Can you live without eating chana masala on the regular? If so, I don’t want to know. This Punjabi stew (also known as chole masala) is another of those classic Indian dishes everyone knows and loves. The tanginess you get from amchur powder is key here, but if you can’t find it, lemon juice will work in a pinch. I add greens to my version for a little color and variety, and sometimes chop up some chicken to throw in there as well.
3 tablespoons (45 mL) vegetable oil, divided
1 onion, ﬁnely chopped
2 teaspoons (10 mL) yellow or black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons (10 mL) ground coriander
2 teaspoons (10 mL) Garam Masala (see recipe below) or store-bought
1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cumin
2 teaspoons (10 mL) kosher salt (approx.)
1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground turmeric
2 teaspoons (10 mL) amchur powder or freshly squeezed lemon juice (approx.)
2 tablespoons (30 mL) minced garlic
1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced ginger
1 serrano chile, minced
1 can (14 oz/398 mL) diced tomatoes (with juice)
2 cups (500 mL) dried chickpeas, rinsed (see Note)
2 cups (500 mL) chopped greens (spinach, beet greens or mustard greens)
2 teaspoons (10 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
1 cup (250 mL) ﬁnely chopped fresh cilantro
Using the Sauté function on High, heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) oil in the inner pot for 1 minute, until shimmering. Add the onions; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, occasionally adding 1 tablespoon (15 mL) water if the bottom of the pot gets brown and the onion begins to stick. Cook the onion until deeply browned.
Push the onion to the side of the pot. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 mL) oil and heat it for 1 minute, until shimmering. Stir in the mustard seeds, coriander, garam masala, cumin, salt and turmeric; cook for about 1 minute, until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Stir in the amchur, garlic, ginger and chile; cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
Add the diced tomatoes (with juice) and 2 cups (500 mL) water; stir, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Stir in the chickpeas. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.
Once the cooking is complete, release the pressure naturally for 5 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure. Check to make sure the chickpeas are soft enough for your liking; if they are still too hard, cook them on high pressure for another 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and stir in the chopped greens, adding a little more water if the stew is dry. Using the Sauté setting on High, simmer until the greens are wilted, about 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice, if needed. Stir in the cilantro and serve.
Note: I sometimes cook extra chickpeas on the weekend so I can throw this dish together on a weeknight in just a few minutes. If you have cooked chickpeas on hand, you can modify this recipe by using 6 cups (1.5 L) cooked chickpeas and only 1/2 cup (125 mL) water. Decrease the cooking time in Step 3 to 5 minutes.
Garam masala is a warm spice blend filled with baking spices. It’s a great example of an Indian spice blend that is not spicy-hot. Makes 1/4 cup (60 m L).
2 tablespoons (30 mL) cumin seeds
1 tablespoon (15 mL) cardamom seeds
1 tablespoon (15 mL) coriander seeds
1 teaspoon (5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons (10 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) ground nutmeg
Combine the cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast, shaking the pan, for about 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer the mixture to a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Use immediately or store in a cool, dry place for up to 2 months.
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