This is a “my evening plans got cancelled” meal that will make you glad you stayed home! I love Indian food, and I love it made fresh. This meal comes together in just over half an hour, and is just as good as going out. If you enjoy a no-meat meal every so often, fire up your oven, turn on your stove, and in no time you’ll have your own bit of spicy luxury.
Serve Chana Masala with No-Fail Oven-Baked Rice for One, which will cook happily in your oven while the chickpeas are simmering on the stove. Also, pick up some naan (Indian flatbread) at a good market– total enjoyment of this dish requires being able to scoop up some of the chickpeas with a warm piece of naan. (Note: As a rule, flatbread freezes well, and can be removed from your freezer one piece at a time as needed. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle on a little coarse salt, and heat under the broiler until golden.)
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add onion. Stir and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper and garam masala, and continue cooking 1-2 minutes. At this point you will really begin to smell the wonderful spices.
Add tomato sauce, water, sugar, salt, cumin, and coriander (not fresh cilantro. You can put that on top of the finished dish. Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant, and is sold as a ground spice.) Add chickpeas and stir well to combine.
Note: I call for 7 oz. of chickpeas here. If you are really hungry, want leftovers, or wish to share dinner with a friend, use the whole 15.5 oz. can, rinsed and drained. Everything else in the recipe stays the same.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for about 35 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add a tablespoon or two of water if needed to keep the chickpeas from scorching. When chickpeas are tender, remove the pan from the heat. Add heavy (whipping) cream and stir to combine. Top chickpeas with fresh cilantro and a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt if you wish. Serve over hot rice with warm naan. Light some candles and enjoy your meal!
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