This chickpea (chana) masala uses easily available ingredients to give you a vegan dish that you can eat and enjoy in so many different ways.
Having a cup full of cooked chickpeas means you are never too far from a delicious meal. Whether you want to toss them with greens for a salad, eat simply seasoned, make a curry like this chana masala – there’s no end to how easily they can help in putting together a delicious and nutritious meal.
While I’m not one to diminish the convenience of a can of chickpeas in the pantry, the control on flavour and texture you can have from cooking them from dry makes for a great case to cook your own. After a few tries of doing them, you’ll develop an easy rhythm and know just when they are ready.
How to Cook Chickpeas for Best Results:
Wash and soak your chickpeas in at least 3 -4 times the water for a good 6-8 hours (overnight). Season soaking water with salt. In a large pot, add the chickpeas along with enough fresh water (at least double the volume). Season with salt. Bring them to a boil, skim off any impurities that rise to the top. Keep it on a gentle simmer uncovered. Check back at regular intervals until you feel like the chickpeas are ready. Add more hot water along the way for the chickpeas to remain submerged and cook evenly. When checking for done-ness, test a few different chickpeas (at least 5-6) so you know they are cooked evenly. Use straightaway or store in liquid for future use like making chana masala.
Using just a few pantry and fresh ingredients, this chickpea chana masala is one of those easy to adjust and make your own kinda recipes. Wilt a lot of greens like spinach to add more to the dish, crack a few eggs and bake them for a meatier shakshuka. Scoop up with flatbreads like rotis, enjoy with a bowl of steamed rice and yogurt or even top your toasted sourdough with some cheese or fresh pickled cucumbers. There’s truly no right or wrong way.
Chickpea Chana Masala
- 1.5 cup Cooked Chickpeas
- 3/4 cup Onion (finely chopped)
- 3/4 cup Tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp Neutral oil (canola/vegetable/olive)
- 1 tsp Garlic (smashed/roughly pounded)
- 1 tsp Ginger (grated)
- 1 Green chilli (slit in the middle)
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (mild)
- 1/2 tsp Coriander powder (or crushed coriander seeds)
- 1/2 tsp Cumin powder (or crushed cumin seeds)
- 3 tbsp Water (hot)
- Fresh coriander leaves (for garnish)
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- Salt (to taste)
- Heat up your pan and add the oil. When it starts to shimmer, add the onion and green chilli. Season with salt and cook on a medium flame until only just starts to turn golden (should take about 3-4 mins)
- Add the ginger and garlic and fry until it doesn't smell raw anymore. Add all the dry spices (turmeric, chilli, coriander and cumin) and fry for a minute on low flame, careful not to burn them.
- Add the tomatoes and mix through nicely. Cook until all water has evaporated and you can start to see oil separate from the sides of the cooked tomatoes.
- Add the cooked chickpeas with about 2-3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid or hot water. Adjust the salt and sugar for balance. Let it simmer gently for 3-4 minutes covered
- Serve hot garnished with fresh coriander leaves
You can read more about great uses for chickpeas in this piece on ABC Everyday (that features yours truly).