A wonderful, authentic tasting chana masala. this no-soak recipe is one of my favourite indian recipes to cook. This recipe will require a pressure cooker.
The first thing I will tell you about this dish is that it has the most amazing aroma! It is so fragrant, if you shut your eyes you will think you are in India!
It does require a pressure cooker and I use an electric version only but you could use an on the hob pressure cooker too!
If you are going to be making a lot of indian food then a pressure cooker is a great tool to have and I would say that it is almost essential. A lot of Indian food uses legumes which traditionally require soaking overnight. With a pressure cooker there is no need to soak the legumes before cooking, so it really does mean you have a lot more options open to you when you come home from work and have forgotten to soak the beans! If you don’t have a pressure cooker, then you can cook this dish on the hob but you will need to cook it on a very low heat and for a lot longer than stated in this recipe.
I also need to give you some tips on buying chickpeas. Try and buy them from the most popular shop you can! You want those chickpeas to be fresh and to not have sat around in the bin for an age. Old chickpeas, that have been sitting too long, will not cook! They will cause you so much heartache by their refusal to go soft and no amount of coaxing will make them cook. You can turn up the heat, cook them for longer, sing to them, they will not cook!
So, heed my advice and buy your chickpeas from a shop that you are pretty sure turns over a fair amount of them. This will mean that you are more likely to get fresher chickpeas and they are more likely to cook!
I buy all of my chickpeas from Sandringham in Auckland. There are a lot of Indian stores and I know that the produce has a high turn over and is fresh.
The next thing, regarding this dish, is that you want to buy small chickpeas called ‘Desi Chana’. These are not the normal sized chickpeas that you get in tinned chickpeas. I’m not saying the normal ones won’t make a lovely dish, I’m just saying that the small ones will create a superior and more traditional dish. If you go to any Indian Supermarket and ask for ‘Desi Chana’ they should have them.
I also make my own chana masala powder, I did this out of necessity really as I could not find a chana masala in normal supermarkets, and this was before I discovered the Indian owned stores that I frequent now. I will put the recipe below in a link so that if you want to make it yourself then you can do so. It will make more than you need so just store it in an air tight container as you do with your other spices!
I hope you love this dish. It is best served with a naan, pita fries or plain rice.
If you have spare chana masala then you can turn them into chana masala bites, they freeze perfectly!
- 1¼ cups uncooked chana chickpeas
- 3 Tbsp uncooked lentils
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp olive oil spread (you can use margarine or butter instead)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp ginger, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¾ cup tomatoes which have been blitzed in a food processor
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- ¾ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ¾ tsp mango powder
- salt, for seasoning
- 2 tsp chana masala powder (See my recipe if you can't find store bought)
- 1 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped for garnish (optional)
- plain yoghurt for serving (optional if wanting a non vegan option)
- In a pressure cooker add chickpeas, lentils, 450ml water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook on a high heat for 20 minutes.
- In a pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook on a low heat until the onion is translucent and soft (about 10 minutes).
- Once the onion is soft add the blitzed tomatoes and cook down, on a medium heat, until a thick sauce forms.
- Add the following ingredients to ¼ cup of cold water: chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, mango powder, chana masala, stir well.
- Add the water and spice mixture to the thick tomato sauce. Add in another ¼ cup of water and mix well turning off the heat.
- When the chickpeas have finished cooking add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of ice to the chickpeas and stir. (The frozen ice breaks down the internal chickpea structure and allows it to cook faster).
- Re-set the pressure cooker and cook the chickpeas for a further 25 minutes on a high heat.
- When the chickpeas have finished cooking for a second time they should be easily crushed between your fingers, but not mushy.
- Add the masala sauce to the chickpeas, stir and then cook in the pressure cooker for a further 7 minutes on a high heat.
- Serve hot with rice or naan or my pita fries and with chopped coriander sprinkled on top. Add natural yoghurt for a non-vegan option.