Recent Posts

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Channa Masala

Channa Masala

Back in my university days (the first time around), when I was just learning how to cook, I tried making channa masala a few times.  Channa masala is an Indian dish (sort of a chickpea curry) and is very hearty and delicious when done properly.  I couldn't get it right.  My version always just tasted like canned tomatoes.  I was lamenting this fact at work several months ago (over a late-night Indian take-out order including a delicious channa masala) and my (awesome) supervisor offered to share her mother's recipe.  Needless to say, I took her up on it!


[front to back:  grated frozen ginger, garam masala + black pepper + tomato paste, cumin seeds]

Chopped onions

[chopped onion]

Tomato paste

[tomato paste]

Chick peas


Tamarind paste

[tamarind paste]

Regarding the tamarind paste:  the last time we went hunting for some, we could only find a package of whole tamarind (not fresh pods - this stuff was almost the texture of dried figs).  In order to make a paste, I pureed the whole tamarind (about 6 oz) with a healthy splash of apple cider vinegar (maybe 1/4 cup) and a few tablespoons of sugar.  It came out with a lovely texture and nice tangy flavour.

Anyway, on to the recipe:


2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp garam masala
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice or tamarind paste
1 tsp tomato paste
1-2 medium onions, chopped
19 oz can of chickpeas
3 tbsp reserved chickpea liquid
1/2 cup warm water
~2 inches fresh/frozen ginger, grated or finely chopped
salt to taste


Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over high heat.  Add cumin seeds and heat until darkened.  Add onions.  Reduce heat to medium.  Fry until softened (5-6 minutes).  Turn heat to low.  Add ginger, garam masala, and pepper.  Stir well.  Add tomato paste.  Stir again.  Add drained and rinsed chickpeas (remember to reserve 3 tbsp of liquid!).  Add chickpea liquid and 1/2 cup warm water.  Let heat for ~10 minutes, stirring gently (trying not to break up the chickpeas).  Add tamarind paste or lemon juice to the dish and stir.  Serve hot over basmati rice, or with naan bread.  Makes ~ 4 portions.

Note: the heat in this dish comes from the ginger (and to a lesser extent the black pepper).  So you can modify those amounts to get your desired spiciness.  As is, I would consider it a fairly mild dish.

Channa Masala

[ready to eat]

Channa Masala

[close up]

I'm telling you, it is one satisfying dish.  And healthy.  And vegetarian.  And vegan for that matter.

Got a favorite Indian food recipe?  Please share!


Adam Chiasson said...Best Blogger Tips

Love the pics! Looks delicious.

Margie said...Best Blogger Tips

Those old recipes can always be counted on !

Post a Comment