Chana Masala and A Review


Every so often I get totally consumed, kind of obsessed, with a cookbook.  There is something about the food that just speaks to me and I want to totally cook everything in the book.  This summer that cookbook was Raghavan Iyer’s, 660 Curries.  I have loved everything I have tried from this book and that doesn’t happen very often. Usually, I try one or two, maybe three recipes from a cookbook then I get bored and moved on to the next one. There is enough variety in 660 Curries to keep me interested for a very long time.

The curries represent all regions of India.  I really like that the first chapter of the book gives you all the spice blends that are used in the book.  Many of the Indian cookbooks I looked through relied on store bought spice blends that I don’t have access to.  I was lucky to be able to find almost all the spices I needed at my favorite natural food store and a local Asian market.  A few things like fresh curry leaves, fresh fenugreek leaves and Nigella seeds weren’t available but there are more than enough recipes that don’t use these things to make the book worthwhile.

My biggest complaint is there is no Index of what spice blends go with what recipes.  So you can have several spice blends made but no idea what recipe to try them in next. I have just been making  a list of spice blends and what recipes use them as I find them when I am looking for a new recipe to try.  On the whole I would recommend this cookbook if you are looking to learn how to make Indian food.

I am a huge fan of chickpeas so I absolutely loved this recipe for Chana Masala.  I cooked my chickpeas in the pressure cooker but if you don’t have one feel free to use your favorite brand of canned chickpea.

Chana Masala

1 TBS canola oil

1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds

1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds

1 TBS ginger paste

1 1/2 tsp garlic paste

1 TBS tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

2 cups cooked chickpeas

2 TBS finely chopped fresh cilantro

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 1/2 cups water, divided

Heat the canola oil in a large sauce pan over medium – high heat.  Sprinkle in the whole cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle, turn reddish brown, and smell nutty, 5 to 10 seconds.  Immediately lower the heat to medium and carefully stir in the ginger and garlic pastes and stir -fry them until they turn light brown, about 2 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 cup water and the tomato paste, coriander, lime juice, cayenne pepper, tumeric, and ground cumin.  Simmer, partially covered, until the water evaporates from the reddish brown sauce, 5 to 10 minutes.  Pour in  1 more cup water, the chickpeas, 1 TBS cilantro, and the salt.  Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, 15 to 18 minutes.  Sprinkle the remaining cilantro and onion over the curry, and serve. 


8 thoughts on “Chana Masala and A Review

  1. Loved the post ! If you like Indian curries, you may want to try Rajma masala (kidney beans in onion and tomato curry), punjabi kadhi (yogurt and gram flour curry, uses very less spices), kadai paneer (cottage cheese chunks made in a wok in a tangy tomato and onion curry) ! 🙂


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