When I’m perusing the buffet at an Indian restaurant, there are a couple of staple dishes I always get excited about. Chana Masala happens to be one such dish. When I eat chana masala, I’m convinced I could be a vegetarian. It’s everything I want in a dish. Hearty chickpeas, spicy tomato sauce. Serve it with a piece of warm naan bread and I’m in heaven.
This spicy chickpea curry is my quick and easy version of chana masala. There are tons of variations and recipes for chana masala but I promise, this is a good one.
One night this week I attempted to make dinner and found my fridge was looking pretty bare so I turned to the pantry and was delighted to find I had two cans of chickpeas. That’s another great thing about this dish, it’s composed almost entirely of pantry items. About 45 minutes later, a delicious, spicy chickpea curry was simmering away on the stove. I served it with brown rice and garlic naan. I could have easily eaten the entire pan. So good. SO flavorful. And it smells divine.
Spicy chickpea curry
2 tbsp. ghee (or vegetable oil)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 heaping tablespoon of ginger, grated or minced
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can of lite coconut milk
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro chopped, plus extra for serving
1 lime, cut into wedges for serving
1. Heat the ghee (or vegetable oil) over medium heat in a large sauté pan (I used nonstick). Once the ghee is hot, add the chopped onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let the onions cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, until the onions are golden brown and caramelized.
2. Next add the minced garlic and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes and then add all the spices (the garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne) and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and stir for another 30 seconds, breaking up the tomato paste with a spoon.
3. Add the chickpeas to the pan and stir to combine.
4. Pour in the coconut milk (shake the can of coconut milk before you add it to the pan). Stir to combine everything. The coconut milk should start to take on a beautiful, golden color. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Once the sauce starts to simmer, reduce the heat to medium low, cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Turn the heat off and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.
I served the chana masala over brown rice (You can definitely substitute jasmine rice or basmati rice) with naan bread. Top it with a little extra cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.