Comforting and hearty, chana masala is made with chickpeas stewed in a harmonically spiced and aromatic tomato sauce. If tomatoes are out of season, opt for canned whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes as mentioned in the recipe. These widely available and inexpensive tomatoes are usually vine-ripened naturally and picked at their peak, then packaged immediately with little to no preservatives or added sugars. They also are sweeter in flavor, lower in acidity, and have less seeds to worry about infiltrating your delicious chana masala.
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1-6 green Thai chilies, to taste, minced (substitute: serrano pepper)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp ground cumin seed
- 1 tsp ground coriander seed
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 ½ tsp garam masala, divided
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can (14 oz) San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 cans (14 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped, plus more for garnish
Combine garlic, ginger, chilies, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a mortar and pestle or into the bowl of a food processor. Pound or process until a fine paste is produced. Set aside.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat, add the ghee, onions, and ground cumin seeds, stirring frequently. After about 5 minutes once the onions have softened and the cumin is toasted and fragrant, add 1 tbsp of water followed by the garlic, ginger, and chili paste. Stir to combine.
Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of garam masala, the coriander, turmeric, and black pepper. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cut them up with clean kitchen scissors or crush them with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher (be careful with crushing whole tomatoes as they can splatter). Add the chickpeas and ½ cup water.
Increase the heat to medium-high and once at a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover with the lid slightly ajar. For 30 minutes, stir occasionally until the liquid has reduced into a thick stew.
Remove from heat and stir in the remaining garam masala, lemon juice, and cilantro. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot with basmati rice and/or naan with a sprinkling of additional cilantro.
Can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.