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Chana Masala and Naan

In my experience, I have found Indian cuisine to be the most wholesome in flavour, composition, and nutrition. There is something about the complex spice combinations that leaves you wanting more, even when your stomach is satisfied. And don’t get me started on naan – it adds so much more substance to any meal, as well as making it more enjoyable to eat.

I am sharing these recipes from the great blog Vegan Richa. I have made a few changes to her recipe – her original recipe can be found here. I won’t be reposting her recipe for Naan – you can go here to use the recipe. It is a no-yeast recipe, as you use aquafaba, or chickpea liquid,  as the leavener. This means you don’t have to let it rest for awhile, so it is a very quick recipe! You don’t have to bake the flatbread at all either, simply put them on an evenly heated stove-top pan. The changes I made to it are as follows.. I use One Degree Farm’s Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat flour instead of all purpose, and although it isn’t as pretty looking as the white flour, it is just as delicious, and much better for you! I use water instead of non dairy milk (I typically don’t have any on hand and store bought alt milk is usually awful), I use evaporated cane juice instead of plain sugar, olive oil instead of vegan butter, and fresh garlic vs garlic powder. I added pepper, chili flakes, some coriander, and onion powder. I mix olive oil, chopped garlic, dill, and cilantro as a spread on top of the naan.

Chana Masala is a classic Indian recipe, one that you have most likely tried or heard of if you have eaten Indian food before. ‘Chana’ means ‘chickpea’ and ‘masala’ means ‘spice”. The foundation of all Indian cooking is a good tasting masala. If your blend of spices does not taste good, game over. That being said, this is not as hard as you think it is. Masalas are passed down through tradition, and no grandmother is going to measure the amount of spices they put into their masala with teaspoons or tablespoons. It is all about feeling the flavour, and using some ratios. For example, in this recipe I use a 1:1 ratio of cumin seeds to ground coriander. I always get a little plate out and put piles of the spices I am using on it, so I have a good reference for the amounts I am using. You can use it as sort of a pi chart.

This recipe may look longer and more intimidating than my usual, but that is merely because I am including the masala mixture in the instructions. I believe it is imperative to limit use of pre-made spice mixtures, as it takes all of the magic out of cooking, and disconnects us from how our ancestors made their food all the more. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments, or through my email! Good luck.

Chana Masala

Serves 4, depending on appetite

Main Ingredients:

– 1 lb bag of dry chickpeas
(soaked overnight and left to sprout in a strainer in the morning)
–  2 bay leaves
– 1 large yellow onion
– 1 jar of peeled whole tomatoes
(I use the Jovial brand of italian sweet tomatoes)
– 1 1/2 inch grated ginger
– 1/2 inch grated turmeric root
– 5 medium or large cloves garlic
– juice of 1/2 large lemon or 1 small lemon
– 2 generous pinches of evaporated cane juice
–  whole cardamom seeds to stir in
(perhaps a tablespoon)

Masala:

1:1 ratio of cumin seeds and ground coriander
– 2:1 cumin seeds to fenugreek
– 1:1 fenugreek to cinnamon
– a little bit of fennel seed
(I usually don’t use much, I don’t like the flavour)
– red chili flakes as needed for heat
(can be replaced with cayenne)
-grated nutmeg as needed
-8 clove heads
– about a teaspoon peppercorns

Instructions prior to cooking:

Firstly, you will soak the chickpeas in a bowl of water overnight or during the day, and when you wake up or before you go to sleep, rinse with water, and leave in a strainer. Cover with a wet cloth or paper towel to retain moisture. Leave until you want to begin cooking. Rinse once more. Because they are soaked and sprouted now, the cooking time will be a lot less. To make the chickpeas soft, cook in a crockpot for 4-5 hours on high with the two bay leaves while doing chores. If you like slightly crunchy chickpeas, cook in a pot on the stove for an hour with the two bay leaves.

While the chickpeas cook, make your masala. This is a loose guide for making the mixture, as you will be able to tell if it will taste good, and match the flavour to your preferences as you temper the spices as well as after you grind them together. You can adjust it as needed. I recommend making a large amount of your spice blend, so then next time, you won’t have to make more. I usually use the same amount of cumin seeds to ground coriander. I use about half the amount of cumin seeds in fenugreek seeds. Approximately the same amount of cinnamon (or a bit more, up to you), and half the amount of cinnamon for nutmeg. I don’t like fennel seed that much as it is very licorice-y, so I put a minimal amount. I break the clove heads off and crush them with my fingers, then add them to the mix. Add peppercorns.

