An easy chickpea curry (also known as chana masala) is an always-welcome, practically last-minute meal.
When it comes to creating the deliciously complex flavors of Indian cuisine, there’s no getting around the need for spices. Just dumping curry powder into a dish like this easy chickpea curry (aka chana masala) just doesn’t cut it.
But what, like me, you’re too lazy to roast and grind and mix and measure all the myriad spices that are needed to create the incredible flavors of Indian cuisine?
Indian simmer sauce — a shortcut to great flavor: Now you can do what I do — just grab a jar of Indian simmer sauce. This new favorite shortcut makes any dish you make taste like it came from a great Indian restaurant. It makes quick work of getting dinner on the table and is a lot more economical than getting take-out for three or four people.
Look for Indian simmer sauces in the Asian foods section in supermarkets and natural foods stores. Check labels to make sure you’re getting a vegan variety, as some do contain dairy. See some suggestions in the notes section of the recipe.
Serve this warming chickpea curry with a simple salad or a platter of raw veggies. Add a hot cooked grain if you’d like, as suggested in the recipe. Brown or white Basmati rice are ideal, or quinoa, if you’d like to depart from tradition.
Add fresh flatbread: Splurge for a vegan naan if you can find some (otherwise very fresh pita will do) for a heftier meal. For another dish using Indian simmer sauce along the similar lines, you might also enjoy the cauliflower and chickpea stew shown at the bottom of this post, as well as Quick Indian Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or other vegetable oil
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 12-ounce jar or container Indian simmer sauce (see Note)
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh or squeeze-bottle ginger
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, or more, to taste
- Hot cooked rice (delicious with Basmati), optional
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two over low heat.
- Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, simmer sauce, and ginger in to the pan and heat to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the cilantro and serve over hot cooked grains if you'd like.
Indian simmer sauces are available in the Asian foods section of well-stocked supermarkets, and they are delicious! For this dish, some choices of dairy-free simmer sauces include Madras curry (which is fairly spicy) Goan coconut, rogan josh, and jalfrezi.
Photos above by Nesavinov/Bigstock
If you like this chickpea curry, you might also enjoy:
See more easy vegan main dishes