I was looking around for some Indian chickpea recipes and one that kept coming up was chala masala, and I immediately remembered that I have made this before a very long time ago. In case you do not know, chala masala is actually just curried chickpeas, so you obviously do not need a lot of fancy ingredients. The most challenging thing with this dish is getting your hands on all the different spices, but you can omit one or two without too much difficulty. If you cut out more you will end up with a really bland dish. The key to this, and any other Indian dish for that matter, is to taste whilst adding the spices and seasonings, and add more until you are satisfied. I was actually planning on using a box canned tomatoes instead of soy milk, tomato puree and cornstarch, but since we were out of it I had to do a little bit of improvisation. I have made this dish with canned tomatoes before though, so if you want you can substitute it with the soy milk, tomato puree and cornstarch.
Ingredients, makes enough for 4 people:
- 4 cups chickpeas/garbanzo beans (not dry)
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 cup vegan vegetable stock
- 4 dl unsweetened soy milk (or other plant-based milk)
- 1 large onion
- 1 red chili pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
Spices, to taste:
- Garam masala
- Curry madas (or other high-quality curry powder)
- Cumin (seeds are preferred, but ground works too)
- Cayenne pepper
- Fennel seeds
- Depending on whether or not you are using pre-boiled, canned or only soaked beans you should combine the beans, spices and soy milk/chopped tomatoes and boil until the beans are tender. If you are using canned beans make sure to wash them thoroughly before use.
- In a separate non-stick saucepan add in the chopped onion, garlic, and chili and cook until slightly golden. Then add this into the pot along with all the remaining ingredients.
- Here you will see if you need to add in the vegetable broth or not, so add it in if the consistency has become a bit dry.
- Now that it is all mixed together you should start tasting whether or not you want it spicier, and add in more spices depending on that. If you want, you can serve this with brown rice and/or mixed greens.
I found that I really liked this version with the soy milk because it gave it a rounder and creamier consistency, so if you are using canned tomatoes you might consider adding in the cornstarch to thicken the sauce, but that is up to you. Serve with fresh cilantro, Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper.