Channa Masala has innumerable variations depending on the region of India it originates from. More recently, it’s grown wings and become a global fusion favorite, and why wouldn’t it; it’s healthy, hearty, nutritious and incredibly delicious! It also lends itself to any pantry of spices and veggies so well, making it the star of all curries in my books!
My version today is a simple, weekday, one pan quick recipe. No pre cooking, soaking or blending required. This is one of my absolute life savers for a weekday lunch or dinner prep. I make a batch on Sunday and it tastes better and better each day as the Channa soaks in the masala!
2 16 oz cans channa or chickpeas, drained and washed thoroughly
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1″ piece ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp kitchen king masala (this spice blend adds amazing depth of flavor. Found commonly in most Indian grocery stores)
a handful of fresh mint, chopped (this is optional)
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
Heat a saute pan with 3 tbsps oil over medium heat for a minute. Add cumin seeds, and as soon as they start toasting, add turmeric, red chilli, and coriander powders followed by the kitchen king and garam masalas.
Fry this all together for about 15 seconds until it smells aromatic. Then add chopped ginger, garlic and mint. Toss together well, and saute for about 30 seconds until the garlic and ginger soften.
Toss in the chopped onions and saute for 3-5 minutes until the onions soften, and start turning golden brown.
At this stage, add in chopped tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, making sure to keep mixing once in a while. Once the tomatoes have softened, they will lend their natural juices to make this into a masala sauce. If your tomatoes aren’t very juicy, you could add a few tablespoons of water for that desired sauce like consistency.
Now add in the canned chickpeas, and remaining 1 tsp salt. Add a few more tablespoons of water to thin out the masala slightly. Let this simmer over low heat for 15 minutes until all the fried spices, aromatics, veggies and channa come together cohesively.
Add 2 tsps of fresh lemon juice, sprinkle fresh cilantro top and serve hot!
In the end, the channa should be soft and tender, well coated by the thick and velvety masala. It’s best served with fresh rotis or puris, but often my weekday meals are all about grains; and these taste great with quinoa or millets too.