My California childhood consisted of lots of Mexican food. Good Mexican food. But there are also some kinds of food I never grew up eating. Indian is one of the more notable ones. And after a high school encounter with curry that gave me stomach flu symptoms, I have always steered clear of the stuff.
Turns out I have a curry insensitivity. I don’t know the exact issue, if it’s the powder itself or some particular spice, but every time I had curry, I would be up half the night. In recent years, it has been better, and my sickness is limited to an occasional upset stomach. This past year, however, I have had more Indian food than in the 27 years prior. And I think a combination of two things–an option without so much curry, and regular exposure–has made it so that of the dozen or so times I’ve eaten Indian food this year, I have been sick maybe two or three.
Of course, I also stick to one main dish, the chana masala. This is not only because it’s generally always vegan, but also because there is not a lot of curry in it. And hey, I love garbanzo beans. Always have.
So when I found a recipe for vegan chana masala that didn’t have a million different exotic ingredients, I knew I had to make it. These were all things I had around the house regularly, and it seemed simple enough.
So I made this last week, and you know what? It turned out awesome! The taste was super good, with only a few spice modifications, and even though my attempt at bathura totally failed, the meal was excellent. My only major change is that I want to double it, because this recipe was not enough for me and M. Also, I didn’t use the coriander, ’cause I don’t like cilantro. At all.
-Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil on medium heat.
-Add 1 chopped onion and fry until slightly browned.
-Reduce heat slightly and add 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon curry powder, and 1 tablespoon tomato paste, allowing to simmer for a couple minutes.
-Add in 400 grams of chickpeas, 3 tablespoons chickpea liquid, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper, and allow to simmer for five minutes.
-Add crushed red pepper to taste and 1 tablespoon margarine. Stir for five more minutes, then add in 1-2 cups spinach. Cook until the spinach shrinks and the dish is hot.
-Serve alongside bathura or naan, with rice, or just by itself.