Warm, fragrant spices and a little bit of heat, Chana Masala is the ultimate plant-based comfort food.
For a long time now, my good friend and I have been planning on having a cooking day where he would show me how to make some of his amazing authentic Indian recipes. When I say a long time, I mean we’ve been talking about this for close to 2 years now, but haven’t set aside a day to make it happen…..until now. This past week we finally got together and cooked up an incredible Indian feast. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the recipes we used, starting with this one for Chana Masala.
Before I really delve into the recipe, it’s important to point out that a lot of the measurements give you a range to work with and a lot of the instructions give you an estimate of time. This is because with authentic dishes like this, there really is no recipe. There’s only a general idea of the steps involved and the ingredients used. From there you create your own dish.
The term masala refers to the base of the cooking method, which is onions, ginger and garlic, cooked beyond the caramelization point until it almost becomes a paste. This method forms the base of many Indian dishes. If you’re familiar with French or Italian cooking, masala could be considered India’s answer to mirepoix and sofritto, respectively.
This dish is incredibly healthy, full of flavour and at this time of year, it makes for some serious comfort food. Enjoy!
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 onions, finely chopped
2″ piece of ginger, minced
8 – 10 cloves of garlic, minced
2 – 3 tbsp tumeric
4 tbsp coriander
4 tbsp garam masala
4 – 398mL cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
water to cover
2 bay leaves
salt to taste
cayenne to add some heat (optional)
Start by heating the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot and begin to saute, adding a splash of water when the onions start to stick. Keep cooking and deglazing with water until the onions are very soft and brown, at least 15 – 20 minutes. It’s important during this phase to keep an eye on the pot to prevent the onions from drying out and to be stirring fairly often.
Once the onions are ready, add the ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, again, adding a little splash of water if it gets to dry. Then add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, before adding the tumeric, coriander and garam masala. Stir the spices into the onion mixture and allow to cook for another minute, until fragrant.
Stir in the chickpeas and add enough water to cover by at least 1 inch. Add the bay leaves and a little salt. If you’re adding cayenne, you can add that now, as well. Stir and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally until the water is reduced to a “stew”like consistancy. This is a great time to taste the dish and add more salt if necessary.
Using the back of a spoon, mash up some of the chickpeas in the pot to help thicken the dish. Continue simmering for another 10 – 15 minutes, until thickened. Serve with rice or naan.
Serves 4 – 6