Masquerading under the moniker of Chola Bhatura, the quintissential street food king of Punjabi cuisine is the humble Chana Masala which loosely translates to North Indian Spicy Chickpeas, well not really. It basically means Spicy Chickpeas, I just added the North Indian bit.
I have always loved this very fragrant, very spicy dish. It is responsible for my love affair with the mighty chickpea. My mum used to make this with a lot of love and care, slowly simmered over low to medium heat for almost 2 hours and it was absolutely gorgeous in its complexity and flavours. She always soaked the chickpeas overnight with a dash of bicarbonate of soda or baking powder. And I continued that tradition for a long time before I developed the ease of canned chickpeas. Shame on me! Because, I do believe that dry chickpeas that are soaked impart a more robust, more authentic flavour to this wonderful dish than the canned chickpeas swimming in some sticky liquid (which has to be completely rinsed off). So one of these days, I might take a clean break from my hectic schedule to go old school and cook the "chana" as my mum used to make.
In restaurants, the chickpeas are always served with hot, puffed, fried Indian bread called "Bhatura". It is one of those wickedly delicious, very sinful breads that are not the most convenient and easy to make. So, I make them maybe once a year when inspiration and motivation strikes. There is no real replacement for the "Bhatura". The "Puri" comes close and is relatively easier and faster to conjure in your deep fryer. But the amazingly versatile Chana Masala goes just as well with bread or rice. My favorite is laying a bread slice on a platter, topping it up with hot chana masala and garnishing with chopped onion, coriander and an extra dash of spices and sweet tamaring chutney.
The version of Chana Masala that I have for you today is the one I grew up with and love the most. It is very close to what is dished up in parts of northern India.
Preparation Time - 10-15 minutes to assemble ingredients | Cooking Time - A maximum of 2 hours | Serves - 4-6
This is my favourite recipe - I use it often and absolutely love it -
Thanks for sharing
Hi: The recipe photo looks exactly like the food we order from the New Asian Villiage, here in Edmonton, so I couldn't wait to try the recipe. I couldn't find asafoetida or mango powder but went ahead anyway. I was so tired of the grey looking Channa I had been making previously. Perhaps our red onions are bigger than in Austrailia?? My blender is an Oster 12 speed, and the paste came out fairly watery. I had to sautee much longer than suggested, and still didn't see a color change. So the Channa is more yellow than that nice dark brown. Any suggestions?
Hi Greg, Apologies for the delayed reply. The blender sauce will be watery but will cook down to a nice consistency on heat. The tamarind puree and tomato ketchup (see note) will help enrich the colour to that nice dark shade. One other trick traditionally used in India when soaking and pressure cooking dried chickpeas for this dish is to add black tea bags. They are later removed during cooking but they impart that lovely dark colour typical of chana masala. Hope that helps!
Delicious recipe! I made it a few weeks ago and was delighted by all of the many flavors of this dish. I admit, it took me some time to track down all of the ingredients, but it was well worth it. I served it over a bed of Jasmine rice. This is a definite keeper. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for that Mike! It is always nice to hear when a recipe works well for someone else too :-). Glad you enjoyed it as much as we do!
Love Indian cuisine. I had it for lunch a couple of days ago. Wanna hear something funny? I have all the ingredients except, the chickpeas! Go figure. But I do have asafoetida, garam masala...yep. Lovely blog. Glad we met...virtually (=
Oh my this looks delicious! I must try this. I've got an addiction to chick peas going and the mix of spices looks so tasty.
The Channa Masala looks yummy.