Chana Masala

Adapted from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe.


The recipe calls for a tablespoon of amchoor powder, which I did not have. I looked it up and learned that it was dried unripe mango powder, a clearly a sour flavor, so I upped the lemon juice i used instead.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I used a quarter of this because my cayenne is extremely hot)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon amchoor powder (see note)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced) (see note; I used a whole lemon to swap for the amchoor powder)
Added +/- 1/2 lb. spinach—yum yum

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, amchoor (if using it), paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Eat up or put a lid on it and reheat it when needed. Curries such as this reheat very well, later or or in the days that follow, should it last that long.

Italian chickpea spread

1 15 ounce can chickpeas drained
2-4 tbsp water
1 tbsp roasted garlic olive oil or 1 tbsp. olive oil plus 1 clove of garlic minced
1 tsp Italian Herb Mixture *
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1-3 tsp balsamic vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine the chickpeas, 2 tbsp water, the oil, garlic, herb blend in food processor and process until smooth scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add a bit more liquid if necessary to create a thick but spread able consistency and salt to taste (or make slightly thinner for a dip). Taste and add a little balsamic vinegar or lemon juice if you want to intensity the flavors.

Makes about 1 ½ cups.

Chickpea salad dressing: Thin the spread with tomato juice and balsamic vinegar to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Italian Herb Mixture

1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp rosemary
1 ½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp crushed pepper flakes (optional)

Combine all of the herbs in a small wide-mouthed jar. Shake well. Store in a dark, cool place for up to 3 months.

*I made a small amount guessing at proportions and put in the coffee mill to grind the pepper flakes and fennel seeds.