Customers often ask us for recommendations on how to use garam masala, a savory and sweet-spicy blend found in Indian cookery. The fragrant combination of cumin, coriander, bay leaves, cardamom, pepper, mace, cinnamon, cloves and nigella seeds is a versatile base for many curries and traditional dishes.
For this Chana Masala recipe, I borrowed from many different adaptations of Madhur Jaffrey's classic dish to create my own version, sticking most closely to one from Food.com. I upped the garam masala (of course!), added more tomatoes and let it cook for a bit longer, among other tweaks.
The resulting dish was a deliciously spicy, tangy and easy weeknight vegetarian meal. The sour flavor comes in part from the addition of amchoor powder, dried unripe green mango.
We served our Chana Masala topped with yogurt and paired it with basmati rice and naan. I set aside a portion for our toddler before adding the fresh chiles, which was a good idea because the end result would have been too hot for her otherwise.
I used a fresh serrano chile with seeds included. For a milder dish, consider deseeding the chile or omitting it entirely.
Heat oil in a large skillet.
Add onions and garlic and sauté over medium heat until browned (3-5 minutes). Turn heat to medium-low. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne and turmeric. Stir for a few seconds.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add chickpeas and a cup of water and stir. Add the amchoor, paprika, garam masala, salt and lemon juice. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
Stir the minced chili and ginger before serving. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and some fresh chopped cilantro if desired. Serve with basmati rice and/or naan.