I have seen so many bad reviews for Indian restaurants lately that I started to wonder if it would just be better to make Indian food at home. Turns out, it is!
Indian foods: Chana Masala
- 3 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or sub coconut oil)
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp sea salt (divided // plus more to taste)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (6 cloves yield ~3 Tbsp)
- 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2-3 fresh green chilies, sliced with seeds (I used serrano peppers)
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 28-ounce can puree or finely diced tomatoes (if unsalted, you’ll add more salt to the dish)
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, slightly drained
- 1 tsp garam masala* (see instructions for DIY blend)
- 2-3 tsp coconut sugar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice (plus more to taste)
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion, cumin, and one-third of the salt (1/4 tsp as the original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
- Add garlic, ginger, cilantro, and green chilies to a mortar and pestle and grind into a rough paste (or use a small food processor to pulse into a paste. Alternatively, just finely mince.) Then, add to the pan with the onions.
- Next add ground coriander, chili powder, and turmeric and stir to coat. Add a little more oil at this point if the pan is looking dry.
- Next, add pureed tomatoes and chickpeas and remaining salt (1/2 tsp as the original recipe is written). If the mixture looks a little too thick, add up to 1 cup (240 ml) water (I added ~1/2 cup (120 ml) // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). You’re looking for a semi-thick soup consistency at this point, as it will cook down into more of a stew.
- Increase heat to medium-high until it reaches a rolling simmer, then reduce heat to low or medium-low and maintain a simmer (uncovered) for 15-20 minutes, or until thick and stew-like. Stir occasionally.
- In the meantime, if you don’t have garam masala seasoning, make your own by adding (amounts as original recipe are written // adjust if altering batch size) 2 small dried red chilies, 1 tsp black peppercorns (or 1/2 tsp ground black pepper), 1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1/2 tsp ground cumin), 1 tsp cardamom pods (or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom), 1/2 tsp cloves (or 1/4 tsp ground cloves), and 1/8 tsp nutmeg to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind/mix into a powder. Set aside.
- When the chana masala is thickened and bubbly, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt for saltiness, chili powder for heat, or a bit of coconut sugar for sweetness and to offset the heat of the chilies.
- Remove from heat and add lemon juice and garam masala. Stir to mix, then let cool slightly before serving. Fresh cilantro and lemon juice make an excellent garnish. Chana masala can be enjoyed as a stew on its own, or it can be delicious with white or brown rice (see my favorite method here), or cauliflower rice. Lastly, my favorite is over roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli (see notes for instructions).
- Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Indian chopped salad
- 1 small handful of fresh or dry curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- rapeseed oil
- 1 heaped teaspoon mango chutney
- 4 uncooked poppadoms, optional
- 2 carrots
- ½ a cucumber
- 4 spring onions
- 1 bunch of radishes
- 2 little gem lettuce
- 2 big handfuls of ripe cherry tomatoes
- 1 fresh red chili
- 1 bunch of fresh coriander
- 1 bunch of fresh mint
- 1 lemon
- Crumble the curry leaves into a small frying pan on medium heat. Add a big lug of oil, and the fenugreek and mustard seeds.
- Fry until the mustard seeds start to pop, then stir in the mango chutney. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Puff up the poppadoms by microwaving for a minute or two.
- Peel and grate the carrots on a large board, then chop and add the cucumber, spring onions, radishes, lettuce, tomatoes, and chili (deseed it first), mixing and chopping as you go. Pick over the herb leaves and give it a good final chop.
- Pour over the toasted spices, add a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of sea salt and mix and chop it all up with your knife. If it’s too dry, add extra oil and lemon juice.
- Serve sprinkled with crunched-up poppadoms, and extra dollops of mango chutney, if you fancy.
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