Channa Masala with Swiss Chard
I don’t know about you, but nothing screams comfort food to me like a plate of hot channa masala with puris. I can actually recall many childhood memories where I was plain ecstatic to be served this classic combo for a meal. I now find myself devouring 5-6 puris with channa, and even after that many puris I have a hard time stopping myself from taking more! It all starts with a great Channa masala, or Chole (cho-lay), as I grew up calling it.
The simplest way to prepare Channa masala is to use canned garbanzo beans… but over the past few years I have stopped using any canned foods (except for canned organic coconut milk). I now buy my beans dried. I first soak the beans overnight in a bowl of water, using a large bowl because the beans expand as they soak. The next morning, I pressure cook them with a little turmeric, salt, and water. They are then ready to go!
For the two and a half cups of cooked garbanzo beans needed for this recipe, soak a cup and a half of dried beans in about 3 cups of water (5 hrs-overnight). When the beans have doubled in size, pressure cook them with about 1 tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of turmeric. The time it takes to cook the beans will vary depending on your pressure cooker, so be sure to check the manual. I like my garbanzo beans cooked on the softer side, as I find that it absorbs the spices better and makes for a more flavorful curry.
I tried a few different greens in this healthier version of Channa masala, and I concluded that I enjoyed the combination of swiss chard with garbanzo beans the most. I’m always looking to add a healthy twist to classic recipes, so I’m really glad this experiment worked out!
Channa Masala with Swiss Chard
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large red onion (chopped fine)
1” ginger (grated)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp red chilli powder (optional)
2.5 cups garbanzo beans (cooked)
2 cups chopped swiss chard (stems removed)
2 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp coriander leaves/ cilantro (chopped)
Salt to taste
Take about 2 tbsp of the cooked garbanzo beans and mash them with the back of a fork and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the onions with ½ tsp salt, over medium heat. When the onions are translucent, add the ginger and saute until the onions are golden.
Add the turmeric, cumin, red chilli, and coriander powders. Saute until they release their flavors. Add the garam masala and saute another minute.
Add the mashed beans with a little water to create a thick paste and stir in the remaining garbanzo beans. Add about ¼ cup water, reduce the heat to med-low, and allow the beans to simmer for about 15 min with the lid closed, stirring occasionally.
At this point, add the swiss chard and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.
Once the liquid has thickened a little, check the salt, adding more if needed. Stir in the lime juice and coriander leaves, and turn off the heat.
Enjoy with rice or puris, with a dollop of ghee - the ghee turns it from yummy to divine!
- Garbanzo beans are light and can be aggravating to Vata dosha, especially during the dry winter months. If you have a craving for Channa masala, add some ghee to your serving to add a grounding quality to your meal.