Traditional Chana Masala

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Last updated Jul 17, 2023

We love Indian food, but it is always hard to find good Indian restaurants in our area. Lately, we’ve been trying to cook our own Indian dishes and they’ve been better than what we find in the restaurant. After making this creation a couple of nights ago, the search is over, we’ll just make it ourselves from now on.

Chana Masala is a staple of Indian cooking. “Chana” means chickpeas and “masala” is a blend of spices. It is a vegan and gluten-free dish that is full of flavor and can be served as an entree or as a side.

For this particular recipe, you will need to make sure you have a few traditional Indian spices: Amchoor, Kasoori Methi and Kashmiri Chili Powder. Unless you have an Indian grocery store in your area, you will have to order these on Amazon, as they are not available in everyday grocery stores.

Amchoor is dried green mango powder and adds tartness to the flavor. Kasoori Methi is dried fenugreek leaves and adds a nutty flavor. Kashmiri chili powder adds a little bit of heat to the dish as well as a vibrant red color.

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  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2″ piece of ginger
  • 4 whole dried red chiles
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp amchoor
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups of cooked chickpeas
  • 18 oz container Pomi strained tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi
  • Cilantro, for garnish

Step 1: If using dry chickpeas, soak them overnight. We soaked approximately half a pound of dried beans overnight. Then two hours before cooking chana masala, drain the water out of the beans, rinse them out, and cook them in 6 cups of water for approximately 2 hrs.

Step 2: Heat a heavy bottom pot, we use a Le Creuset Two-in-One Multi-functional Pan, over medium heat and add oil. Add the onion and pinch of salt and cook for about 10 minutes until translucent and soft.

Step 3: Roughly chop the garlic and ginger and then mash them together using a mortar and pestle to create a garlic-ginger paste. Add the paste and the whole spices: dried red chiles, cardamom pods, clove, and bay leaf to the onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes and stir occasionally.

Chana Masala

Step 4: Add the ground spices: amchoor, ground coriander, Kashmiri chili powder, garam masala, turmeric, half a tablespoon of kasoori methi, salt and black pepper. Stir and let it cook for 1 minute.

Chana Masala

Step 5: Add the cooked chickpeas and strained tomatoes, optionally you can add little bit of water if the mixture feels dry. Bring to boil, partially cover and let is simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chana Masala

Step 6: Turn off the heat, sprinkle in the rest of the kasoori methi, taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed, Remove the whole spices: bay leaf, chili peppers, clove and cardamom pods.

Step 7: Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Step 8: Bon Appétite!

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