Vegetarian

Fool-Proof Chana Masala: A Deliciously Warming Curry

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“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Today marks the first day of Fall! Time to pull out the crock pot, the curries, the soups, pumpkin lattes, the sweaters & the boots. Yep, the boots (my least favorite part, could you guess?) I otherwise absolutely adore the Fall & all things that come with it. I honestly think it’s the most beautiful season nature has to offer. I grew up in a hot, tropical climate, where Fall was something we never experienced first hand. We actually have a rainy season during this time of the year, and it’s not as fun!

After a long day, I love nothing more than a soothing bowl of soup or a warming curry over rice (usually brown or basmati) or protein-packed quinoa for a double whammy. Chickpeas are so rich, filling & packed with protein. I live on a diet that’s rich in legumes; think chickpeas, lentils, beans, etc. I used to eat meat every single day; for both lunch & dinner. I now consume meat 2-3 times a week, and only once a day. My diet is 80% plant-based, but I ensure it’s very high in protein & iron. I always have huge batches of rice & quinoa in the fridge, so this is technically a one-pot meal for me.

I was first introduced to Indian food when I arrived in Canada exactly 13 years ago. I was an immediate fan; there was something about it that felt innately familiar. It reminded of rich Latin stews on rice with vegetables. But I always thought their cuisine was rather intricate & I was always dissuaded from trying to cook an Indian-inspired dish. Once I read about their spices & the preparation, I felt oddly comfortable about giving it a go. Masala means “mixture of spices” hence it’s omnipresence in nearly every Indian dish title. But don’t be mistaken- the mixture of spices varies from dish to dish. Chances are, you’re enjoying a very different masala each time. Here’s my version of chana masala, perhaps a bit spicier than most. This recipe calls for garam masala, garam meaning “hot”. But this dish is incredibly delicious & mild, not overly oily, & packed with things that are good for you. I really do believe working with an amalgam of spices (as opposed to pre-made sauces) do your body a lot of good.

Ingredients-Serves 4

  • 1.5 tbsp of olive oil OR 1tbsp coconut oil for vegan diets
  • 3 garlic cloves minced or 1 tbsp of minced garlic ( I buy a small jar of organic, minced garlic)
  • 1 large onion or 2 small ones, finely chopped
  • 2 cans of rinsed chickpeas (there’s great organic brands available & this is a huge time-saver!)
  • 2-3 tomatoes diced (love lots of tomato in mine!)
  • 2 teaspoons of garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric (a little turmeric goes a long way)
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • sea salt to taste (I must confess I don’t use any)
  • fresh cilantro or lemon thyme for garnish (I used lemon thyme from my garden)
  • 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of water

The Super Simple Preparation

  1. In a skillet or large non-stick pan heat the oil in medium to high heat. When the oil is sizzling and you hear that crackle, add the onions & tomatoes and let them simmer & cook for about 3 minutes, while stirring often.
  2. Once the onions & tomatoes have softened, add the chickpeas & throw ALL of the above spices, the garlic, & ginger in except for the cilantro or lemon thyme. Also ensure to add the 1/4 cup of water and the 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice. Bring everything to a simmer.
  3. Lower the heat to medium to low, cover with a lid & cook for an additional 10-12 minutes. Stir often. Add more water, if needed. It should be moist and rich with sauce, but remember- this is not a soup. 🙂
  4. Serve over rice or quinoa & garnish with fresh cilantro or lemon thyme. Enjoy every bite!