Channa Masala or chickpea curry is pretty much one of my favorite things to eat in India, at an Indian restaurant or at home. It’s easy to make and is always tasty. It’s also extremely healthy.
I was making it the same way for years but recently I had people over for a big Indian feast and I decided to invent a Channa Masala 2.0. Basically chickpea curry on steroids. I went all out. This dish is simple but it requires quite a few ingredients, not a lot of physical effort but a decent amount of cooking time.Served over rice, with some warm naan bread, a slice of lime and some fresh coriander–lord Krishna it’s delicious!
Here we go!
What you’ll need:
- About 2 tablespoons of homemade curry paste (ginger, garlic, tomato paste, salt, turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, curry powder, chilli powder, fennel and/or cumin seeds)
- Some toasted almonds (I also used pistachios) and then blitzed or smashed into a fine powder–trust me this part is worth it.
- Some tomato puree
- A can of coconut milk
- A plain black tea bag steeped in water (any “normal” tea will do, Earl Grey, etc.)
- A can of chickpeas
- A bit of brown sugar
- One medium sized yellow or red onion, chopped
- 2-3 tiny green chilli peppers, chopped
- A bay leaf (obviously optional)
- Any other veggies you’d like to use. I normally use some spinach and some chopped tomatoes. You can also add in chunks of potato, cauliflower, carrots etc.
- I also used about half a cup of red lentils for extra richness
- Fresh coriander
- Fresh lime juice
What to do:
Toast your almonds (and pistachios and cashews or whatever) in the oven for 10 minutes or so, and then bash or blitz into as fine a powder you can make. This is an extra step that’s obviously not necessary but I promise you it’s worth it. It’s what takes the channa masala to a luxurious chana masala!
In a large saucepan or wok, heat some olive or veg oil (butter if you want it extra rich).
Add your chopped onion and cook the onion on medium heat until it softens. Then, add the chillies, the almond powder and the curry paste. Stir so the onions are coated and continue to cook on medium for another 5 minutes, you want the onions to get nice and sweaty. The onion sweat will be an important part of the gravy.
Then, add the chickpeas, the lentils, the tomato sauce (About a cup) the coconut milk, and about half a cup of tea. Stir everything up well. Add a couple table spoons of brown sugar, a bay leaf, your other veggies and stir. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat so that the chickpeas are simmering
Let everything simmer on low for at least 30 minutes.
So rich and delicious, healthy and satisfying!
Serve over some basmati or jasmine rice, with some naan bread or chapatis. Squeeze with a bit of fresh lime juice and sprinkle with coriander!