chana masala

March 9, 2016 ,

My take on a classic dish: chickpea curry.  Chickpeas simmered in a spiced tomato sauce and served over brown rice, this bowl is hearty and filling with a unique blend of spices that pulls it all together.

Having grown up in a community with a vibrant Indian culture, I know this dish is by no means authentic, but I’ve tried to make it as close as possible.  Chana masala spice blends typically contain some amchoor powder, a sour and citrusy dust made from under-ripe green mangos. I know this seems like a strange ingredient to add; however, I encourage you to give it a try because it is what gives channa masala its pleasant tartness.

Another option to make this dish closer to the real thing would be to use a chana masala spice blend in the place of the garam masala; this is simply a pre-made blend of spices traditionally used for chickpea curries.  Look out for it in the bulk or spice section of the average grocery store, or head to your local Indian grocery store.

I’ve talked about how fantastic chickpeas are before, but they shine in this dish as a great source of protein and fibre.  These two nutrients are especially important in regulating the speed at which food is broken down after a meal, which regulates the release of sugars from our food.  Paired with  brown rice, this meal will keep you full and satisfied. (Although I always go for seconds!)

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Yields: 4 large servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 green serrano pepper, minced (remove seeds for less spice)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz. cans chickpeas (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup uncooked brown basmati rice, for serving
  • lemon wedges, for garnish
  • fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Cook the brown rice first if you want to serve with the chana masala.  Rinse the rice with cold water, then add to a pot with 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the liquid has evaporated off.  Do not stir the rice while simmering.  Once liquid has cooked off, remove from heat, and cover with a lid for 10 minutes to steam.  When ready to serve, fluff rice with a fork.

2. In a large pot or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, ginger, serrano pepper, and cumin.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often until the onion is soft and golden.

3. Stir in the garam masala, coriander, amchoor powder, turmeric, salt, and cayenne (if using).  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring well to incorporate the spices.

4. Raise the temperature to medium-high and add the can of diced tomatoes and chickpeas.    Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or longer.

5. Serve over brown rice, and garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley and a lemon wedge.

Notes:

Adapted from the The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon.

Store in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container and freezes well.

Nutrition facts are for 1/4 of recipe, including rice.

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References:

Nutrition facts retrieved from: CRON-O-Meter

Anderson, L.V. (2013) You’re doing it wrong: Channa masala.  Retrieved from: www.slate.com

George mateljan foundation. (2016) Garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Retrieved from: www.whfoods.com