This rich, delicious and nutritious chickpea masala is a staple in our Indian-food-obsessed house. It’s thrifty, using just a few tins, a tbsp of spice blend, onion and garlic, and is fairly quick to put together. You could definitely make it in a slow cooker too if you like. I would not claim that this is an authentic chana masala recipe from the north of India, but this simplified version is the way we like to make it. I love making my own fresh and fragrant spice blends and have included my garam masala recipe at the end of this blog, but of course you should feel free to use a ready made blend or if you cant find one you can even substitute with curry powder. Garam masala is intensely fragrant, with warm and sweet notes, not really like the western invention ’curry powder’ which relies on turmeric and fenugreek for that classic ’curry’ fragrance, so if you do make a switch, it wont be a masala as such, but it will still be a gorgeous chickpea curry. No stress, either way you will really enjoy it with rice or flatbreads and coriander.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 large or 2 small onions, peeled and cut into quarters
4 big cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tbsp vegetable oil (or coconut oil or ghee)
1 tbsp garam masala (see recipe below or use ready made)
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tins of chickpeas
1 tin of full fat coconut milk
salt to taste
fresh coriander and cooked rice or naan bread to serve
Use a blender or smoothie maker to blend the onion and garlic into a paste. Fry the paste in a heavy bottomed pot with the oil and garam masala until browned. Over a medium heat, this should take around 8 minutes. Keep stirring, the spices and onion mix will start to stick on the bottom of the pot, that is a good thing. Simply loosen all that flavour with a splash of water and scrape up and stir into the sauce with a wooden spoon.
Add the tomato purée, then briefly blend the tin of tomatoes and add that to the pot too. Simmer and stir for around 5 minutes to reduce this gravy.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them into the tomato gravy along with the solid coconut cream from the top of the tin of coconut milk. Season with salt to your taste, then simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the masala has thickened up and the chickpeas have absorbed the delicious flavours.
Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander over rice or scooped up with naan breads. We also like ours served with a potato, cauliflower and kale side dish, recipe for that coming up next!
GARAM MASALA SPICE BLEND
Garam masala is an intensely fragrant, warm and sweet, Indian spice blend, essential in many Indian recipes. There are many different regional (and household) variations and this is mine. Use it in the chana masala recipe above or to add extra flavour to your next pot of dal. It’s also a gorgeous rub or seasoning for anything you’d like to roast in the oven or grill. Garam masala fries are amazing!
Measure these whole spices into a small blender or spice grinder and grind into powder:
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tbsp cardamom seeds (or whole pods)
1 tbsp black pepper corns
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
Then add these ground spices and blend again to evenly combine:
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp chilli powder
Store in a clean, dry, airtight container and don’t forget to label it. I like to reuse jars for my spices. It is best to make small batches and use whilst fresh, within 6 months.
November already! Get those carved pumpkins washed and in the oven to roast before they go mouldy. You can scoop out the flesh and freeze it in portions to add to soups, curries, stews, pies etc. Here’s a delicious snack you can make with some, all you need is a sheet of ready rolled puff pastry, a tin of chickpeas (or any bean/lentil you like) and some seasoning. We went for Moroccan flavours this time which are very similar to our sweet, warming pumpkin spice mix (which also needs using up – find the recipe for that here). Will you put your own twist on this recipe? Let us know what worked well in the comments.
Ingredients (makes 12 small rolls)
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1 salt & pepper to taste
1/2 a medium kuri squash, roasted and completely chilled (or any pumpkin or winter squash like butternut)
1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
oat milk for brushing and sealing
sesame seeds to sprinkle
Mash the chickpeas with the spices, salt and pepper. If you don’t have pumpkin spice mix, just sprinkle in some cinnamon, ginger, chilli, cloves etc. Leave some chickpeas whole, they bring nice body and texture to the filling.
Add cold roasted pumpkin flesh and mix it in. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt.
Cut your sheet of pastry into 3 even pieces. Share out the filling between the 3 pieces and use a spoon to shape the filling into a sausage along the middle of each piece. Roll up the filling in the pastry, seal the edges with oat milk. Flip the sealed side over to the bottom and brush the tops with more milk. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cut each long sausage into 4.
Space them out on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake at 200C for 10-15 minutes or until golden and hot through. Enjoy!
Lots of you have told us that you don’t like kale but wish you did so you could enjoy the many health benefits of this mighty, Irish green. Here’s how we get our kids to eat loads of it, in pesto! If we have fresh herbs in the house we mix those in too for extra flavour. Doesn’t have to be basil either, you could make kale/parsley pesto or kale/dill pesto etc to go with whatever you are making for dinner. Here’s our basic pesto recipe which you can tweak to your liking. Pesto pasta is a quick, mid-week staple in our house and we love to top it with seasonal vegetables and chickpeas – this week’s pumpkin with chilli and fennel seeds was particularly delicious, find the recipe below.
Ingredients (serves 4)
For the pesto:
100g nuts/seeds (toasted for extra flavour)
1 clove of garlic
a big pinch of salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (for cheesy flavour – you could sub with hard cheese or leave it out if you like)
100g greens (kale/spinach/fresh herbs) – washed and shaken dry
100ml olive oil (plus extra for topping off the jar)
the zest & juice of 1/2 a lemon
Pumpkin & Chickpea topping:
1/2 a kuri squash or butternut squash (seeds scooped out and flesh cut into bite sized chunks – you can leave the skin on)
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp fennel seeds
cooked pasta and an extra drizzle of olive oil to serve
Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Toss the chickpeas and pumpkin in a baking dish with the olive oil, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and fennel seeds, mix well. Place the dish in the oven to roast while you boil pasta and make the pesto – around 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft.
In a food processor, pulse the nuts/seeds (we used toasted sunflower seeds here) with the garlic, salt and nutritional yeast until crumbly.
Tear in half of the kale (stalks and all) and pulse again to roughly chop. Repeat with the other half of the kale.
Then add the oil and lemon and blend into a pesto consistency. Taste and add more salt or lemon if needed.
Drain your pasta and while it’s still hot, stir through a generous amount of the pesto, we usually go for a couple of heaped tbsp per person. Drizzle with extra olive oil if you like for more healthy fats and flavour. Serve the pasta in bowls topped with the spicy roasted pumpkin and chickpeas and enjoy!
If you are not using all the pesto right away, spoon it into a clean jar and protect the top from air with a little layer of olive oil. Lid on and store in the fridge. Enjoy within a week – stirred through pasta, spread into sandwiches, tossed through boiled potatoes or steamed greens…