Chana Masala is a vegan curry recipe that is famous around the world! So, you’ve probably heard of, and even eaten it. However, do you know what the name means? ‘Chana’ is an Indian word for chickpea and ‘masala’ describes various Indian spice mixes (there are many different masalas). Therefore, Chana Masala is a dish of ‘mixed-spice chickpeas‘.
This is quite a general description. Therefore, it’s no surprise that every region, family, and cook has their own recipe. Even so, there are some must-have ingredients that make a Chana Masala recipe recognizable. First and foremost, you need chickpeas (canned is fine) and spices! Commonly used spices include bay leaf, coriander seed, cumin, dried chilies, ginger, and Garam Masala. However, wait up! The Garam Masala doesn’t go in until the very end.
Finally, onions, garlic and plenty of tomatoes are added to give this dish a rich, flavorful body. Altogether, these ingredients form a delicious, naturally vegan curry.
How to make Chana Masala
We like to start our Chana Masala with a little oil in the pot. Next, we add the onions and sauté until soft. After that, we add the spices. This is because we don’t want our spices to burn while our onion remains raw. Some garlic and ginger go in once the spices become aromatic. Then, add the tomatoes, vegetable broth and chickpeas (crushed and whole) and let it simmer for a while.
Finally, we cut the heat and stir in a splash of lemon/lime juice, the Garam Masala and cilantro. Adding these ingredients last helps preserve the tang of the citrus and the aroma of the spice and herbs.
*Note: traditional Chana Masala recipes also use dried mango powder (amchur) and crushed pomegranate seed (anardana). However, these can be difficult to find. As a result, we’ve kept things simple by using ingredients from the local supermarket.
Rice and Shine! (or not …)
This recipe makes quite a hearty meal that you can eat on its own. However, there are also plenty of sides you can add to stretch it out. Less time spent cooking? Yay!
The simplest option is probably basmati rice (or any other rice, for that matter). Alternatively, you can pair it with your favorite rice substitutes – like quinoa, couscous, or some low-carb cauliflower rice! We’ve also seen people using Chana Masala to top roasted cauliflower and broccoli – sounds delicious to us!
Jealousy-Inspiring Lunch for Daaays
Do we ever stop talking about meal prep? Well, no! Because meal prep is awesome. We know everyone bugs you about this – but it really does start your week off right! Plus, like any well-spiced dish, the ingredients mingle over time and taste even better after a rest. Chana Masala keeps in the fridge for a few days, and also freezes really well! So make a big, easy batch on the weekend and you’ll have terrific lunches all week.
Well, we hope you find our simple Chana Masala recipe as tasty and easy as we do! If you tried it, please let us know what you think with a review and a comment. Every bit of feedback helps make the blog even better!Print
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