I found this simple, vegetarian Chana Masala in one of my favourite cookbooks, the Oh She Glows Cookbook and it has since become a staple on my dinner table.
Sure to please even the pickiest of eaters, I know because my kids love it, this rich combination of tomato sauce, chickpeas and fragrant Indian spices is packed with flavour, but easy on the heat. Making it perfect for those who can’t tolerate too much spice.
This may be a vegetarian dish, but you could absolutely add meat to it if you want. Just make sure that you increase the amount of tomatoes used when you do to keep your masala from becoming too dry. The other option, if you’re looking to up your protein intake, is to serve some chicken or seafood (like grilled or sautéed prawns) on the side. I’ve done it in the past and it makes for an incredible meal.
Hope you enjoy it!
Quick and Easy Chana Masala
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) coconut oil or olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons (7 mL) cumin seeds
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 green serrano chile pepper, seeded, if preferred, and minced
- 1½ teaspoons (7 mL) garam masala
- 1½ teaspoons (7 mL) ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon (2 mL) ground turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon (4 mL) fine-grain sea salt, plus more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 (28-ounce/793-g) can whole peeled or diced tomatoes, with their juices
- 1 (28-ounce/793-g) can chickpeas, or 3 cups (750 mL) cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup (250 mL) dry/uncooked basmati rice, for serving
- Fresh lemon juice, for serving
- Fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving
- In a large wok or saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.
- When a drop of water sizzles upon hitting the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cumin seeds. Stir and toast the seeds for a minute or two until golden and fragrant, watching carefully to avoid burning.
- Raise the heat to medium and stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, and serrano. Cook for a few minutes or so, then stir in the garam masala, coriander, turmeric, salt, and cayenne (if using), and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Add the whole peeled tomatoes and their juices and break them apart with a wooden spoon (skip if using diced tomatoes). You can leave some chunks of tomato for texture.
- Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chickpeas.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or longer to allow the flavours to develop.
- Serve over cooked basmati rice, if desired, and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some chopped cilantro just before serving.