Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yes Chef: Chana Masala Supreme!

Chana Masala is a traditional Indian dish that I’m sure most people are familiar with. This is a staple buffet item at practically every Indian restaurant. It is delish and a big favourite of mine! Chana masala is garbanzo beans or chickpeas in a rich tomato-based gravy with spices. You can adjust the spices to make it as hot as you wish. I like mine with a medium heat, just enough to taste everything with a little kick.

There are countless of recipes for chana masala available on the web, and quite a few of them do call for tea as an ingredient. I do include tea in my own recipe as I find it adds a more meaty flavour and richer colour to the garbanzo beans.

With the exception of baking, I don’t really bother with exact measurements in my cookery. I use a bit of this and a bit of that, observe, and taste until I think it’s just right! I added just a little more of each spice than the amounts I listed for this dish. Anything less than these amounts may be too bland, so do some tasting and adjust as you require. 

  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 3-5 tomatoes
  • 5 Tsp. of black (red) tea 
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1-2 medium onions
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans

The goods!

  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tsp. paprika
  • ½ Tsp. coriander seeds grinded
  • ½ Tsp. cumin seeds grinded
  • ½ Tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tsp. garam masala
  • ½ Tsp. ginger powder
  • ½ Tsp. chili pepper flakes

The kick!

  • Chop or purée in a blender, the tomatoes, pepper, garlic, and onions. 
  • Prepare the tea according to directions. I used 5 teaspoons of Assam steeped in 5 cups of water.
  • On medium, heat the chopped or puréed ingredients to ensure everything combines. You may need to start adding the steeped Assam tea as moisture starts to reduce. Go for it! 

Tomato base.

  • Add the garbanzo beans and spices. 

Add the beans.

  • Slowly continue to add in the tea liquor until you get the consistency you want. 5 cups gave me a good consistency with enough gravy.
  • Heat on low for another 10 minutes until the garbanzo beans become tender and then set aside. It’s done!

Enjoy with rice, roti, or naan, some plain yogurt, and a side salad.

Final product.


Cooking Tips:
  • Place onions in the refrigerator for about an hour to prevent tears. Sadly, this happens to me quite often!
  • Use tea bags instead. Red Rose, Tetley, Salada…any black tea bag will do. Saves time and bags are just easier for cooking with.
  • Yes, you may use dry garbanzo beans. Just soak them in water until they’re tender and hydrated.

  • Instead of garbanzo beans, use kidney beans, chicken pieces, or even potatoes and green peas.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over the beans for a tangy twist!

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