Chana Masala: Chickpeas in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Chana Masala
Chana Masala
Carol Blonder

Yesterday we told you about asafetida, a pungent spice that adds a flavor reminiscent of garlic to a dish. Used in minute quantities, asafetida complements fish, vegetables and legumes. In Indian cooking it is a spice that is added to chutneys, sauces and pickled dishes. It also goes well with rice, just add a pinch to the pot to cook along with the rice. Try the chickpea dish below and serve with brown basmati rice and a side of sauteed green vegetables.

Get the recipe after the jump.

Chana Masala: chickpeas in spicy tomato sauce.

Ingredients: (Note: asafetida, gram flour, and garam masala can be found at Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian markets)
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
15 oz can of chickpeas
Pinch of asafetida
1-teaspoon cumin seeds
1 Tablespoon gram flour (Besan)*, flour made from ground chickpeas
8 oz tomato sauce
1 teaspoon ginger root, ground into a paste with a motor and pestle
1 teaspoon chopped mild green chilies
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1/2-teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (1/4 teaspoon for less spicy dish)
1-teaspoon kosher salt
1/4-teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
*In place of gram flour, make slurry of flour and water, use to thicken sauce

Drain chickpeas, rinse and drain again 
In a small bowl, blend the tomato sauce, chopped green chilies and ginger root
In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat
When the oil is hot add the asafetida and cumin seeds
As the cumin seeds begin to pop, add the gram flour and stir to combine
Add the tomato mixture, coriander powder, turmeric, and red chili powder 
Turn heat to medium, cook and stir mixture until reduced by half
Add drained chickpeas to the mixture with 1/2 cup of water 
Cover pan and cook until heated through, 5-7 minutes
With the back of a spoon, smash a few chickpeas against the side of the pan 
Add the garam masala and chopped cilantro. 
Continue to cook for 2 minutes
Garnish with a little chopped cilantro

Serve as a side dish, or over brown basmati rice. 

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