Spicy likes cool
Fancy something easy that’s also a bit exotic? Look no further. Chana masala & coriander cream is the perfect, healthy combination of spicy chickpea curry and coriander spiked creamy coconut. Let’s get cooking.
Prep for success
Chana masala suits my love of quick, one-pot cooking with ingredients that I don’t have to search for. It’s a good idea to get everything prepared in advance for this version of chana masala. It going to go quickly once you sweat the onions and jalapenos in vegetable broth for 10 minutes. Besides, once you add the garlic, ginger and spices you want a few seconds to savor the aroma of the kitchen.
Pause, smell the spices
Masala means spicy. I used ground spices – coriander, cumin, cayenne and turmeric. You could also opt to grind coriander and cumin seeds for a freshen up. You’re good to use the same amounts (1 ½ tsp. coriander/1 tsp. cumin) if you go that direction.
Chana and the masala
Chana mean chickpeas. So, if you find yourself overwhelmed at an Indian restaurant (or you are new to the experience), you won’t go wrong with anything chana. Canned chickpeas make this dish an easy one, but if you happen to be cooking dry chickpeas, add 1 ½ to 2 cups extra and save them for this quick dish. Cooked beans will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Chana masala is a great addition to your batch cooking aspirations.
Tomatoes are the foundation of the aromatic simmering for your masala. My preference is to use fresh, ripe tomatoes, but if you happen to be in a pinch, you could try canned tomatoes. If you do, be sure that you drain the juice. Otherwise your final dish may be too ‘saucy’ (and not in the best way).
It could all end now
Once you’ve added the chickpeas, you are officially at chana masala. You could actually stop right there and top it off with chopped coriander, lemon juice, coconut cream or vegan yogurt. Heap it on some rice for good measure and go for it. But let’s take that one extra, easy step – we’re going for chana masala & coriander cream after all!
But don’t stop, make it special
Coriander cream sets off this dish by adding a cool, creamy and let’s say it – pretty contrast. If you want the sauce thicker, make it first. We’re adding ground chia seeds to accomplish the thickening task. I used a grinding rule of 1 whole to 2 ground, meaning that 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds will yield 1 tablespoon ground. Warning – this stuff is addictive and great, great on tacos.
Growing up in a small town in the southwest of the US, I came to Indian cuisine a bit late. Mexican was always my go-to. Then I started hanging out in the UK where curry is the national dish. It was so exciting to learn about the variety of traditional Indian dishes that were naturally vegan. I started replacing my habit of leaning on Mexican to leaning on Indian for quick, healthy, plant-based meals.
Keep exploring, my friends
I’ve expended from there, but it reminds me that exploring new opportunities is one of the best things about life. You can’t do it all. That means there is always a new potential right around the corner. Peace.Print
Chana masala & coriander cream combines spicy chickpea curry and cool coriander coconut cream for a quick, exotic, plant-based meal with easy ingredients.
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp. ground chia seeds (grind 1/2 Tbsp.) (you can also substitute flax seeds)
- 1 cup fresh coriander chopped
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
- 2 onions, diced (2 cups)
- 2 jalapenos, minced (depending on the heat you like)
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ inch piece ginger, minced (2 Tbsp.)
- 1 ½ tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 4 large tomatoes diced (3 – 4 cups)
- 3 – 15 oz. (400 gm.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 5 cups)
Timing tip: make the coriander cream first so it has time to thicken up.
- Grind 1/2 Tbsp. chia seeds. This will yield 1 Tbsp.
- In a blender add 1 cup coconut milk, 1 Tbsp. ground chia seeds, 1 cup fresh coriander and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Blend well.
- In a heavy bottomed pot or skillet, heat ¼ cup vegetable broth and add the onions and jalapenos. Sweat them over low heat for 10 minutes until they become soft and translucent.
- Add the 3 cloves of garlic, 2 Tbsp. minced ginger, 1 ½ tsp. ground coriander, 1 tsp. cumin, ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper and ½ tsp. turmeric. Mix well and allow it to cook for 1 minute.
- Raise the heat to medium and add the 3 cups diced tomatoes. Cover the pot and continue cooking for 10 minutes until the tomatoes are broken down.
- Add the 3 cans (5 cups) of chickpeas and heat through.
- Serve over rice if desired and top off with coriander cream.
- This dish is also great without the rice as a side with dahl or your other Indian favorites.
- You can opt to use fresh spices by grinding 1 1/2 tsp. coriander and 1 tsp. cumin seeds. If you want to be even more exotic, toast them a few seconds before grinding.
- Change this dish up a bit and mix the coconut milk, fresh coriander and lemon juice right after the chickpeas. Technically, you’ve now made a chickpea coconut curry, but hey, it’s all good.
- I like chana masala over rice, but it’s equally great with cauliflower rice or quinoa.
- Category: Main Courses
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: chana masala & coriander cream