Updated: Apr 20, 2021
Chana masala was always one of those things I loved eating at restaurants, but dreaded eating when my mom made it. I figured out what the disconnect was - canned chickpeas. You’ve GOT to use dried if you want that restaurant taste. Other tips - boiling the chana with a black tea bag gives it great colour, and that ‘je ne sais quoi’ factor. Also, dried mango and pomegranate!! Not something you may have on hand, but it’s easy enough to get in the international section of the grocery store, and adds the sweet and sour element. The perfect #vegan bowl for these cold dark days.
Makes 4-6 servings
1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cardamom black tea bag (substitute regular black tea bag)
1 small white onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green chili, minced (optional)
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala
1-2 tsp salt
3 tomatoes, finely chopped or blended
1/2 cup water
1 tsp dried mango powder (amchoor)
1 tsp dried pomegranate seeds (anar dana)
1 tsp dried coriander powder
1 can of coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
1/4-1/2 cup fresh coriander
1. Cover the dried chickpeas in enough water to fully cover, and soak overnight or until the chickpeas have absorbed most of the water (6-8 hour)
2. Strain the chickpeas. Add to a medium sized saucepan with 4-5 cups of water, baking soda, and the tea bag. Bring the chickpeas up to a boil on high heat, then remove the tea bag. Turn the heat down to medium and boil until the chickpeas are soft enough to squish with your fingers, about 20-30 minutes. Strain and keep the water.
3. In a large pan, add the oil or ghee. Turn the stove on to medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, and green chilli if using and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue to sauté for an additional 10 minutes.
4. Add the red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, and salt. Stir well for another 4 minutes to cook the spices. Be sure to stir continuously so not to burn the spices.
5. Add the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water and stir. Simmer until the liquid begins to thicken, about 6-7 minutes, then add the dried mango, dried pomegranate, and the dried coriander. Stir well to combine before adding all of the cooked chickpeas, along with 1 1/2 - 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Stir well and allow to cook again until the liquid thickens, another 7-8 minutes.
6. Once the chana has thickened, add the coconut milk. Cover with a lid reduce the heat to low. Allow the chana to simmer for 12-15 minutes. Taste for salt, and add more of necessary.
7. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice and fresh cilantro. Serve hot with naan, roti, or rice, and fresh lime wedges and cilantro.