Serves 4 to 6.
Note: The allure of chana masala is deep: Golden, creamy chickpeas glimmer in an orangey-red tomato sauce, and spices perfume the dish. Onion, chile and cilantro provide contrasting freshness and crunch. If you prefer a spicier dish, leave the seeds in the serrano chiles. Serve with rice or naan. From “The Complete Autumn and Winter Cookbook” (America’s Test Kitchen, 2021).
• 1 small red onion, quartered, divided
• 10 sprigs fresh cilantro, stems and leaves separated
• 1 (1 1/2-in.) piece ginger, peeled and chopped coarsely
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
• 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, halved, seeded, and sliced thin crosswise, divided
• 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
• 1 (14.5-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes
• 1 tsp. paprika
• 1 tsp. ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
• 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
• 2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas, undrained
• 1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
• 1/2 tsp. table salt
• Lime wedges
Chop three-quarters of onion coarsely; reserve remaining quarter for garnish. Cut cilantro stems into 1-inch lengths. Process chopped onion, cilantro stems, ginger, garlic and half of serranos in food processor until finely chopped, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, about 20 seconds. Combine onion mixture and oil in large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until onion is fully softened and beginning to stick to saucepan, 5 to 7 minutes.
While onion mixture cooks, process tomatoes and their juice in now-empty food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add paprika, cumin, turmeric and fennel seeds to onion mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chickpeas and their liquid and processed tomatoes and bring to boil. Adjust heat to maintain simmer, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. While mixture cooks, chop reserved onion fine.
Stir garam masala and salt into chickpea mixture and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are softened and sauce is thickened, 8 to 12 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Transfer to wide, shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with chopped onion, remaining serranos, and cilantro leaves and serve, passing lime wedges separately. (Chana masala can be refrigerated for up to two days. To reheat, bring to gentle simmer, covered, and cook until hot throughout, adjusting consistency with hot water as needed.)