Chana Masala is a popular Indian dish, It was one of my favourites when I was there, its also become my go to curry when I’m feeling nostalgic and get cravings!
There are a few things that I have found that make a curry a great one:
1. Don’t be shy with the oil. If you have ever seen traditional Indian cooks sautéing the spices they usually shallow fry the spices in vegetable oil (or ghee)… so when we try to recreate Indian recipes with TINY amounts of oil it just doesn’t have the same taste.. it may still taste good, but it won’t taste as authentic.
2. Don’t be shy with the spices and use whole spices as well as ground. Its safe to say that if you doubled the spices in most recipes you find online you would probably be around the ideal amount! Again, having been to India personally and seen them cooking first hand, they ARE NOT SHY with their spices!
Whole spices are stronger and add more punch to the curry, seeds like cumin, coriander and black or white mustard seeds are great additions, but you will need to take care how much you add! If you follow this recipe as a guideline then you will be fine.
Serves 4-6 people
1 onion (roughly diced)
5 large cloves garlic (grated)
2 tbsp ginger (grated)
1 eggplant (cubed)
1 large red pepper (roughly chopped)
1 large green pepper (roughly chopped)
1 small green chilli with seeds (chopped – and only if you want it spicy)
500g cooked chickpeas (around 2.5 cups)
2.5 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
200g whole tinned tomatoes (squeezed)
1 tsp pink salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp rice flour (to thicken)
3 tbsp vegetable oil for cooking
1.5 tbsp curry powder
2.5 tsp garam masala
1 tsp white mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1. Cook the onion, garlic and ginger in a pan on a medium to low heat with 2 tbsp of oil. Cook for 6-8 minutes stirring to avoid burning them. (caramelising the onions, garlic and ginger in this way will increase the sweetness and flavour). If you have enough oil and the pan isn’t too hot the garlic won’t burn.
2. Lower the heat to a low flame and add the spices, cook for 2 minutes. Add the chickpeas and the rice flour and 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and cook for another 2 minutes.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients (vegetables, tomato paste, tinned tomatoes water) and cover with a lid, cook for 20 minutes on medium heat. After 20 minutes take the lid off and cook until the tomato sauce becomes nice and thick, you may want to add another tsp of salt (but taste it first). Serve with fluffy freshly cooked white basmati rice and/or some flatbreads.
Tip number 1: finish with a big handful of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice to freshen it up a bit!
Tip number 2: garam masala is a blend of: ground coriander, cumin, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon and black pepper. I have made it myself from a ratio I found online and It was amazing, so I highly recommend going the extra mile and see if you notice a difference!
I also love to make homemade roti’s, which are always a welcomed addition!