Chana Masala

It's best to gauge the cooking time of this recipe for this yourself, as brands of canned chickpeas can vary widely in the UK. Some supermarket versions need a solid hour of cooking to become soft (and can take even longer if they are organic), whereas some imported brands just need 30 minutes. If in doubt, taste as you go along. You want the chickpeas to be so tender that they simply melt in your mouth. Serve it with flatbreads or white rice, a crisp chopped salad with plenty of tomatoes and cucumber, natural yogurt and savoury mango or lime pickle on the side.
Serves
4
Total Time
1 Hour 30 Minutes
Ingredients
3 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of coriander seeds
4 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
25g of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp of garam masala
¼ tsp of ground turmeric pinch of cayenne pepper, or chilli flakes
2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium tomato, skinned and chopped
1 tbsp of tomato purée
500ml of just-boiled water
1 tsp of cornflour
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil finely chopped coriander leaves, to serve (optional)
Salt & black pepper
Method
Step 1
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and fry for 15-20 minutes until completely soft and golden brown, stirring regularly. (This stage is crucial in creating the base flavour of this dish, so don’t rush it!)
Step 2
Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a minute or so, until their aromas are released. Grind in a mortar and pestle, then add them to the onion with the garlic, ginger and ground spices. Fry for a few minutes.
Step 3
Add the chickpeas, tomato, tomato purée, measured hot water,1.5 teaspoons of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 45-60 minutes, or until the chickpeas are completely soft and plump. Check on it halfway through cooking and add another cup of hot water if the chickpeas look a bit dry.
Step 4
Taste to adjust the seasoning, then stir through the cornflour. Cook for a few final minutes for the sauce to thicken, then take off the heat and finish with the extra virgin olive oil.

Ripe Figs by Yasmin Khan (Bloomsbury Publishing, £17.36) is out now. Photography by Kris Kirkham.

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