You will probably see that I’ve been on an Indian kick and will soon be moving into cooking from another ethnic culinary tradition. But I had to share with you this recipe first. I first made Chana Masala for my vegetarian stepson and at the time, he was not eating any onions and garlic so I used Asafetida instead. That is a resin from India that has a mild oniony flavor, but when I made this same dish with onions and garlic, I didn’t look back. To me, they add so much depth to the flavor. I love the spiciness of this dish and I don’t usually go for spicy foods, but it is a very balanced heat and if you serve it with rice and a yogurt cucumber salad, the heat really enhances the flavor. I like it with a little more sauce than is traditional. It is often quite a dry dish when authentic. But this version is a brightly tangy dish with chewy chickpeas and a smooth spicy sauce. I took the picture before I added the cilantro, but do add it if you like it as it adds lovely contrasting color and some good flavor too. Chana Masala is one of my favorite Indian dishes and it may become one of yours too!
Chana Masala – Spicy Indian Chickpeas in Tomato Sauce
3 Tablespoons Ghee or Butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 inch chunk of fresh Ginger, peeled and grated or minced very fine
1 Serrano Chili, deseeded and minced
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Turmeric
2 teaspoons ground Cumin
1 15-ounce can of whole Tomato Sauce
2 (15 oz) cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
Juice of ½ of a large lemon or whole small lemon
Heat Ghee or Butter in a large skillet until melted. Add Coriander, Cumin, Cayenne and Turmeric - cook just for a minute or until you can smell the spice. Add in the onion, ginger and garlic. Cook until onion softens. Add in the Serrano Chili, the Tomato Sauce and the Chickpeas. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and squeeze in lemon juice – stir and serve garnished with Cilantro leaves.
Five Element Analysis
Chickpeas are part of the bean family so they belong to the Water Element. The Metal Element is strongly represented by all of the spices and the garlic and onion. The Fire Element also has strong representation from the Tomato Sauce, Cayenne Pepper and the Serrano Chili. The Wood Element is represented by the lemon juice and the cilantro leaves. Only the Earth Element is lacking so serve this dish with another Earthy food like an Indian Cucumber Salad to balance out the meal.