Just like sambhar, Channa masala is also a dish that tastes different from one kitchen to the other. While there are so many ways to make it, here is the simple version. I call as the simple one as it involves only sauteing onions, tomatoes and masala powders. No grinding involved. So let's move to the recipe.
Boiled channa- 2 1/2 cups
cinnamon stick- 1"
red onion- 1 (medium size, finely chopped)
ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
green chillies- 1 (slit)
tomatoes- 1 (big, finely chopped)
tamarind paste- 1/2 tsp (optional)
chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
corrianderpowder- 1 tsp
cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Any channa masala powder- 1/2 tsp (optional, I did not use in mine)
Jaggary- 1/4 tsp (can add more. But my hubby dosen't like it , so I added less)
corriander leaves- 1/2 cup
water- 2 cups
salt- as required
Soak channa in water overnight. Next day pressure cook for 2 whistles (depends upon your cooker) with some salt and turmeric. One of my Rajasthani friend adds a tea bag while pressure cooking channas. It does impart some color and flavor to the dish. Don't over do the tea bags. When I first tried it , I think I added 5 bags and you can imagine the color that my channa finally had. But I did not use tea bags here.
Heat oil in Kadai and fry cinnamon stick and cloves. Then fry onions with some turmeric until golden brown. Then add ginger garlic paste. After a few minutes add tomatoes and cook until it is all pulpy.
Now it's time to add all the masala powders and saute for atleast 5 minutes in a medium flame taking care that the masala powder dosen't get burned. Then add tamarind paste and saute for a minute. Next add water and bring to a nice boil and the gravy becomes a little thick. Test for seasonings. Add more if needed. Then add boiled channa, jaggary and bring to a nice boil one more time. Finally add the corriander leaves and mix well.
You can serve this with puri, chappathi and dosas. To make a chat out of this, you can pour this channa masala in a plate and top it off with some finely chopped red onions, diced tomatoes, beaten curd, sweet & spicy tamarind sauce, sev, some corriander chutney and lemon juice. You can eat it as it is or serve it with some buttered toast or cutlet. The possibilities are countless. Just use your imagination...