I've had so many boring versions of channa masala I was little flabbergasted when I came across a version that was delicately spiced, fragrant, and worthy of the spotlight. I was up on Devon Avenue in Chicago at Uru-Swati, an incredible vegetarian Indian restaurant on the north side of the city. I wanted this dish again, but I didn't want to have to make the drive. Could I make this at home?
Sort of. Though this wasn't quite right—it wasn't nearly as thick as it should have been—I still found myself really enjoying this recipe from Recipezaar. It's aromatic and spicy, and an easy vegetarian main when paired with rice. There are better ways, I'm sure. But for ingredients I just picked off my shelf, spice rack, and bottom of my fridge, it's hard to beat.
About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is the co-founder of The Paupered Chef and spends most of his time playing with the new cooking gadgets he got from his wedding.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Juice of 1/4 lemon
- 1/2 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
Toss the butter in a skillet set over medium heat. When melted, add the onion and cook until soft and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, and turmeric. Stir until combined and cook for 30 seconds or so, or until it is very fragrant.
Stir in the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Dump in the chickpeas and the pour in the water. Stir until combined, and then bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the paprika, garam masala, salt, and lemon juice. Cover and cook at a simmer for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle in the ginger and jalapeno. Cook for another 30 seconds. Season with salt if needed.