Chana masala, chole masala, channay, chholay – whatever you call it, it has a right to be the most popular curry in India, where it is sold on the streets, served at parties and eaten at all hours of the day, from the breakfast until late. evening snack. Cheap, nutritious, and easy to make in quantity, it reheats well, and most importantly, it tastes great.
Duties 15 minutes
to cook 40 minutes (if using canned chickpeas)
It serves 4-6
450 g of cooked chickpeas, drained (or a little less than 2 cans of 400 g), or 200 g of dried chickpeas
½ teaspoon baking soda, if you use dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 cloves of garlic
25g ginger root
2-4 green chilies, taste
30 g fresh coriander
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 400g can of plum tomatoes
1½ teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon garam masala (see step 9)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 If you use dried chickpeas …
Soak dried chickpeas, if using, in cold water overnight, preferably with half a teaspoon of baking soda added, then drain, put in a skillet, generously cover with cold water, and simmer. Remove slag, lower heat and cook until tender; how long it takes will depend on the age of the chickpeas. Make sure there is always at least 500 ml of liquid in the pan. Once the chickpeas are tender, pour 500 ml of cooking liquor into a jug, then drain the rest.
2… and if it is used canned
However, if you use canned chickpeas, put them in a pan with 500 ml of water (you can make up that amount with the liquid from the can), bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes.
3 Sauté the onion
Peel and chop the onion. Put the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and, once hot, add the cumin seeds and fry, stirring so they do not burn, until fragrant. Add the onion and lower the heat, then cook, stirring regularly, until soft and golden.
4 Make the curry paste
While the onion is cooking, peel and coarsely chop the garlic and ginger, then put them in a mortar or small mincer with the chillies (removing the stems but leaving the seeds and marrow, unless you don’t like it very much spicy) and about 25 g of fresh coriander. Grind or bomb to a fairly smooth paste, adding a splash of water if necessary.
5 Add the pasta and spices
Scrape the pasta into the onion skillet and fry it, stirring, for a couple of minutes, then add the ground coriander, chili powder, and turmeric (and an extra splash of oil if the mixture seems to be in danger of catching), and cook, still stirring, for a couple more minutes.
Coarsely chop the tomatoes if you use them whole (if you have access to fresh ripe tomatoes, you can use them instead).
6 Add the tomatoes and chickpeas
Add the tomatoes to the skillet, add the chickpeas and their cooking water and salt, then turn up the heat to bring the sauce to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium low and let it bubble for about 20 minutes, until it thickens a little. Add the garam masala (see step 9 if you want to make it yourself) and lemon juice, and check for seasoning.
7 final touches
Turn off the heat and let the chana masala cool slightly, then chop the remaining coriander leaves, sprinkle on top, and serve.
Chana masala is often served with flat breads like chapati or pav buns, poori or rice, and with raita and / or a kachumber salad of minced onion, cucumber, and tomatoes, but it also makes a good vegetarian side dish.
Replace 50g dried chickpeas with chana dal for a slightly thicker consistency. If you prefer milder things, add a couple tablespoons of whole plain yogurt. And increase the volume of the dish, if necessary, by adding two medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, to the skillet in step 6 (in which case, you may need to cook the curry longer and add a little more of Water).
9 homemade salt masala
To make your own deliciously aromatic garam masala, per Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe, slightly tailored for practicality, put the seeds of eight cardamom pods in a spice grinder or mortar with a teaspoon of black peppercorns, cloves, and black pepper seeds. cumin (preferably black, but brown will do), a cinnamon stick and a third of nutmeg, finely grated, then grind to a powder.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism