Chana masala has to be my all-time favorite dish that Indian cuisine has to offer. And it’s no surprise considering its heartiness from the chickpeas and brown rice, touch of sweetness from fresh tomatoes and flavorful punch from a plethora of aromatic spices. Aside from simply being delicious, chana masala also boasts many health benefits and is one of those dishes that is “accidentally vegan.” Paired with brown rice, this plant-based dish is very filling and is packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals plus it is naturally low in fat.
When I was in high school my mom made friends with an Indian woman who lived next door and they shared recipes and cooking tips. My mom taught her how to make homemade marinara sauce and guacamole and the neighbor taught her how to make different indian recipes such as puri bread and curries. I loved eating this homemade authentic indian food but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I finally ventured into the realm of cooking it myself.
A friend from work had told me about a restaurant near our office that also had a market which carried all different spices and items used in Indian cooking. When I went to check it out I knew the time had come to start making my favorite dishes at home, and at the top of that list is chana masala.
I saw a spice packet at the market which included all of the different spices used for the dish. After looking at the ingredient list, I decided this would be a good way to ease myself in – and also cheaper, since buying each spice separately would cost a small fortune! So the recipe below does call for a spice packet, which you can find at almost any Indian market. I also decided to add fresh jalapeno, garlic, ginger and cilantro.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1/2 jalapeño, minced
- 2 tomatoes
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (two 15.5oz cans)
- 1 tablespoon MDH chana masala spice blend
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- salt, as needed
- Heat cumin seeds in the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
- Chop onion and jalapeños and add to the skillet. Cook until onions are caramelized.
- Finely grate the garlic and ginger, then add to onions.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another minute or so.
- Add the chickpeas, spice blend and veggie broth. Stir until mixed thoroughly.
- Let simmer over low heat for about 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over rice. Pair with puri or naan bread.