This delicious take on Chana Masala was adapted from a February 1999 recipe for Spicy Chickpeas in the oldie but goodie magazine Food & Wine. This savory dish comes together quickly. We’ve made it countless times over the years and are always delighted how flavorful such an easy recipe can be.
Measure 1.5 cups of basmati, jasmine or other long grain rice into a mesh colander
Rinse the rice well under cold water until the water runs clear
Drain the rice well and put it into a medium-size pot
Add 2 and 1/4 cups of water, carefully measured, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat
Stir with a fork
Turn the heat to very low and cover the pot
Set a timer for 15 minutes and leave the rice undisturbed
When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and leave the rice covered and untouched until you are ready to serve the chana masala
Fluff with fork before serving
Ingredients for the Chana Masala
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1.5 cups)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp hing powder (aka asafoetida) – optional
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp mango powder or 1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp tomato paste
2 15 oz cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed well and drained
2 cups water
Combine the coriander, cayenne, turmeric, ground cumin, mango powder (if using), and salt in a small dish and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they start to clear.
Add red pepper flakes, cumin seeds, and hing powder. Continue to cook, stirring often, until onions are light golden brown.
Add the dry spices to the onions and mix well. Stir for about a minute, until the spices are fragrant.
Work in the tomato paste until everything is nicely combined. Keep cooking and stirring the mixture for 2 or 3 minutes to cook the tomato paste well.
Add the chick peas and stir until coated with the tomato and spice mixture.
Add the water and lemon juice (if using). The mixture may seem too watery at first, but the volume will reduce.
Simmer briskly on medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the water has reduced and blended with the spices to form a thick sauce. This will take about 20-25 minutes, depending on how high you have the heat.
If the sauce becomes too thick or the mixture seems too dry as it simmers, add additional water, a tablespoon at a time. If it seems too watery, cook a little longer. This recipe is very flexible. If the chana masala is ready before you are, just keep it on the stove over low heat. When you are ready to serve, stir in a little more water and raise the heat.
Serve with rice.