Chana Masala and raita

Every now and then, I go through a vegetarian kick, though I don’t think the household will let me make it permanent. Even so, it’s nice to have a protein filled veggie dish to remind everyone that they’re delicious! I knew this as chick-pea curry, at first, but it’s a little more complex than that.


  • 2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil (recipe below)
  • 1 16oz can low sodium chick peas
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large onion
  • 2-3 green chilies (I used 1 Anaheim with seeds, and 1 jalapeño with the seeds removed)
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, peeled
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Drain the chick peas and add them to a small pot along with the water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about five minutes. Separate, but keep the water.
  2. Chop the chilies, garlic, ginger, and cilantro roughly, then give the mixture a whirl in a food processor until it’s just short of a paste.
  3. In a thick-bottomed pan, heat the ghee or oil, then add the cumin, stirring until it gets fragrant, then lower heat and add the onion. Sauté until brown.
  4. Add the chili, garlic, ginger, and cilantro mixture and cook for a few minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
  5. Add the coriander, turmeric, and chili powder and cook for a few more minutes, stirring. You can add a bit more ghee or oil if needed.
  6. Add the tomatoes with juice, chick peas, and reserved water. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until reduced; the dish should not be very liquid.
  7. Turn off the heat, stir in the garam masala and lemon juice, and let cool some before serving.

For the Raita

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 mini seedless cucumber, or ½ an English seedless cucumber
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • Cilantro to taste
  • Splash of lemon juice
  1. Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Garnish chana masala with fresh cilantro and serve in bowls with a starch, such as naan, roti, or basmati rice. To cool the heat, you can serve it with raita. It goes particularly well with a pink gin, I can attest!


Ghee is a form of clarified butter which can be used as a cooking oil. Cube one pound of unsalted butter and heat in a sauce pan over medium heat. The butter will melt, then foam, then bubble. After about fifteen minutes, the butter will stop appear to stop bubbling, and will start to foam lightly again, though the bubbles won’t sticks round. The ghee is done cooking, but needs to be strained to remove the casein and milk solids. Pour the ghee through a fine mesh strainer lined with a few layers of cheesecloth or a few paper towels. The ghee will keep for a month.

You can throw away the milk solids, or, if you don’t mind the slightly sour taste, you can mix them with equal parts flour and honey, adding flour as needed, to produce a sort of milk fudge. I like it, others not as much.