1 tsp garam masala* (see instructions for DIY blend)
2-3 tsp coconut sugar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice, plus more to taste
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion, cumin, and 1/4 tsp salt.
Add garlic, ginger, cilantro, and green chilies to a mortar and pestle and grind into a rough paste (or use a small food processor to pulse into a paste. Alternatively, just finely mince.) Then, add to the pan with the onions.
Next add ground coriander, chili powder, and turmeric and stir to coat. Add a little more oil at this point if the pan is looking dry.
Next add pureed tomatoes and chickpeas and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. If the mixture looks a little too thick, add up to 1 cup (240 ml) water (I added ~1/2 cup (120 ml)). You’re looking for a semi-thick soup consistency at this point, as it will cook down into more of a stew.
Increase heat to medium high until it reaches a rolling simmer, then reduce heat to low or medium-low and maintain a simmer (uncovered) for 15-20 minutes, or until thick and stew-like. Stir occasionally.
In the meantime, if you don’t have garam masala seasoning, make your own by adding 2 small dried red chilies, 1 tsp black peppercorns (or 1/2 tsp ground black pepper), 1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1/2 tsp ground cumin), 1 tsp cardamom pods (or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom), 1/2 tsp cloves (or 1/4 tsp ground cloves), and 1/8 tsp nutmeg to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind/mix into a powder. Set aside.
When the chana masala is thickened and bubbly, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt for saltiness, chili powder for heat, or a bit of coconut sugar for sweetness and to offset the heat of the chilies.
Remove from heat and add lemon juice and garam masala. Stir to mix, then let cool slightly before serving. Fresh cilantro and lemon juice make an excellent garnish. Chana masala can be enjoyed as a stew on its own, or it can be delicious with white or brown rice (see my favorite method here), or cauliflower rice. Lastly, my favorite is over roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli (see notes for instructions).
Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month.
*To roast sweet potatoes and broccoli, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C), and chop broccoli into chunks and sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds. Add to a bare or foil-lined baking sheet and top with 1 Tbsp grape seed oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Toss to combine, making sure sweet potatoes are evenly coated with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes total, flipping/tossing near the halfway point to ensure even baking. Broccoli may cook faster than the sweet potatoes.
*Recipe adapted from The Guardian.
*DIY Garam Masala adapted from The Kitchn.
Serving size: 1/6th of recipe (without toppings or sides) Calories: 275 Fat: 8.5 g Saturated fat: 0.6 gCarbohydrates: 41.1 g Sugar: 14.8 g Sodium: 496 mg Fiber: 5.3 g Protein: 9 g