Growing up, this was on the table more often than not, nicely positioned next to some roti and/or rice. I love chickpeas more than anything, not just because they're a great source of plant-based protein, but also because they're a) very cute, and b) a fabulous pantry staple. I choose to cook Indian food in a way that is a little lighter than the original, and I lean towards creating tomato-based masala dishes rather than cream-based. My version of chana masala takes only 20 minutes to make and it's the easiest lunch or dinner for yourself or to serve to those you love.
Swap option: Two fresh tomatoes instead of canned and crushed. Lemon juice or tamarind instead of dry mango powder. Omit curry leaves if you don't have them or can't find!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 curry leaves
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1 cup canned, crushed tomatoes or 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2 green chiles, split
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas
- 1/2 to 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon mango powder, tamarind or lemon juice, for serving
Heat olive oil in the pan. Add curry leaves (omit if you don't have). When olive oil shimmers, add onions. Cook the onions until they become brown and translucent. Then, add the canned, crushed tomatoes. Let the onions and tomatoes cook together for a few minutes until reduced slightly and turns a darker red color. Add the masala spices and salt. Cook with the tomatoes and onions for about 5 minutes, until the spices infuse, and the tomatoes turn a deep red color. Add the green chiles and fresh cilantro. Add the chickpeas and some water to make it saucy and cook with the water for 10-15 minutes. Finally, add your mango powder, tamarind or squeeze of lemon. Season to taste with salt.