March 30, 2011

Channa Masala

I love the smaller denser heartier black chickpeas or kala channa, but if you can't find them, regular chickpeas or garbanzo beans are fine. The term chickpeas and garbanzo beans can be used interchangeably, while black chickpeas are actually much smaller and darker. 

Since Indian foods tend to have longer ingredient lists with some hard to find spices (and who wants to buy a spice you'll use once?) try this: omit the things you don't have, and add the ones you do. Harder to find ingredients are marked as optional. This dish freezes well. Channa masala is usually served with rice or chappati (or naan), some yogurt, and salad. Try serving it on top of couscous. Couscous cooks in 5 minutes, and is a timesaver.

Channa Masala or Black Chickpeas Curry
Yield: 4 servings

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp udad dhal, (optional)
pinch asafoetida (hing), (optional)
1/2 cup onions, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced fine
1 small jalapeno, seeded, deveined and minced (optional)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp paprika
2, 14 oz cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans or 1 and ½ cups black chickpeas or regular chickpeas prepared by soaking and cooking.
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes (or 1-2 chopped tomatoes)
1 tsp fenugreek powder, if using seeds, toasted and ground (optional)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp garam masala (optional)
cilantro and green onions, optional for garnish
salt to taste

  1. Heat up oil in a large soup stockpot. Once hot add in cumin seeds, udad dhal, and hing. Fry until fragrant.
  2. Add in onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno. Stir-fry.
  3. Add in turmeric, cumin powder, and paprika. Stir everything together. 
  4. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, fenugreek powder, and water. Add more water if too thick. Stir everything together. 
  5. Partially cover and bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in garam masala, taste to adjust for salt, and top with cilantro and green onions.

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