Chana Masala is originally from South India, but the Trinidadians developed a love for the dish and made some ethnic adaptions of their own. The special blend of spices and herbs are what make this dish a Chana Masala Trini
Chana Masala Trini Style Recipe-
For Pressure Cooking the Chickpeas-
- 1 cup dried kabuli chana (Indian chickpeas)
- 3 cups water
- ½ tsp salt
For Roasting the Masala-
- 1 cup fresh grated coconut
- 1″ stick of cinnamon
- ½ tbsp. fennel
- ½ tbsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 3-4 dry Chile de Arbol hot chili peppers
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 tsp. mehr saffron
- 1 tbsp. Amchar Masala seasoning
- 1 black cardamom pod
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 5 or 6 whole black peppercorns
- 1 small piece of dagad phool (also called “Stone Flower”)
- 3 tbsp vegetable cooking oil
- 1 small bay leaf
- ½ tsp. mustard seeds
- 10-12 fresh curry leaves
- 1/2 medium sized onion, peeled and rough chopped
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp. freshly grated turmeric root
- 1/2 tsp. of asafoetida
- 1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
- 2 cups chicken or beef stock
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, for garnish
- whole red chili peppers, for garnish
For Cooking the Chickpeas-
- Rinse the 1 cup of chanas a couple of times in fresh cold water. Place them in a bowl filled with water and soak at least 8 hours, or even overnight.
- Drain the chanas through a sieve or colander, then rinse the again twice more. Drain once again.
- Now place the soaked chanas in a pressure cooker, add 1/2 tsp. of salt, and 3 cups of water.
- Stir well, and then pressure cook the chana on medium high heat for for 18 to 20 whistles.
- Note: you can also cook the chanas in a regular cooking pot. If doing so, then add about 3-1/2 to 4 cups water, with a full teaspoon of salt to the chickpeas, cover the pot and cook they are well softened.
For Preparing the Masala-
- While the chanas are cooking, in a skillet of saucepan over low flame, dry roast all of the spices listed under the “For Roasting the Masala” heading. (do not include the coconut) Dry roast until they become wonderfully fragrant. roast all spices except coconut.
- When fragrant, add and stir in ½ cup tightly packed grated coconut to the combined spices continue roasting, stirring constantly, to ensure even browning.
- Roast until the coconut has turned golden, then remove the pan from the burner and allow the mixture to cool.
- When the coconut/spice mixture is cooled, remove the husks form the cardamom pods, and then add everything into an electric blender. Add about 3/4 cups of fresh water, and blend into a smooth paste. Set aside for now.
For Preparing the Chana Masala Gravy-
(Using the ingredients listed under the “Other Ingredients” heading)
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium flame.
- Add in the mustard seeds and wait for them to crackle, then add and stir in the tejpatta.
- Next, add and stir in the chopped onion. Sauté, stirring, until the onions turn translucent, soft, and fragrant.
- Now add and stir in the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, asafoetida and curry leaves. Cook, stirring, until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic dissipates.
- Next, add and stir in the chopped tomato. Sauté for just 2 to 3 minutes, to soften them.
- Add and stir in the ground masala paste.
- Add the drained chanas, and stir well again, and cook for one full minute.
- Next, add and stir in the stock or stock, and season to taste with salt.
- Bring the dish to a rolling boil, then turn the burner off, and stir well. Allow to cool just slightly before serving.
- Serve your Chana Masala Trini Style while still quite hot, with each serving garnished with some fresh chopped cilantro and one whole red chile pepper. Also popular and traditional is to have some sliced lemons and onions on the table.
- Chana Masala Trini Style makes a great side dish to go with Curried Chicken and Curried Duck Trini Style.
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