Chana Masala

Chole, AKA: Chana Masala is a chickpea dish cooked in a spicy tomato sauce.
Edits by Jimi – Based on a recipe by Manjula, who I can’t recommend highly enough for Indian cuisine.

RTFM: refer to Foot Notes that correspond to the superscripted numbers

Serves 2 – 4.

Hardware

  • At least a 4qt pot with lid
    • Splatter screen couldn’t hurt
  • Blender or Immersion Blender (or mortar and pestle if you want to get really old-school)
  • Microplane is nice
  • A sharp knife 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas (aka: kable chana, Garbanzo beans, chick peas)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Pinch of asafetida (AKA: Hing – substitute with 1 small white onion and 1 cloves of minced garlic) 1
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon gram flour
    • (aka: Besan, Garbanzo bean or chick pea flour )
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala 2
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro (aka: Green coriander)
  • 1 large tomato (or 28 oz can of tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste 3
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies

Directions

  1. Drain the water out of the can of chickpeas and wash the chickpeas well.
  2. Blend the tomatoes, garlic, green chilies and ginger to make a puree.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the onions and cumin seeds.
  4. After the onions are lightly browned, add the gram flour and stir-fry for a minute.
  5. Add the tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder and cook for about 4 minutes on medium heat.
  6. The mixture will separate and will reduce by about half
  7. Add the chickpeas and a half cup of water and let it cook for 7 to 8 minutes on medium heat, covered.
  8. Mash about ¼ of the chickpeas against the side of the pan to thicken the sauce.
    • Add more water as needed to adjust the consistency, and let it cook for few more minutes on low heat. More water added = more salt needed.
  9. Add the garam masala and cilantro. Let it cook for another minute.
  10. Serve garnished with cilantro leaf (coriander) and/or minced red onion. 4
    • With some naan, and/or basmati, of course.

Foot-Notes:

  1. Hing is also known as Devil’s Dung, because when cooked, it smells like Satan walked in, took a massive shit in the middle of your kitchen, without breaking eye-contact, and then invited himself to dinner. So… maybe sub for the onion and garlic 🙂
  2. Garam Masala is also found at organic shops/ethnic food markets. World Market also carries it. Update: I have even recently seen it at Publix.
  3. You can use a garlic/ginger paste, which is easy to make and useful to keep on hand: equal-parts shredded and mixed with a little neutral oil (refined safflower is excellent), and keep refrigerated for about 1-2 weeks. 
  4. I usually double this recipe. It freezes/reheats well. 

There are several kinds of Masala (even variants of Garam Masala). It’s sort of like Ras El Hanout, which is the “top-shelf” selection of a spice shop, mixed. Experiment and find your favorites.

Love, Jimi

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