Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chana Punjabi, or another amazing way to use chickpeas

Garbanzo beans are amazing, aren't they? They taste fantastic, they have a great texture, and they give any dish a big protein and fiber boost. Toss them into salads, or throw a handful into soup. Puree them, and you get hummus. Hummus! It's like the world's best condiment, right?

But we're not here to talk about hummus. (Though incidentally, use more lemon juice than you think is reasonable. Trust me.) Do you ever set food resolutions? Like eat less candy or more spinach? Lately I've been trying to eat less meat, so when I came across this totally vegetarian recipe on The Wednesday Chef that featured my all time favorite legume, I got pretty excited. And then I forgot about it for six weeks.

Which isn't really so bad in the grand scheme of forgetting recipes, is it? That cilantro cake took me like two years to rediscover.

Chana Punjabi
Serves 2

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 small Thai bird chili, chopped or 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped, (I used a jalapeño)
one 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt, or as needed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used more)
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Cooked rice for serving (optional)

1. Sauté the onion in oil over medium heat about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic, ginger and chili, and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Pour in tomatoes and 1/4 cup water. Cover the whole shebang for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

2. If you have an immersion blender, now's the time to use it. Puree the onion and tomato mixture and return to the pan (if you don't have an immersion blender, that is). Heat ovLinker a medium flame, then add paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, the coriander, garam masala, turmeric and lemon juice. Add chickpeas and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

3. Cover and simmer until the sauce is very thick, about 45 minutes. Every ten minutes or so, stir the sauce, and if it looks dry, add more water, 1/4 cup at a time. If it's not thickening up, take off the lid towards the end and let it go for a few minutes uncovered. Stir in cilantro, taste, and season with salt, if necessary. Mine didn't need it; the canned chickpeas were pretty salty. Serve with cooked basmati rice and/or naan. Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day has a great, easy stovetop (!) method.


  1. I love chickpeas too, though we haven't ventured much past making hummus. Looks great! Did you make that delicious looking naan?

  2. love the chickpeas! do you ever cook your own from the bean or just buy canned? can you direct me to a great hummus recipe or 2? i made my own last week...used too much olive oil but am still eating it b/c it's still awesome! how do you think it would freeze? how long do you think it keeps in the fridge? i've let mine come to room air a few times..while sitting out eating it...is that bad? so many chickpea questions, huh? i thought you might be able to help. :)

  3. This looks great. When I was a vegetarian, I ate beans and nuts far more often than I ate tofu, tempeh or seitan. I always appreciated new ways to cook 'em!

  4. I need to eat more chickpeas and I love Indian food. Gonna make this! :D

  5. Chef, yes, I did! It's the basic Artisan Bread in 5 Mins a Day dough, stretched out and cooked with veg oil (I'm out of ghee) in a covered cast iron pan on the stovetop- takes 5 minutes, and it's light and delicious. Highly recommended.

    OMG is right! Yes, I've used dried. Rancho Gordo is the best for eating out of hand, but Goya will do for hummus. Hummus made from warm chickpeas (and consequently, warm hummus) is absolutely killer. Try Paula Wolfert's recipe: http://tinyurl.com/dym5m4 Hummus will keep in the freezer for a few months, just let it thaw in the fridge and eat it within a week or two? I'm not sure, it never lasts long enough to go bad in my house.

    Rochelle and Murasaki, if you do make this (and I hope you do!) let me know what you thought!

  6. I am always looking for new ways to enjoy chickpeas! This looks good.

  7. WOW, this looks really good. Great vegetarian dish!

  8. Just stumbled upon your blog by reading Smitten Kitchen comments. This recipe looks great! I must bookmark it.

  9. oh wow wow wow. this is totally up my alley.

  10. love love love chickpeas. I eat about 2-3 cans per week of chickpeas and I'm always looking for new things to do with them. This looks great!