I like to think of this meal as a gateway into loving Indian food for two reasons: 1) everyone loves chickpeas and 2) it’s full of so much flavor and delicious spice, without being spicy, that it shatters the misconceptions non-Indian food eaters have about Indian food.
The heart of this dish is chickpeas, wrapped in a fragrant tomato based sauce. It’s thick without being creamy which makes it perfect for a vegan or vegetarian diet; chickpeas are full of fiber and protein which makes them very filling and almost meaty. When you combine the filling and savory nature of chickpeas with the aromatic spices found in Indian food you’re #winning.
Indian spices can be intimidating, so this is my American version of an Indian dish. It’s got a couple of ingredients that you may not be familiar with, like garam masala and mustard seeds, but these are easy to find nowadays – either online, at an Indian grocery store, or even Whole Foods which carries this brand. When I moved out of my mom’s house, she gifted a box of spices to start me off.
This box has contained everything I’ve ever needed to make 5+ years of Indian food. My husband would say that I don’t cook Indian food enough, so I’ve been trying to make more of it lately. Channa Masala (or spicy Indian chickpeas) is one of my favorites because it’s a one pot meal (translation: easy clean up) and it’s delicious. You can serve it with a side of rice or naan. It’s even better as leftovers.
- 1 29 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce (plain)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 - 1 tsp powdered cumin, I prefer more because I love the flavor cumin adds
- 1/2 tsp powdered turmeric
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 - 1 tsp garam masala depending on how much heat you like
- 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh cilantro to garnish
- Heat the coconut oil in a heavy bottom pan, once hot add the mustard seeds.
- Allow the mustard seeds to "pop" (you'll hear an audible pop once this starts happening); give them a stir then add turmeric and garam masala, stir.
- Next, add your onion and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes and allow the onion to soften.
- Add the tomato sauce and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring the tomato mixture to boil and then add your chickpeas.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat; allow the chickpeas to simmer until the tomato sauce has thickened.
- Top with fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice or naan.
Your turn: Do you like Indian food? Do new spices scare you or intrigue you?