One of the quickest and easiest dishes to cook up is this chickpeas dish, called 'Channa Masala' or 'Chholle' in India. It is a simple, quick and easy chickpeas stew, that I love to throw together when I have little time to spare or when I am too tired to make anything elaborate. My husband, Pramod makes it well, too. In fact, the stew shown below is his creation. It is a staple food of North India, and has become very popular throughout the country.
If you don't want to deal with all the spices, you can buy ready-mixed spices like Shaan channa masala powder, and and use it instead of all the spice powders. (If you use Shaan you won't need to add any ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, amchur powder, garam masala powder or salt - it's already in the powder.) This convenient powder, and several other brands are available in any Indian/Pakistani grocery store. But like any packaged product, they contain preservatives, so I prefer to make it from scratch whenever I can.
This chickpea stew is doubtlessly on the menu of every Indian restaurant you can think of and is sometimes served at kabob houses as well. It is a really versatile dish and can be eaten with Chapattis, pooris, rotis, naans - or try it with bread, on pasta or rice. It is a great hit at parties, and is a truly healthy, vegan option and a must try!
Yields about 6 servings
1 large onion (peeled and diced)
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
1 tablespoon coriander powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 chopped tomato (optional)
2-3 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
11/2 cup water
5 cups chickpeas -soaked and cooked, or 2 cans chickpeas, well rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds
1 tbsp garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 of a lemon - juiced
2-3 thai chillis, cayenne or jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
A handful of chopped fresh green cilantro
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add onions and ginger-garlic paste, and sauté over high heat until golden.
Turn down the heat to medium and add the cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric powder. At this point if you are using tomatoes, add the tomatoes and cook until the oil separates from the tomatoes. Add the chickpeas and 1 1/2 cups of water and mix. Now add the roasted cumin, garam masala and salt. Cover and cook for 5 mins. Next, add the chopped green chillis and Stir. Cook covered for another 5 mins or until done. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or dried cilantro flakes.
This dish is delicious served with chapattis, rotis, naans or crusty bread. Try it on a bed of cooked white or brown basmati rice (or any long grain variety). Omit the cilantro if you aren't fond of it. The best thing about this vegan dish is that it can be made as hot or as mild as you like. You can completely leave out the green chillis and substitute chilli powder with paprika for a much milder version.