Channa masala

IMG_04788-02Everything about this dish is quite enticing, polished pearls of well cooked chick peas in velvety smooth rich gravy is quite pleasing to the sight. When it combines with the whiff of aroma and the delicious texture, its’ possibilities are a lot. It’s nice to know how to prepare channa masala since it’s an amazing combination with baturas and other Indian breads and steamed rice as well. The advantage of preparing it in own kitchen and the instant satisfaction is priceless. 

Another reason to rave about this dish is; it contains a lot of nutrients and the spices that we add in the dish are also healthy.  It is one of those dishes that gained popularity across borders and managed to secure its spot in almost all grocery stores and supermarkets alike. 

There were times I used to buy packets of ready to eat channa masala from the stores as I was still in the infancy stage of learning the techniques to achieve the so called rich texture and the alluring flavor. It seems quite perplexing for a beginner. But it didn’t take much time to realize the knicks and knacks of it.  There is no complicated or elaborate trick or techniques as such. Just an out of the box approach is the ruse. To me, street vendors are the best inspiration on this one 🙂  They don’t have anything elaborate in their approach. Their utmost focus is to achieve the right texture and taste with in their low budget. They’re sort of pros… 

And this is my take on channa masala. Bend the rules and use the easily available ingredients. The thumb rule for channa masala is all about softened well cooked channas and balancing the spices with apt consistency and overall savory texture. Well, for some reason, if you’re still hesitant to prepare the dish from scratch, no worries, ready to eat packets would be the savior. It tastes equally good. But with less quantity 😦

Here’ how I prepared it.

IMG_0478-03

Ingredients
2 cups of chick peas, rinsed
1 yellow onion, diced
1 potato, peeled & washed
½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp olive oil

First, cook the chick peas along with salt and turmeric powder in a pressure cooker. After first two whistles, turn the heat off and let it cool down. Once the pressure cooker is half way through its cooling process, try to open it safely. Add the rest of the ingredients and close the cooker. After the first whistle, turn the heat to medium. Let it cook through and wait for the next whistle and two more following that. Turn the heat off. Let it cool completely. This allows the chick peas to cook thoroughly.

During this time, prepare the ingredients for the final step.  You’ll need;

3 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced

Masala mix:
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp tsp red chili powder

½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp amchoor powder or lime juice or 2 tbsp yogurt

½ cup tomato sauce
Salt to taste
1 tbsp, canola oil

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add the masala mix, ginger and garlic, sauté for few seconds, until everything mixed well. Add the tomato sauce and stir to blend the masala and the sauce well. Add the cooked chick peas to the masala and stir to blend well again. Add salt to taste. Turn the heat off and let it sit for a while on the stove. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

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