Chana Masala

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Main Dishes Vegetarian

This recipe comes from our friend who writes the blog My Annoying Opinions. We asked him to create a recipe for our newest garbanzo bean and he outdid himself. 

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 cups Rancho Gordo Desi Chana, or Garbanzo rinsed and soaked overnight (or 8 hours)
  • 1 tez patta (dried Indian bay/cassia leaf ), optional
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil (grapeseed or similar)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger paste
  • The following ground together into a coarse powder: ½ teaspoon haldi (turmeric powder), 2 to 3 dried Kashmiri chillies, 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds, 1½ teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon black peppercorn, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 pinch fenugreek seeds, 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 to 5 Thai chillies, slit
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dhania/cilantro
  1. Add enough water to the soaked chana to cover by a few inches and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Replenish with enough hot water to cover by a few inches, reduce to a simmer, add the tez patta (if using), cover and cook till the chana is done. Add more water along the way as necessary.
  2. While the chana is cooking, prepare the masala as follows: Heat the oil in a karhai or wok and add the sliced onions. Saute over medium heat till fully softened and browned along the edges. Add the ginger and garlic pastes, mix in and saute till the raw smell is gone. Add the ground spices; mix in and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes, taking care to not scorch the mix. Add the tomatoes, sugar, and salt and saute till the tomatoes have completely cooked down and the oil separates.
  3. Take off the heat, add a few ladles of the water from the cooked chana, mix in and when cooled a little, transfer the contents of the karhai to a blender and puree till smooth.
  4. Bring the chana back up to a high simmer and add the puree to the pot. Mash some of the chana against the side of the pot, mix everything in, cover and simmer together for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Uncover, garnish with the slit green chillies and dhania, and serve with rice or chapatis or by itself in a bowl.

Notes:

  1. Whether you soak the chana or not is up to you but if you don’t you’ll need to be patient while it cooks.
  2. Even when fully cooked, desi/kala chana has a much denser texture than garbanzo beans.
  3. You can also make this in a pressure cooker. In my old-school, whistling Indian pressure cook-er I’d cook and puree the masala first, add it to the soaked chana, top up with water and cook for probably 30 minutes over medium heat. I’ve no idea what the Instant Pot conversion would be.
  4. If you don’t have tez patta at hand don’t worry about it. However, if you have an Indian grocery near you it’s easily found. It’s also available on Amazon.
  5. If you don’t have Kashmiri chillies, substitute a mild red chilli powder. You can make this hotter, of course, but the intended result is a balanced tanginess, not big heat.
  6. You can add a bit of chopped onion to the garnish. A squeeze of lime is nice as well.


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