“The modern diet is grossly deficient in hundreds of important plant-derived immunity-building compounds which makes us highly vulnerable to viruses, infections and disease.”
-Dr. Joel Fuhrman
So I have a confession to make: Chana Masala is by far my favourite dish in the world. Furthermore, if I could only eat one type of food for the rest of my life, it would be Indian food for sure. There is nothing else quite like it and there is a massive variety of delicious vegan options. Literally the ONLY problem is, after going out for Indian food at a restaurant, I feel like I must go into a comma and sleep for a full day because it is incredibly filling (also because I can’t stop eating it until I can’t move hehe).
I have been trying for a long time to recreate this dish at home because I love it so much, but it has been quite the task. I find that all the recipes I try lack the lustre of the restaurant versions. Now- I never cook with oil or salt because I don’t feel as healthful when I consume them. Also- my guru Dr. Joel Fuhrman is completely against adding these items to food so I try to avoid them as much as possible.
“Reducing dietary salt is not only important for those who already have elevated blood pressure – limiting added salt is essential for all of us to remain in good health.”
-Dr. Joel Fuhrman
With that being said, I’ve been wondering if omitting oil and salt from my Chana recipes have caused the dishes to not taste as great (because all Chana recipes call for the addition of salt and oil). I knew a delicious version of this dish was possible without the addition of those items, I just had to change something up.
My instinct was to try a different cooking method because the stovetop recipes just weren’t cutting it for me. Spotlight: THE SLOW COOKER. Simmering all the spices and chickpeas in that bad boy on a steady temperature for 8 hours really did the trick. The best part about this method is you can assemble everything in the slow cooker and then go about your day and then a delicious dinner is waiting for you later 🙂 Yayyyyy success!!!
The other thing I’ve been meaning to try is cauliflower ‘rice’. While the traditional side of basmati rice is obviously amazing, I was still looking for a lighter version of this dish. Something that I could eat a massive portion of not feel guilty about (which is always my goal hehe). Spotlight: CAULIFLOWER RICE. It’s incredibly easy to make and very healthful 🙂
Simply cut a whole head of cauliflower into small florets and then pulse them in your food processor for about 10 seconds until they resemble little grains of rice.
Then you can either have it raw or sauté it for a few minutes on the stove top to make it more closely resemble rice. (also the addition of a few spices to the cauliflower rice is definitely an option).
Ingredients for Cauliflower Rice:
- 2 cups of the cauliflower rice you just processed (1 whole head of cauliflower will make a lot of rice, so put the rest in the fridge/freezer depending on when you are going to use the rest. Or double the recipe of these spices and sauté the whole head of cauliflower in one go)
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp cumin (plus some cumin seeds if you want- I am obsessed with cumin)
- 1/8 tsp coriander
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp curry powder
- a couple sprinkles of cayenne pepper
- the juice from 1/2 lemon wedge
- chopped green onions (optional topping)
Directions for Cauliflower Rice:
- After you have processed the cauliflower florets, put them into a pan on low/medium heat.
- Start to add in all the spices (just don’t add the chopped green onions until the end)
- Cook for about 5-6 mins, stirring often so it doesn’t burn.
- Remove from heat and top with green onions.
Ingredients for Chana Masala (omitting a couple spices is okay- alter the spices to your liking- this is my personal preference and I find this combination gives the dish the most depth):
- 3.5 cups of dried chickpeas
- 2 onions roughly chopped
- 4/5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 jalapeno, seeded
- 1.5 inch piece of ginger, roughly minced
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 tsp red chilli fakes
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp garam masala
- a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper
- lemon wedge garnish
- chopped green onions or cilantro garnish
Directions for the Chana Masala:
- Add the garlic, ginger and jalapeño to the blender with a bit of water and blend very well.
- Add the tomatoes and 1/4 cup of water to the blender and blend until the mixture forms a thick paste.
- Pour the paste into a pan on the stove top and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add all the spices and cook for another 8 minutes.
- Pour the tomato/spice mixture and the chickpeas into your slow cooker and put the temperature to high.
- Cook for 8-10 hours on high. Check every couple hours or so and some water as needed.
- Allow the Chana to cool off and plate the cauliflower rice first. Then pour a serving of the Chana on top of the rice. Squeeze a bit of lemon on top to season and enjoy!!!!
Well there you have it folks. This recipe is my best and most healthful Chana Masala to date. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