Charming Chana Masala & Lemon Basmathi Rice

I spent tonight rediscovering one of my favorite dishes that I used to cook in college, a spicy Indian chickpea dish called chana masala. I served it with rice and vegan naan bread that I found at my local Sprouts grocery. It is creamy and wonderful, and feel free to vary the spice level with the addition of more cayenne because it is pretty mild as is.

Lemon Basmathi Rice
1 C basmathi rice
2 C water
juice of 1 lemon (use more to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 dried chili pepper (optional)

1. Rinse and drain rice several times with cool water
2. After draining a final time add all ingredients to rice cooker and follow instructions

Chana Masala
curry leaves (optional)
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated into a paste
1/4 inch piece ginger, grated into a paste
salt (dash)
28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
2 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 C water
1/2 C light coconut milk
1 handful of cilantro
Dry mix
heaping Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp amchur powder

1. In a large skillet heat olive oil to medium. Add curry leaves, onions, garlic, ginger and a dash of salt. Cook about 6 minutes (don't let onions brown).
2. In a large bowl pour contents of canned tomatoes and squeeze whole tomatoes to a pulp (with your hands)
3. Add tomatoes and dry spice mix and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. The sauce should thicken.
4. Add chickpeas and cup of water and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add coconut milk and a dash of salt and cook for another minute, gently stirring.
6. Add cilantro only at the end or use as a garnish.
This tastes as vibrant as it looks!