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irish & indian both start with the letter “i” so this should be a snap! (chana masala)

Weird things have been happening to me lately. I find that I actually miss both exercise and cooking when I am not able to do either. THIS IS NOT NORMAL! However, I seem to miss the stress-release that seems to come hand-in-hand with both exercise and cooking. These two things used to CAUSE the stress in my life and now? Now I find chopping veggies cathartic (with the exception of tomato. I HATE chopping tomato. Never mind that it’s not a vegetable.) I find the challenge in trying to hold myself up in side plank position addictive.

Anyhow, this is weird to me because it’s a total opposite of how I used to feel. Add to that my sudden ability to be able to handle spices and foods I normally could not eat (thank you, Mira and BodyTalk), I like to experiment with new things in the kitchen. On Monday, my bestie Monkey posted her mean plan (remember when I had an oh, so brief flirtation with that? Yeah, that went well.) and on it were so many delicious looking things, but my taste buds were drawn to the Chana Masala with Naan Bread on her list. I knew that I would be attempting that at some point this week. Happily, I had Thursday and Friday off, so Friday I spent it shopping and cooking. I googled “Chana Masala” and ended up over at Smitten Kitchen (where there are a plethora of amazing recipes!). I modified it a little from her recipe though.

Here’s this Irish girl’s first attempt at Indian food :

INGREDIENTS (as I used them, not exactly what’s on SK):

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (I couldn’t find the chili pepper, so I improvised)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander I was missing this! So I added an extra tsp of garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric I couldn’t find my turmeric, but it was in the garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon amchoor powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (it calls for 1 tsp, but see notes above)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped small
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas (I used 3 cans of Eden Organic, 1% sodium! yay!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)


Heat oil, add onion, garlic, jalapeño (chili) pepper, fresh ginger and saute until brown (about 5 minutes).


Turn heat to medium-low and add spices (which I mixed in a bowl). Cook for 1-2 minutes.


Add tomato. Stir. Then add the water and chickpeas. Simmer UNCOVERED for 10 minutes.

As you can see, I didn’t really chop the tomato very small. Eh.


Stir in lemon juice and salt.

I left it on low and covered for the remaining time between the last step and when Shawn walked into the house. Maybe about another 10 minutes? By the time we dished it out the liquid had thickened a bit. Since I couldn’t find the Naan bread in the stupid store (but they had all sorts of other foreign breads!) I picked up a thick pita with an Indian type name. It was good enough.

Of course I had to sample the final result before Shawn got home. I mean, it was only proper that I make sure I had a decent finished product to serve my husband as he walked in the door after a long day at work. Right?

Just performing a good wifely duty here. That’s all. It’s what a good wife should do! Nom nom nom.

This recipe, of course, is not fit for my Mum (you listening, Mummy?) because it has flavour (and it’s really spicy!) but I adored it! So much so that it was a very tough decision whether or not to eat the leftovers for breakfast this morning. I ended up waiting and I’ll eat it later. I might actually make another pot tomorrow so I can bring it as lunch for work this week.

Shawn, unfortunately, didn’t love it as much as I did. He bemoaned the lack of a) MEAT and b) rice. Ah, well. I didn’t think about making rice to go with it. And I think the chickpeas themselves are more than enough to fill me up and provide protein without adding meat. I told him just because a meal doesn’t have meat doesn’t mean it sucks! Men!. Sheesh. 😉

Although this recipe wasn’t listed as Clean Eating, I’m dubbing it as such because everything I used, with the exception of the chickpeas, was fresh and processed-free. Except the bread part. Oh, well. Close enough. I wonder if they make gluten-free naan bread? Hmm.

Not bad for a first attempt. I am contemplating tackling Butter Chicken next time. This will have both meat and rice, so hopefully my picky husband will be happier. =P

2 comments to irish & indian both start with the letter “i” so this should be a snap! (chana masala)

  • Sassymonkey

    What kind of knife are you using on your tomatoes? Unless you have a really good and sharp chef’s knife, a serrated knife works best.

  • envoyette

    I am so PROUD of YOU! It looks wonderful and I can just smell it through the computer!