Chana Masala and Coconut Curry Chana Masala

I love Chana Masala, and I have John Schneider from Gold Forest Grains to blame. Back when I was pregnant, John introduced me to Remedy‘s Chana Masala wraps, and my life has never been the same since. Seriously. In the last month of pregnancy, I got to the point where all I wanted to eat were these wraps. The subtle spicy and creaminess from the Chana Masala, the crunchy chewiness from the wrap, and the sweet tang from the tamarind sauce gave me foodgasms and left me longing for more the minute it was gone.

This is why I was thrilled when John posted a recipe for Chana Masala on his blog! I’ve only ever found really convoluted and confusing Chana Masala recipes with ridiculously long lists of ingredients online in previous web perusals, making me feel like it was just not worth it, since Remedy made such a good version. Well, I tried John’s and my God, it was just as good as remedy’s (and I don’t say this lightly. See previous paragraph). The thing I missed, though, was that sweet tang from the tamarind sauce, which I was then able to emulate really well with some brown sugar.

Once I made John’s recipe, I decided to try and modify it some more, to make it even more tasty and delicious (as my loving husband would say.) I used coconut milk instead of water. Oh boy. It added another level of depth that just blew John’s out of the water (sorry, buddy!). Unfortunately, I only took photos of the first recipe attempt, so you’ll have to put up with my explanations of the coconut version. Apologies!

DSC_0099Here is the mandatory ingredient shot. For the coconut version, add a can of coconut milk.

DSC_0101First things first, press the garlic and finely chop the veggies, then cook them down until soft with a little oil (this is the same for both variations.)

DSC_0100Next, create your Masala spice mix. Mix curry powder, cumin, tumeric, cayenne and salt in a little bowl and add some oil.

DSC_0102Add the masala spice mix to your pan with the veggies and cook all together. Your house will start to smell amazing.

DSC_0103Next, add the chickpeas (I used a can of no salt added chickpeas) and water (or coconut milk!) and simmer until chickpeas are tender. This took a really long time (about 40ish mins). If you’re using dried, soaked chickpeas like John did, this step wouldn’t take as long. At this point, add a little brown sugar to emulate the sweet tang from the tamarind sauce. I also threw in a few handfuls of spinach at this point to boost the nutritional value and add another delicious texture.

DSC_0104Here it is, all ready to be devoured! Now, if you can handle spice, go ahead, dig in. But if you’re anything like me and love the idea of consuming copious amounts of spicy foods without having a problem, but in reality, it turns you into a teary mess with a burnt tongue and a hot face, you can add some more ingredients to help you out.

DSC_0106I added plain yogurt to the final product and served it on a pita. It definitely toned down the spice and made it easier for the spice-wimp in me to handle.

Chana Masala and Coconut Curry Chana Masala (Chana Masala recipe courtesy of Gold Forest Grains, Coconut Curry Chana Masala modified from original by yours truly)

You will need:
1 medium onion
4 medium cloves of garlic
2 medium sweet bell peppers
3 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
1 can of no salt added chickpeas
1-2 cups water (or one can of coconut milk)
A handful or two of baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp brown sugar

Optional: To tone down the spice, add some plain yogurt and serve on a pita.

Dice your veggies and press your garlic. Add to a large frying pan and cook until soft with a little bit of oil. Next, create your Masala spice mix by curry powder, cumin, tumeric, cayenne and salt in a little bowl and add some oil. Rinse your chickpeas, then add them to the pan. Cover with water (or add your can of coconut milk), then cook, covered, on medium until chickpeas are tender (about 40 mins). You may have to add more water as the liquid tends to boil off with the length of time it takes for the chickpeas to cook. Once cooked, add the spinach and wilt. Add the brown sugar and stir until evenly melted. To tone down the spice, add some plain yogurt and serve on a pita. Enjoy, a lot!

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