Chana Masala is a dish which is eaten in most parts of India from Delhi in the North to Chennai and Cochin in the South. Chana means chickpea and masala just means spice mix, so as you can imagine in every part of India, the Chana Masala has its very own personality and quirks. When Mimi was travelling through India, this was her favourite of them all. It’s very fragrant and 100% delicious.
Brown Basmati Rice
South Indian Spice Mix
Boil a large pot of water with ¼ tsp of salt. Put your rice in a sieve (if you have one) and run cold water through it for at least 30 seconds. Once the water is boiling, add the rice to the pot and cook on a rapid boil for 25 mins. When the rice is cooked, take off the heat, drain, cover with a tea towel and leave until everything else is ready. Tip: If your rice dries out before it’s cooked, simply add some more water to the pot.
While the rice is cooking start making your chana masala! Peel and chop your onion into roughly 1cm pieces. Peel and finely chop your garlic. Peel your ginger (you can do this with the back of a spoon!) and finely chop. Finely chop half your chilli.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a saucepan on medium heat and add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli (the amount you add depends on how spicy you like things!). Cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, then add your South Indian spice mix. Cook for 1 minute, stirring a few times before adding your tomato purée and cooking for a further minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, refill the tin a quarter with water and add this to the pan as well, stir. Drain the chickpeas and add them to the pan too. Add ¼ tsp of salt, a good grind of pepper and ½ tsp of sugar (if you have any!), stir together and cook uncovered for 10 mins on medium heat, until everything has reduced slightly and the chickpeas are soft.
While the chana masala is cooking, make your raita! Chop a quarter of your cucumber into roughly ½cm cubes and roughly chop your coriander. Mix your cucumber and half your coriander together with your yoghurt. Squeeze in 1 tsp of lemon juice, add a pinch of salt and give it a good stir to combine.
When the chana masala has reduced slightly and is lovely and thick, add your spinach, put your lid on and let the spinach wilt for 2 mins. Then take the lid off and stir the spinach through. Serve the chana masala on a bed of lovely brown rice, with the raita on the side and some coriander sprinkled over the top. Enjoy!