My other recipe will have to wait until next week, but I really didn't mind because this one is too good not to share! I find Indian food to be really intimidating, but this recipe was really easy and surprisingly fast. I did cut a few corners (such as picking up naan from a real Indian restaurant. There is a little shop just down the street and fiance walked in and picked up naan in two seconds. Way easier than me trying to cook it). I also adjusted a few ingredients to make sure the recipe was friendly to my non-spicy palette. Of course, fiance dumped cayenne all of over the top, so it really works either way. We both really enjoyed the dinner and it was nice to do something a little out of the ordinary. I should also mention this meal is vegetarian friendly (and vegan except for the butter in the beginning).

Channa Masala
recipe adapted from here

2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (or if you are me, 1/2 of a green bell pepper)
1 inch knob ginger, peeled and chopped
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 lemon
1 tbsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garam masala
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, or can add at end)
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp butter

Start by melting the butter over medium in a large skillet. Cook until caramelized (about 15 minutes. The onions will start to smell sweet). The original recipe used a cast iron skillet, so I think my temperatures were a bit high. For those using a non-stick, I'd recommend medium to medium-low heat.
While the onions are cooking, chop the ginger, garlic and bell pepper. When the onions are done, add the chopped ingredients and three tablespoons tomato paste. Flatten as best you can (try using a plastic spatula, the wooden spoon is sticky) and let sit for a few minutes of medium-low to low heat until the tomato paste begins to crust. It's not burning, just thickening and the flavor is getting intense.
After the paste reduces, add the turmeric, coriander and cumin. Stir, stir, stir. The mix will be dry and thick. Add the rinsed chick peas and tomatoes (with sauce!) and stick some more.
Add the garam masala and salt and stir until nicely mixed. I ended up adding a little bit of water to loosen the sauce. I think my pan was too hot when I added the tomatoes and a lot of the juice immediately burned off. Just eyeball how thick you want your mix to be.
Serve with naan....
And your veggie of choice! We ate ours with a fork and knife because it was messy, but feel free to use your hands! Enjoy!


  1. I've been learning how to cook bit-by-bit over the years, starting with a few tips from my mother before college and then by watching/helping our dear author in our kitchen. Yet, when I get food from a restaurant, I still find myself thinking of it as some kind of magic -- something only the cooks at that restaurant can manage, but that could never be done in a normal kitchen like mine. Only Chinese food restaurants can make Chinese food; only pizza joints can make pizza; only Indian food places can make Indian food.

    This dish is an important reminder that we are all capable of making delicious food, no matter where we're from or where our kitchen is located. I get Indian/Pakistani food a *lot*, and this dish could pass for restaurant-quality practically anywhere. For everyone who thinks "I can only get good food if someone else cooks it for me" (a LOT of our friends -- I'm looking at you), let this be a lesson.

    1. Fact! Going outside one's comfort zone is what cooking is all about! We don't learn and grow unless we try and fail miserably (foreshadowing my zucchini post) or succeed, like this post!


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