Chana Masala

Flavour of the moment: Cumin, to me it is the warrior of the spice world. It’s always there, fights hard for your taste buds and never backs down, whatever the cuisine.

This recipe is a great one, it is quick, healthy and packed with flavour. Who doesn’t love rustling up a nutritious and delicious curry in 30 minutes?! It is a recipe from Orangette and the blog’s creator Molly Wizenberg’s book ‘A Homemade Life’. A book that made me fall in love with it instantly and make me want to cook every single recipe. I added some more vegetables to the recipe at the chickpea adding stage (broccoli, chard and carrots) and had half the ‘serves 4’ as a meal in itself without rice.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of garam masala or any curry powder of your choice
  • 3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp of salt, to taste
  • Water
  • 2 tins of tinned whole tomatoes (800g in total)
  • A handful of chopped coriander leaves (saving some for serving)
  • A pinch of cayenne or chilli flakes
  • 2 tins of chickpeas
  • Plain yogurt and/or lemon juice to serve
  • (Any vegetables you wish to add)

Method:

  1. In a large pan (I used a wok style pan as it had good depth but ideally a large Dutch oven/ casserole dish would be best) heat the oil and caramelise the onion. This may take several minutes but it worth doing well.
  2. Reduce the heat and add the garlic, all the spices (not the fresh coriander or cayenne/chilli flakes) and salt, cook for about 30s then add a 1/4 cup of water and stir to combine all the spices. Make sure to scrape down any spices that have stuck to the side.
  3. When the water has all evaporated pour the juice from the tinned tomatoes into the pan.
  4. Now for the fun bit; using your hands, squeeze the whole tomatoes from the tins into the pan, making sure they are well broken apart.
  5. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a gentle boil until you have a nice simmer.
  6. Keep stirring the mixture intermittently for a few minutes until it begins to thicken, approximately five minutes.
  7. Add the chickpeas (and any vegetables) and cook for a further 5 minutes. Don’t forget to stir!
  8. Add 2 tbsp of water and cook for another 5 minutes.
  9. Add another 2 tbsp of water and cook until absorbed. This process is new to me but helps to concentrate the sauce’s flavour, you learn something new every day!
  10. Serve however you like, with or with yogurt stirred through or topped with lemon juice and or coriander, the choice is entirely yours. You could even sprinkle more curry powder on top, now there’s a crazy idea.
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