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.
Serves 4, depending on appetite
– 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)
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.
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.