Chickpea Curry | Chana Masala (South Indian • Vegan • Gluten free)

Chickpea Curry

This flavorful curry with a perfect balance of spices and creamy coconut is a South Indian version of the very popular Chole Masala from North India.

Do you guys have a childhood food that still remains so fresh in your mind? You might not be able to give any details about it, but the moment you taste that heavenly goodness again, you shout out from the bottom of your heart, “This is it! This is it!!”

Chana Masala is one such dish for my husband, Cliff. All he remembered was this amazing curry he had as a kid at some random shop by the beach. So, every time I cooked chana masala, I went for a different recipe, hoping to rekindle that distant faded memory, with no success.

Then came a day, when I made chana masala in a hurry for breakfast. You know how morning times are in a family with 2 kids, right? My toddler was bear-hugging my leg, screaming at the top of his voice, while my 5 year old was getting ready for school. Cliff was starting to have his breakfast and suddenly shouted, “OMG Nancy.. This is exactly what I tasted.. Wow!”

Thank God I noted down the recipe, in spite of all that was going on that morning. Since then, this is the chana masala recipe that we always make at our home.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Soaking chickpeas overnight, draining, rinsing and cooking are essential to reduce phytic acid-which tends to demineralize our body.
  • The Kabuli Chana (chickpeas) used to make Chole Masala was introduced into India from the Mediterranean very recently (around 18th century).


Cuisine: South Indian

Essential Spices:
Hot Curry:  Fennel, Garam Masala Powder, Chilli Powder , Coriander Powder
Mild Curry: Fennel, Garam Masala Powder, Coriander Powder
Serves: 4

Full Recipe for Best Flavor (see Quick Version below)

Ingredients Quantity
Chickpeas 1 cup
Water 21/2 cups
Salt 1/2 tsp
 Coconut (grated)  1/2 cup
 Warm Water  1/3 cup
 SPICES (TO GRIND)
 Fennel Seeds  1/2 tsp
 Whole Garam Masala
Cinnamon
Cloves
Nutmeg
1 inch
3
3 pinches
 Red Chilli Powder  1 tsp
 Coriander Powder  1 tsp
 Black Pepper  1/4 tsp
 Salt  1/2 tsp
 SEASONING
 Coconut Oil  2 tbsp
 Mustard Seeds  1/2 tsp
 Fresh Ginger (Grated)  1 tsp
 Green Chilli (slit)  1
Onion (Chopped) 1/3 cup

Instructions

  1. Rinse and Soak the Chickpeas in water overnight.
  2. Drain soaked chickpeas and cook with water and salt
    • In Indian Pressure Cooker
      • Switch off after 2 whistles.
      • DO NOT open the cooker unti pressure subsides (takes around 15 mins).
    • In Slow Cooker
      • Cook on high for 2-3 hours till soft.
  3. Grind coconut and water to make coconut paste.
  4.  Heat a small pan on med-low heat. Once hot, add fennel, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg and keep stirring for 1-2 mins. (CAUTION:Don’t burn the spices, keep them moving).
  5. Grind the roasted spices along with the remaining spices mentioned in the list.
  6. Heat a widemouthed saucepan on med-high heat. Once hot, add oil, mustard, ginger, green chilli and onion.
  7. When the onions turn translucent, add the ground spices and stir on low flame for 5 seconds (Again, Don’t burn the spices!!)
  8. Add the Coconut paste and cook on low flame for 5 mins, until almost all the water has evaporated.
  9. Now add the cooked chickpeas, 1 cup water and more salt if needed. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes to let all the flavors blend.
  10. Serve with Rice, Chapathi or Puri.

Quick Version

Ingredients Quantity
 Coconut Oil  2 tbsp
 Mustard Seeds  1/2 tsp
 Fresh Ginger (Grated)  1 tsp
 Green Chilli (Slit)  1
 Onion (Chopped)  1/3 cup
 Fennel Powder  1/2 tsp
 Garam Masala Powder  1 tsp
 Chilli Powder  1 tsp
 Coriander Powder  1 tsp
 Salt  1/2 tsp
 Black Pepper  1/4 tsp
 Coconut Milk  1/2 cup
 Chickpeas  2 cans (14-16 oz)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet on med-high heat. Once hot, add oil, mustard, ginger, green chilli and onion.
  2. When the onions turn translucent, add the other spices and stir on low flame for 5 seconds (Don’t burn the spices!!)
  3. Add the coconut milk and cook on low flame for 5 mins until reduced.
  4. Add the chickpeas, 1/2 cup water and more salt if needed. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes to let all the flavors blend.
  5. Serve with Rice, Chapathi or Puri.
References

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