10. Chana Masala
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds (scale back a little if you’re not crazy about cumin)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon pressed or minced fresh garlic (about 5 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger (about a 1-inch piece)
- 1 green Serrano pepper, minced (seed it first if you want to tame the spice level)
- 1½ teaspoons garam masala (or tikka masala)
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
- 2 cans (14 ounces each) chickpeas (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup uncooked brown basmati rice, for serving (rice is optional, I like to cook extra rice to have on
- hand for other meals)
- Lemon wedges, for garnishing
- Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnishing (optional)
Cook the rice (if you want to serve the chana masala on rice): Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Pour in the rice and give it a stir. Boil the rice for 30 minutes, then turn off the heat and drain the rice. Return the rice to the pot and cover the pot. Let the rice steam for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork and season with sea salt to taste.
Cook the chana masala: In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles upon hitting the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cumin seeds. Toast the seeds for a minute or two, stirring frequently, until the seeds are golden and fragrant. Watch carefully to avoid burning the seeds. Raise the heat to medium and stir in the onion, garlic, ginger and serrano. Cook for about five minutes, stirring often. Stir in the garam masala (or tikka masala), coriander, turmeric, salt and cayenne (if using), and cook for two more minutes.
Add the whole peeled tomatoes and their juices. Use the back of a wooden spoon to break the tomatoes apart. You can leave some chunks of tomato for texture. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chickpeas. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or longer to allow the flavors to develop.
Serve over basmati rice, if desired, and garnish with a lemon wedge or two and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.