Monday, 17 October 2011

Chana Masala and Easiest Homemade Garlic Naan

Curry ain't curry no more now that I've figured out how to DIY (DIM?) my own garlic naan - arguably the best part of any Indian meal. First, here is my recipe for a simple, yummy chana masala (aka chickpea curry) - Serves 3-4.

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Ingredients for the curry:

  • 2 small or 1 large brown onion
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small piece of ginger (about half your thumb size), grated or minced
  • 1 green chili pepper, thinly sliced 
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala 
  • 1.5 tsp tumeric
  • 1.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch of salt

Pour the oil into your pan and, when heated, add the onions. Stir for a minute then add the cumin seeds. Cook a bit longer until the onions are translucent and have started - just barely - to brown. Next, add the garlic, ginger and chili pepper and cook for another minute or two.

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Now add the can of tomato and cook for a few minutes - three or four - then add the rest of the spices, except for the salt. Stir until the spices are well combined with the tomato mixture. Add the potatoes and vegetable stock and let cook, with the lid on, for about 15 minutes.


After 15 minutes, remove the lid. The curry should still be quite soupy at this point, so cook with the lid off until the sauce starts to reduce. After about 10 more minutes your potatoes should be cooked. taste the sauce, and if the vegetable stock didn't provide enough salt, add some more now. Toss in the (drained and rinsed) can of chickpeas and cook for another five minutes, (Prepare the naan now!) then add the spinach. You can just throw the spinach on top - it will be steamed and shrink after a few minutes. 


Once the spinach is a little bit steamed, give the whole thing a few good stirs and serve next to Jasmine rice and garlic naan.

Ingredients for the naan:

  • tortilla bread (you know, 'cos you never eat exactly as many burritos as the package provides!)
  • butter substitute (about 1-2 tsp per naan, I use Nuttelex)
  • minced garlic (about 1 clove per naan)

Get a small nonstick pan heated and throw the butter in. Let it melt but not start frying then throw in the garlic. Now - quick! - place the tortilla in the pan and press it down and move it around to coat the bottom in butter (don't burn your fingers!) and, when coated, flip the bread. (If you do not flip the bread it will just be dry on one side instead of nice and buttery)


 Let it cook on med-high heat until it starts to puff up. When it is a nice golden brown (not black!) on the bottom, flip and let the other side reach the same colour. And, done! I like my garlic nice and cooked, but if you like it lighter, just keep the heat on a bit lower.


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