Chana masala, chickpea curry, is probably the best place to start if you’ve never cooked Gujarati, or even Indian food before. It’s simple to make yet so authentic, and doesn’t require lots of obscure ingredients.
For me it’s a staple, something I ate at least once a week growing up and something we eat nearly as often now. Sometimes potatoes are added but more often than not it is simply chana and rotli (chapati) sometimes with some mango pickle or yogurt.
Dried chickpeas are better but really I think you can’t go wrong with tinned. If you have the time, soak and cook dried chickpeas overnight and then start my recipe from where you’d add a tin of chickpeas. The key thing is to allow the chickpeas to simmer slowly with the lid on, making sure they absorb all the lovely flavours from the spices. The other trick is to add your garam masala at the end, this keeps the spices bold and bright, this is true for most Gujarati curries. too.
Usually I make my chickpeas first and whilst it bubbles away I make rotli. Chana masala also works really well with Cauliflower Rice, find my recipe here.
Need a garam masala recipe? Recipe here.
- half a white onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2cm piece of ginger grated or finely chopped
- 1/4 green chilli, diced
- 200g of dried soaked chickpeas or one 400g tin of chickpeas
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 chilli powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 bay leaf – optional
- 200g chopped tomatoes
- 1 scant tsp garam masala
In a large saucepan fry the onion in the oil for a few minutes until soft and translucent, add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add in the chopped chilli and ginger then the chickpeas.
Add in all the spices, except the garam masala, and salt. Fry off the spices for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Add the tomatoes and water.
Bring to the boil and then turn the heat right down and simmer with the lid on for at least 20 minutes on a low heat.
The sauce should be thick and just about coat the chickpeas. Taste, season and then add the garam masala.
Serve with hot fluffy chapatis or rice and your favourite Indian pickle.