Several years ago, I decided that we should try to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our lifestyle. I had heard the concept “Meatless Monday” and thought it would be a fun way to remember to plan for at least one vegetarian meal during the week (immediately followed by “Taco Tuesday” – yum).
As I surfed the internet trying to come up with some vegetarian meal ideas that sounded tasty, and more importantly, that my family would eat, I stumbled upon Chana Masala aka Chickpea Curry. This gained my attention because I love Indian cuisine. Everything is so aromatic and flavorful, and their use of spices makes you feel warm inside.
The Chopping Block has planned a Virtual Vacation: A Trip to India class for this Friday, December 11 at 7pm CST. You can choose your level of instruction, so be sure to check that out. After looking through a few chickpea curry recipes, I noticed that most used ingredients very similar to how I make chicken curry. So I just planned to mimic my chicken curry sauce using chickpeas instead of chicken. And it was good. The kind of good that makes you want to lick your spoon completely clean. My family happily ate it. Even my toddler was picking out the little chickpeas and “mmm”-ing the whole time – a total win!
I’ll admit that I was hesitant about using chickpeas. I had eaten them in the past, and didn’t care for them much. But, Owner/Chef Shelley Young has said, “Usually it isn’t the food or vegetable that you don’t like, it’s the preparation.” So keeping that in mind, I decided to give it a chance. I am so glad that I did, because this is one of my favorite vegetarian (this recipe is technically vegan) meals. The chickpeas soften up just enough and they absorb all of the flavor from the spices, the sweetness from the coconut, and the pop of cilantro brightens it up at the end. And the best part, I can have a hot meal on the table in 30 minutes.
Chickpea Curry (Chana Masala)
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 Small Onion, diced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 T Coconut Oil
2 tsp Curry Powder
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
2 – 15 oz Cans of Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
1 – 28 oz can of Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 – 13.5 oz Coconut Milk
Salt (about 1/2 tsp or more) and Pepper (start with 1/8 tsp) to taste
6-8 Cups of prepared rice & Cilantro (optional) for serving
1. Preheat medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add coconut oil and onions.
2. Cook until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, curry powder, coriander, cumin and cook for about 30 seconds to release the oils in the spices. Work quickly here to avoid burning the spices and garlic.
3. Add tomatoes, stir, and lid. Bring up to a slight simmer, about 5 minutes.
4. Add chickpeas and coconut milk. Keep heat around medium/ medium low and stir often. Dish is ready to serve when chickpeas are hot – about 15 minutes.
A tip when making this dish: begin preparing your rice before you start the curry. Your rice will be cooking in the background while you are working on the rest. The rice will be done just before you are ready to serve, so you won’t have to wait on anything, and everything will be hot.
This type of curry dish would be considered an Indian style curry. But, when I think of curry, I think of all things curry. And I happen to have some Thai curry paste in my fridge because I made this Thai Shrimp Noodle Soup the other day. I discovered this recipe about a year ago, and have made it at least 5 times since. I highly recommend that you give this one a try.
Or no time to cook, but soup sounds like dinner? The Chopping Block Lincoln Square location is offering soup to-go each Thursday, so they’ve got you covered.
Have you checked out TCB's private Facebook group? Head on over to see what everyone’s cooking and have some fun participating in the weekly challenges. See you there!