We had almost a whole big can of garbanzo beans after making papri chat the other day just sitting in the fridge and it inspired me to try making a punjabi style chole or channa masala. I’ve made this lighter creamier channa masala many times, but never the dark rich Punjabi style. Most recipes use dried chick peas, but I like Indo-European brand in the can because they are so soft!
This recipe is adapted from The Mad Tea Party. She uses pomegranate seeds, but I substituted amchur powder because it is what I had and also very common in this dish. If you don’t have amchur powder and like cooking Indian food, get some! It is a must have. Lemon juice doesn’t quite do the tangy trick. I took out the black pepper too because I never seem to like Indian dishes I make as much when I’ve used pepper.
In order to get the dark color, instead of using tea bags, the masala is toasted until really dark. You can also use pre-made channa masala available in Indian grocery stores.
For the Masala (spice blend)
1 piece cinnamon bark
3 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon coriander powder (if you have whole add this to the pan first)
- Toast all spices except the coriander powder (unless you are using whole) in a skillet until it gets pretty brown, then add the coriander powder and toast until really brown, almost black, but not burnt. Cool and grind to a powder.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions chopped
1 piece ginger minced
3 garlic cloves smashed and minced
2 green chilis sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
4 tomatoes chopped (roma sized)
1 1/2 teaspoons amchur powder
1 big can and 1 small can garbanzo beans partially drained (I like Indo-European brand the best)
1 teaspoon sugar
- Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and throw in the onions, ginger, garlic and green chilis. Once the onions are browned and translucent, add the ground masala, chili powder, garam masala and amchur powder. After a minute or so add the tomatoes and cook everything down until it becomes a paste. Really take your time with this to get the flavors strong.
- Add the chick peas, a little water, sugar and salt to taste, and cook for at least 15-20 minutes to let the flavors meld. It gets better with time!
- Serve with bhatura or naan and onions squeezed with lemon juice and sprinkled with chaat masala.