Sunday, March 7, 2021

Heidi Swanson's "A Really Good Chana Masala Recipe" aka Chickpea Stew for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I wanted to use up some of my many cans of chickpeas in the pantry and was craving Indian curry so Heidi Swanson's A Really Good Chana Masala recipe caught my eye. I made a few changes based mostly on what I had on hand. 

Heidi has a lengthy explanation on Chana Masala on her post which I suggest reading if you aren't familiar with this chickpea dish with its very flavorful sauce. The recipe does ask for Chana Masala powder which is difficult to replicate at home as it has mango powder and pomegranate seeds. My Indian store has the same brand Heidi uses which can also be found on Amazon, here. If you can't get the spice blend, you will still have a tasty curry, it just won't be the same. I also used all of the sauce--instead of part of it and added extra chickpeas. My changes are noted in red below. 

A Really Good Chana Masala Recipe
Slightly Adapted from Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks
(Serves 4-6)

1 Tbsp olive or sunflower oil
2 medium onions, finely diced (I used these frozen glazed onion cubes)
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced (I used this)
4 cloves garlic, minced (I used this)
1 small Serrano Chile, stemmed, seeded, minced
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or more to taste
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp fine grain salt + more to taste
2 medium tomatoes, diced (I used 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes)
1 1/2 cups water (I used 2 cups non-chicken broth)
2 (14-oz) cans chickpeas, drained (I used 3 cans) 
1 generous Tbsp chana masala powder
fresh lemon or lime
lots of scallions & cilantro to serve

Make the Simmer Sauce:
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and saute for 5 minutes or so. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and serrano chile, and allow to cook for another minute or two, or until fragrant. Add the garam masala, turmeric powder, cayenne, coriander, cumin, and salt. Stir well, and then add the tomatoes and water. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until thick. Remove the sauce from heat, and reserve half for later use - it will keep refrigerated for 5 days or so, or freeze. (Note from Deb: I used all of my sauce and added an extra can of chickpeas and I wanted it soupier/stewier and to eat it for lunched this week.) 

Add the Chickpeas and Serve: 
Mash about half of the chickpeas with a big fork or potato masher. This is the magic trick. Combine the whole and smashed chickpeas with the simmer sauce, and the chana masala powder in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir well, and add a generous splashes of water to thin the chana masala out, to loosen it up a bit, until it is a porridge consistency. This is usually in the range of 1 - 1 1/4 cups. Stir in a generous squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and serve showered generously with lots of chopped scallions and cilantro. Enjoy!

Notes/Results: This is, as promised, a really good chana masala recipe. Don't let the long ingredient list fool you, if you have a well-stocked Indian spice drawer, this goes together really quickly, especially if you let Dorot Garden's frozen aromatics cubes do the work of chopping. My local Safeway started carrying their Sautéed Glazed Onions--game changer for the lazy cook. I love the spice--I made mine medium-fish and the acidity that made the flavors pop. It was perfect with basmati rice. I will happily make it again. 

Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is A Can of This..., dishes from our 21 featured chefs that use canned food in the recipe. 

Now let's check out the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here!

Crafty Gardener brought Pork Chop Soup this week, saying "I’m a soup lover and will create recipes out of left overs in the fridge. This time it was a pork chop and some veggies. ... Chunky and delicious. A great serving of veggies with some protein tossed in.

Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen shared this Black-Eyed Peas and Broccoli Soup and said, "It actually turned out to be a good bowl of soup. I especially liked the black eyed peas which I don't eat often, but when I do,I really enjoy them as they satisfyingly melt in the mouth that I can only describe like snow on your tongue with a light buttery sweetness. The broth is lightly spiced with  cayenne, paprika and cumin. The broccoli is optional if you want to give the soup some depth."

Thank you for joining me this week!
(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. I am a bit late adding my soup to the linky, so am cutting and pasting the link here - in hope that you will add.

    Also i like anything Chickpeas. So yum to the Channa Masala though it is completely different to how my mother would make it:)

    1. Hi Shaheen, I am so sorry that I didn't see your comment until after posting this week so I wasn't able to add it to this post but I added it to this week's linkup. If you have something else, go ahead & add it, you can have more than one entry. Thanks for joining in! Deb


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