Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spiced Chickpeas {Chana Masala}

Whenever I am at a loss as to what to cook, I soak up some lentils or legume, pressure cook them and then add some spices and voila – a healthy vegetarian dish for the family is ready within minutes.  I almost never use the canned version of legumes.  With a bit of planning, I soak them in the morning before I leave to work, and back in the evening I give them a quick boil in the pressure cooker or vessel and freeze whatever is left for next time when my planning is not so good or I forget to soak them in the morning.

Chickpeas can be very versatile – I use them in soups to thicken it, in vegetables to increase the quantity or then on their own to make savory snacks or meals like the one below.  When I have guests who like Indian flavors, I make the dish below and garnish some raw onions, tomatoes and boiled potatoes and a dash of lemon juice to add some fresh flavors and colors to the dish.  Here I simply garnished with coriander and a bit of mint for my taste.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes + overnight soaking
Serves: 4

1 cup chick peas
1 large red tomato
1 green chili
1” piece ginger
5 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons coriander leaves
1 onion
A pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon corn oil


  1. Wash and soak the chick peas overnight in water.  Pressure cook for 15 minutes in 2 cups of water.  
  2. Wash and grind the onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, green chili and 2 tablespoons coriander leaves to a paste.  
  3. Heat oil in a vessel and when hot, add the bay leaves.  
  4. Now add the ground paste and fry for 5 minutes.  
  5. Now add the chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, salt and sugar.  Also add the coriander powder and mix well.  
  6. Stir for a couple of minutes more and add the chick peas along with the water.  Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes.  
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

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