Chana Masala is a vegetarian dish made with chickpeas simmered in a flavorful spiced tomato sauce. It’s an easy weeknight dinner because it’s fast and it’s made with pantry staples such as canned chickpeas, canned tomatoes, and lots of spices. I served this over a mixture of steamed cauliflower and rice but whole wheat Naan or pita bread would be a good swap for the rice. This recipe is adapted from a recipe in the August issue of Cook’s Illustrated. *Remember not to drain the chickpeas and the tomatoes because you will be using their liquid.
1 small red onion, quartered
Bunch (10 springs or so) of cilantro or parsley, saving a little for garnish
1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 serrano chilies, seeded, sliced thin, and divided
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, undrained
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste
- Process the onion, cilantro or parsley, ginger, and half of the serrano peppers in a food processor until finely chopped, scraping down the sides as necessary, about 20 seconds. Add the onion mixture and oil to a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until the mixture is beginning to stick to the pan. Add the paprika, cumin, turmeric, and fennel seeds and cook for about 1 minute longer. Stir in the chickpeas with their liquid.
- Process the tomatoes and their juice in the food processor. Process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes to the chickpea, onion and spice mixture. Bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Stir in garam masala to the chickpea mixture and continue to cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, about 8-12 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
- Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro (or parsley), remaining serrano pepper slices and a lime wedge.
Adapted from a recipe in the August 2020 issue of Cook’s Illustrated