I would have included photos of the prep steps if we were waiting to post this later this summer, but a friend needed this recipe ASAP! Hence, I’ve included modifications to make this dish work even during the cold winter months – just bring your best canned tomatoes forward, or be prepared to boost with brown sugar and lemon. Chana Masala is a classic Indian dish combining spices, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, onions and chick peas. It’s high in protein and perfectly suited as a main course entree with rice or bread (I especially love it with spinach whole wheat pooris – but that’s a story for another day – or another post!). I make my chana masala with my own canned tomatoes from the farm – but I’ve included some modifications in this recipe to replace the sweet and sour taste of truly ripe tomatoes. Omit the lemon juice and brown sugar if you can source fully ripe tomatoes at their peak!
- 3 TBSP cooking oil
- 2 TBSP cumin seeds OR 1 TBSP ground cumin
- 2 TBSP ground coriander
- 5 TBSP ginger garlic paste OR 2″ section of minced ginger and 4 LARGE cloves garlic. See our post for Thai curry HERE on making your own ginger garlic paste.
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 lbs of ripe heirloom tomatoes, diced – (or 32 oz of top quality diced canned tomatoes + lemon and sugar, see below)
- 3 cans drained and rinsed whole chickpeas
- 1 TBSP Lemon juice (optional dependent upon tomatoes)
- 1 TBSP brown sugar (optional dependent upon tomatoes)
- 1/2 – 3/4 TSP Garam Masala (or 1/4 tsp cinnamon + 1/8 tsp ground cloves + 1/8 tsp ground cardamon + 1/4 tsp black pepper + 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg)
Heat oil over medium heat in stovetop friendly pan and add cumin seeds and coriander powder until fragrant. Immediately add ginger and garlic (or combined paste) so that spices don’t brown. Stir ginger-garlic-spice mixture constantly for 1 minute to allow flavors to soften. Add diced onions, turn to medium low and cover with tight fitting lid. Saute over medium low for ~20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until onions are all evenly translucent and slightly browned. Scrape onion/spice mixture into instant pot container, and add drained chickpeas, tomatoes, optional lemon juice and brown sugar, plus 1 tsp salt. Process with Instant Pot setting on Stew/Soup for 40 minutes. Release pressure, add Garam Masala mixture and stir to combine. Serve over basmati rice, or with pooris or batura bread.