The first time I ate a curry was in my early twenties. However I have made up for lost time and order Chana Masala almost every time I go out for or order in Indian food. Cooking a version at home is easy once you have the right spices – I have even made the whole thing with baby either on my hip or using my legs to help herself stand up.
This comforting Chana Masala comes together quickly in one pan and uses cupboard staples such as tinned tomatoes and chickpeas. Spices are toasted, onions are softened, and before you know it you are sitting down to a mildy spiced, tangy curry that has enough plant-based protein to keep you going.
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamon (optional)
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- ⅔ cup basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 400g can diced tomatoes, with juices.
- 1 400g can chickpea, rinsed and drained (1½ cups)
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish
- lemon juice, for serving
- Cook the rice according to packet instructions.
- Heat your pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil.
- Swirl the oil in the pan and add chopped onion. Allow onion to soften and become translucent - about 5 to 7 minutes.
- In the meantime, blend the spices in a small bowl.
- Add the spice blend to the pan and use a wooden spoon to coat the onions with the spices.
- Add garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes until the garlic, ginger and spices become fragrant.
- Pour the tin of tomatoes into the pan and stir everything well to deglaze the pan.
- Raise the heat a little to medium-high and add chickpeas.
- Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. If desired, reduce heat and allow to simmer for longer.
- Serve over basmati rice and garnish with maple syrup, lemon juice and fresh coriander.
I make this recipe for two hungry adults and an 11 month old baby (the picture is her portion). If you want to make it for more people, simply increase the quantities - cooking time should remain the same.
If you are cooking for a baby or small child, give the chickpeas in their portion a gentle mash or squeeze before serving, to avoid danger of choking.