Monday, September 26, 2011

Chana Masala Time

Fall is here now officially and with that means it's time to start making some cold weather food. I thought I would start off easy and make one of my favourite stews, chana masala. This Indian stew is special for me as it was my first vegan dish. When I decided to try a 30-day vegan challenge, I was so sure that not being able to eat any dairy products would be my downfall, I decided to make something that dairy just wouldn't go with. Armed with Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet, I decided on this stew because it looked impossible to screw up and I figured it could go with just about any grain. I was right and now chana masala is a regular dish that I cook in the winter.
Warning - Making this dish will make your whole place fragrant. It is worth it though!

There are a million different ways to make this dish. I still use Silverstone's recipe as a guide, but over time have altered it a bit to work better for me (Her recipe makes a ton of stew!) You can serve this dish with naan, pita, rice, barley, but my favourite is to serve it with nacho chips... Since it makes a lot, you can try it out a few different ways and see what works best for you.

Chips and Chana Masala

  • One large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp curry powder (or more if you like curry)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 small (or half a large) eggplant, diced
  • 1/2 cup of cauliflower (optional)
  • 1/2 spinach (optional)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can of vegan chili
  • 1 handful of cilantro, chopped 
Looks dry, but just let it cook and it will get better!
First, get a large pot and heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and spices and stir well. Let it cook for about 5-7 minutes. Next, add the vegetables starting with the eggplant, letting it cook for a minute or two, then the spinach and cauliflower. Add another Tbsp of olive oil so the veggies don't stick (or add water). Cook for 5 minutes. Now add all the other ingredients except for the cilantro and stir well. Reduce the heat a bit and let it cook uncovered for about 30 minutes.
I admit, it is not the prettiest dish.... but so good

Before serving add the cilantro to the pot and stir. Serve it in a big bowl with tortilla chips or grain of choice. It is also good on its own.

Another variation, add potatoes instead of cauliflower. 

See how easy that is? Minimal mess and labour... and if you want, you can freeze some off for another time. This makes 4-6 servings.

Funny how cilantro can brighten any dish :)

1 comment:

  1. I took a night off from cooking yesterday and went out for dinner. My friend James ensured me that he found a really good vegan-friendly restaurant that had to be tried.
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