One of the first Indian restaurants I ever ate at had a menu item called the “Vegetable Curry Platter.” Basically, they covered a plate with a layer of basmati rice, then put a scoop of every vegetarian menu item on top. It was my favorite meal, and I ate it over and over and over. It’s hard to get sick of something that includes everything.
So I was a little disappointed when I finally started branching out and visiting other Indian dining establishments. “What do you mean I have to pick one thing? Can’t I have a little bit of everything? Let’s make a deal. How about two things?”
Menu items like chana masala can be particularly difficult. On the one hand, chana masala is delicious. On the other hand, it’s all chickpeas. It’s for this reason that I decided to create my own chana masala, and throw in a bunch of other stuff.
Okay, I might have hit a point where what I created is no longer considered chana masala, but more of a mixed vegetable curry with chickpeas. I’m okay with that. It tastes like chana masala, but with added colors and textures, which is what I really wanted all along.
I’ll admit, I’m still tempted to whip up a half-dozen other curries, and throw them all on a plate with this one. That would be some serious work though (I’ve got a new respect for that champion of a cook at my old favorite Indian place). Maybe some day I’ll have an Indian dinner party where I do just that. For a weeknight though, this dish with some rice or naan is plenty of variety for me, and it all comes together in just 30 minutes.
Veggie Chana Masala
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
- 1 seranno pepper finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. garam masala
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. coriander
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1-14 oz. can or 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Coat a large skillet with oil and place over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, seranno pepper, garam masala, turmeric, coriander and cumin. Sauté 1 minute more.
Add chickpeas, tomatoes (with their juices), broth, lemon juice, broccoli, cauliflower and carrot. Stir and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer until veggies reach desired tenderness, 10-15 minutes, adding a bit of water if the mixture becomes too dry.
Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve with naan or rice.
Feel free to substitute your favorite veggies here - just reduce the simmer time for softer veggies. You'll need 3 cups total of whatever you go with.