Saturday, January 11, 2014

"Takeout-style" Channa Masala

My friend Amanda isn't vegan, but she always makes this chana masala recipe when she needs a go-to vegan dish. And I am definitely okay with that.

The main jist of the slate article from which it comes is that you need to buy a few spice mixes to get that authentic* Indian flavor. I went out and bought the chana masala spice blend, but I used the garam masala I already had made, which, yes, lacked a few ingredients like mace (huh?).

Spices aside, this recipe was also a bit sweet, because of the sugar added. I'm not sure which recipe I prefer (this one here, or this one, or this one, or this one...). Oh, and a HALF recipe made a ton, so I've halved everything below.

*you know what I mean. Another time, let's problematize authenticity til the cows come home. 

Takeout-Style Channa Masala
(from slate)

1/2 lb (1 c) dried chickpeas (or 3 c cooked/canned)
3 TB grapeseed or peanut oil
1/2 TB cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 small fresh jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 TB ginger-garlic paste
4 fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 TB ground channa masala spice blend
1/2 TB ground garam masala
1/2 TB ground cumin
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango) powder
cooked basmati rice for serving (optional)
chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

1. Put the chickpeas in a large pot and add enough water to cover them by 3 to 4 inches. If time allows, soak the chickpeas for 8 to 12 hours. Put the chickpeas over high heat and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the chickpeas are tender, 1 to 1½ hours if you soaked them, about 2 hours if you didn’t. When the chickpeas are mostly tender, add a few large pinches of salt to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, put the oil in another large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the cumin seeds and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onions and season with salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the turmeric and jalapeños and continue cooking until the onions are tender, another 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, channa masala spice mixture, garam masala, cumin, and sugar. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and saucy, about 30 minues.
3. When the chickpeas are tender, drain them, reserving about 1 cup of their cooking liquid. Add the chickpeas and the reserved cooking liquid to the tomato mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice and amchoor powder. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot, over basmati rice and garnished with cilantro, if desired. (Leftover channa masala can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to several days.) Serves 5-6 (and this is a half recipe!).

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