To temper, put all spices in a small pan over the stove, and cook over medium-low heat without a top. mix them around as they heat up. Keep a close eye so that they don’t burn. You want them to brown and smell fragrant, When fragrant smelling, Take off the stove, let cool for a second, and blend up in a spice grinder. Adjust to your taste.

Instructions:

Once your chickpeas are near to being done, put onions in a large pot and cook on medium-high with no liquid for a few minutes, when they start to stick, add a little olive oil, and stir in spices and cardamom seeds. While they simmer for a few minutes, put the garlic cloves, grated turmeric/ginger, lemon juice, tomatoes and a dash of olive oil in a blender. Blend until smooth and then add to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Strain chickpeas and transfer them to the pot. Save chickpea liquid in a jar as it will be used in making naan, and is good when substituted for water in the recipe as it has more flavour than plain water.

Stir in evaporated cane juice. Let simmer with lid on for 15 minutes, then let simmer for 15 more minutes with lid off. This is to thicken it. Add chickpea liquid back into pot and stir as needed. Take 3-4 full ladles of it and let cool for a few minutes in a bowl, then blend on high and make sure it is nice and smooth. Stir back into pot and bring to a bubble with lid off. Let bubble for 5-10 more minutes. Serve with naan and a bowl of olive oil/herbs/garlic. Additionally, you can have rice with it. I like kokuho rose rice with my chana masala, on top of naan, with lots of herbs. Very filling, very delicious.

Enjoy!

Chana Masala

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 4 people

Chana Masala

A sweet, spicy, savoury chickpea dish that is hearty, wholesome, and pleasing to the palate..

Ingredients

    Main Ingredients:
  • 1 lb bag of dry chickpeas (soaked overnight and left to sprout in a strainer in the morning)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 jar of peeled whole tomatoes (I use the Jovial brand of italian sweet tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 inch grated ginger
  • 1/2 inch grated turmeric root
  • 5 medium or large cloves garlic
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon or 1 small lemon
  • 2 generous pinches of evaporated cane juice
  • whole cardamom seeds to stir in (perhaps a tablespoon)
    Masala:
  • 1:1 ratio of cumin seeds and ground coriander
  • 2:1 cumin seeds to fenugreek
  • 1:1 fenugreek to cinnamon
  • a little bit of fennel seed (I usually don't use much, I don't like the flavour)
  • red chili flakes as needed for heat (can be replaced with cayenne)
  • grated nutmeg as needed
  • 8 clove heads
  • about a teaspoon peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Soak and sprout chickpeas, Cook with two bay leaves, 4-5 hours in crockpot to make soft, or 1 hour on stovetop to make slightly crunchy.
  2. Make the masala mixture, and brown it in a small pan on the stove, stirring often to make sure they do not burn. Once the spices are fragrant, grind in a spice grinder. Adjust as needed. Store remainder of spices in airtight jar.
  3. Add onion to pot and cook until nearly sticking. Add little bit of olive oil, spices, and cardamom seeds. While cooking, blend tomatoes, lemon, garlic, ginger, turmeric on high until smooth. Add, stir, and simmer for up to 5 minutes. Strain chickpeas, keep liquid, and add chickpeas into pot. Stir and add the Himalayan pink salt and evaporated cane juice. Cook for 15 minutes on med-high with top on. Add chickpea liquid as needed.
  4. While letting cook, begin to make naan - if you are able to start cooking the naan while the chickpeas are cooking, put finished pieces in ovenware, oven on low, and cover with foil, leaving a crack open to keep warm. Cook chickpeas for 15 minutes without top on, add liquid as needed. Take 3-4 ladles our of pot, let cool, and blend on high until smooth. Add back into pot and bring to a bubble. Let thicken to preference and serve with naan, a bowl of herbs/garlic/olive oil, and rice if desired.
https://freespiritpress.com/chana-masala-and-naan/

2017-03-01T16:48:55+00:00

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