07 July 2015

Chana Masala in a hurry

Chana Masala is simply chick peas in a tomato-curry sauce.  Fair warning: the only way this will be "in a hurry" is if your chick peas are already cooked.  You can cook them to your liking ahead of time--I like to make a big pot in the pressure cooker and keep them in the fridge for the week for various applications, like salad or roasting for a last-minute appetizer.  You can also use canned, which I think is perfectly acceptable in such a flavorful sauce.  The longer you let it simmer, the deeper the flavor gets, but you can spend very little time actually cooking it and then let it sit for a while, or you can have a brighter version by whipping it together at the last minute and eating it as soon as the rice is done.  (PS--you can also keep cooked rice in the freezer, making this recipe even faster if all you have to do is nuke it while you make the sauce.)

Chana Masala

Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
Two 15- to 16-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon garam masala 
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger
2 large tomatoes, diced (or one 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Hot cooked rice, optional
plain yogurt for serving, optional

Heat the oil in a wide skillet. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and jalapeno and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.

Add the chickpeas, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, ginger, tomatoes, lemon juice, and about 1/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer, then cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. This should be moist and stewlike, but not soupy; add a little more water, if needed.

Stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Serve on its own in as a stew or over rice. Plop a dollop of yogurt on top if you like. (I do.)