Chickpeas and other legumes are packed with fiber and plant-based protein and therefore deeply satisfying and healthy. In fact, their regular consumption is associated with enhanced health and longevity! The spices in this recipe are not just belly-warming and flavor-enhancing but also help the digestibility of the legumes, which can be challenging for some. This dish improves over time so make extras and freeze for a quick and delicious weeknight dinner.
Swap option: You can use red kidney beans or black-eyed peas if you don't like or don't have chickpeas on hand.
- 2 cups pre-cooked (canned or pressure-cooked) chickpeas
- 1/2 onion
- One 1/2-inch knob ginger
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil or ghee
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 large pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 cup puréed tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup baby spinach (or 1/2 cup frozen spinach)
- 1 teaspoon sumac, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Rinse and drain the cooked chickpeas well.
2. Grind the onion and ginger with a splash of water into a fine paste in a small food processor or blender (finely chopped onion and minced ginger works too).
3. In a large pot, heat the oil on medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle, about 30 seconds.
4. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and cayenne (if using) and sauté for 1 minute until the spices are fragrant. Add the tomatoes and sauté for about 3 minutes until everything is mixed well. Add the chickpeas, bay leaf, salt and pepper and 2½ cups of water.
5. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce it to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every few 5 minutes to prevent sticking. Add the spinach and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
6. Ladle the chana masala into bowls. Shower with a large pinch of sumac and fresh cilantro. Enjoy with plain rice, quinoa or as is.