Mmmm, channa masala. It’s one of my son’s favorite dishes. Actually it’s a family favorite. It’s one of the things we served at his graduation open house a couple of years ago.
When I make it I usually use canned chickpeas, which sometimes causes a twinge because one of the reasons I bought a pressure cooker was to make beans. However, my attempts at legumes in the pressure cooker have been hit or miss, so I don’t have a lot of confidence.
I have a new friend at work from India and she’s been encouraging me and telling me how easy it is to make the chickpeas under pressure.
When I woke up this morning I suddenly decided that today was the day! I remembered to starting soaking the beans before I left for work. Remembering to make the time to soak is a MAJOR stumbling block for me. When I got home I changed the water, brought them up to pressure for 15 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes and then quick released the rest of the pressure. They were done! It was amazing. So much better than from the can. Much creamier.
I don’t have a favorite channa masala recipe plus I’m running behind on my CSA produce consumption. I wanted to stick to the basics but I also decided to wing it. So here goes:
1 lb. dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked or 3 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. ghee or oil
3 cloves garlic pureed with about a a tablespoon of water*
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 red onion, diced
1-3 small jalapeno peppers, sliced (depending on how spicy you like it)
3-4 cups sliced cabbage (green or Savoy)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne (if you’re not sure about this, start with 1/2 tsp. You can always add more)
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbsp. mango powder** (amchoor) or lime juice
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
*I used my spice grinder or you could use a mortar and pestle. It doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth.
**Amchoor powder is available in Indian grocery stores. It adds tartness to a dish.
Heat the ghee in a large nonstick frying pan. Add the whole cumin seeds and fry over medium-high heat until they are fragrant, about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn them. Add the garlic puree, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds.
Stir in the onion, peppers and cabbage and walk away for a couple of minutes to let it brown. Then I like to turn down the heat to medium, cover the pan and let everything cook down for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the vegetagbles to develop some nice browning.
Throw in the ground cumin, cayenne, turmeric, mango powder and cherry tomatoes along with 1 cup of water. Cook over medium-high heat until most of the water evaporates, leaving a pastelike sauce.
Add the chickpeas with 2 cups of water and stir everything to gether. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Salt to taste.
Serve with some naan and yogurt on the side. Can be served as a main dish or as part of a larger meal.