A vegan dish before vegan was a thing, Chana Masala is an Indian chickpea recipe featuring Garam Masala and other spices, onion, garlic and tomato.
- One onion
- Two cans chickpeas, drained
- Three or four cloves garlic sliced and roasted
- Two fresh tomatoes, or two cans diced tomatoes (I used fresh)
- One Jalapeño pepper diced, with seeds to taste for heat
- Garam Masala – two tsp or to taste
- Coriander, 1 tsp
- Cumin, 1 tsp
- Turmeric, 1/2 tsp
- Methi powder, 1/2 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Lemon and/or Lime juice
Slice garlic Goodfellas* style and cook in hot Grape Seed oil until brown, remove from heat. I add a bit of ginger powder.
Add spice mix to oil and garlic and stir into a paste, return to heat. I added 2 tsp minced garlic because I’m low on fresh garlic and garlic is good. Allow the spices and peppers to infuse into the oil. This step smells wonderful!
Now add your chopped onion, stir and cook until the onions are see-through. Add two diced tomatoes, or cans if you don’t have fresh and 1/4 cup of water. Stir and simmer for 15 minutes. Add lemon and/or lime juice.
Variation: In the future I might try chicken broth instead of water, but then I couldn’t call it vegan. I don’t think veggie broth would taste right. A little umami would be good. You could add mushroom, or even cashew to achieve this also.
As you simmer and sample, experiment: Garam, cayenne, jalapeño seeds, etc. It’s easy to grab the salt shaker and get results but there are other ways of adding flavor! Try cinnamon or cumin. Keep tinkering with your gravy until it’s just right. And keep in mind that flavor develops with time.
Serve and enjoy!
*Goodfellas is one of the finest films ever created. Pauli slices garlic with a razor so thin it will liquify in a pan. I don’t know about that, but it is a spot on method and a knife works just as well. Here’s the clip:
A personal prep hack – I chop the “lid” off the jalapeño, stick a sharp knife in there and spin. I reserve the white and the seeds on my cutting board and use it later (these are the hottest parts!) Depending on who you’re cooking for you can adjust the heat.
There are other ways to skin a cat but a jalapeño is a powerful thing. I find getting in there and “drilling” out the seeds is efficient, once you get the hang of it. It’s clean, too.
I hope you like this dish as much as we do. Classmates at OU often wound up at Taj Mahal Indian restaurant in Norman, OK. Chana Masala is so popular it’s got it’s own section. You can dress it up with cilantro, and they’ve got a crunchy cereal that kind of reminds me of Rice Crispies, only larger. It probably is rice, but I’m not sure. I use bran flakes or crushed tortilla chips as a substitute. I’m not much on cilantro, so I skip it.