Authentic Chana Masala


(Adapted from Raghavan Iyer's recipe in 660 Curries)

Serves 4

2 tablespoons ghee (or canola oil)
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
1 tablespoon mango powder or fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper)
½ teaspoon turmeric
4 cups cooked chickpeas
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon regular table salt)
½ cup finely chopped red onion

1. Heat the ghee, or oil, in a large pan over medium-high heat. Put the whole cumin seeds in the pan and cook, stirring, until they sizzle and turn reddish-brown, about 10 seconds.

2. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

3. Stir in 1 cup of water and the tomato paste and all of the spices. Partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. The water will evaporate and you will have a thick sauce.

4. Add 2 more cups of water, the chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, and the salt. Cook, uncovered, for 15 – 18 minutes until the water evaporates and the curry thickens.

5. Serve with rice or naan. Sprinkle each serving with some of the remaining cilantro and some of the red onions.