First and foremost, let me be clear that is not meant to be an authentic chana masala recipe. This version was born on a chilly, breezy afternoon while camping on California’s stunning Lost Coast. We had spent the afternoon hiking amongst candelabra redwoods, eating wild blackberries and taking in the unbelievable beauty of the Sinkyone Area. There weren’t many people around since it was the middle of the week so there was total solitude.
This patch of the California coast is in the middle of nowhere with two of the best amenities in a place that beautiful: zero reception and zero light pollution. Luckily, we stocked up on groceries on the way and the loose plan was chana masala because the day was fuss-free and dinner needed to match. I opened up the “pantry” to find two beautiful, forgotten sweet potatoes. They needed to be used. Why not? Couldn’t hurt. I began constructing our meal while we chatted about our day and snacked. Pretty soon, dinner was simmering away on the stove while we headed off for a golden hour walk on the beach.
We had gotten to wash the day off of ourselves in a crystal clear (frigid) creek and the whiskey gingers we sipped eased all existing ‘crinkles’ in our muscles. We made our way back to our ’87 Westfalia Vanagon and the smell of dinner waiting for us relaxed us further. It just so happens that the Pacific Ocean air and a pot of sweet potato channa masala compliment each other beautifully.
‣ If you’ve never used spice mixes from the Indian market before, hopefully, this recipe will make you want to start! It’s definitely worth your while to order a box from Amazon or make a trip to an Indian/International Market. That way, you can have something different on the rare occasions where PB&J just doesn’t sound good for dinner. It’s also a great way to put a spin on pretty much any combination of veggies and proteins without having to keep all of these spices on hand separately. If, for some reason, you absolutely cannot get your hands on chana masala powder, 1 Tbsp chili powder + another Tbsp of equal parts cumin, garlic, clove, and turmeric will do the trick.
‣ For an extra boost of nutrition, throw in some kale, spinach or your favorite leafy green at the end and stir until wilted.
3green chilis, , halved with stem OR 1 jalapeño pepper, halved with the stem (optional)
1-2tomatoes, , diced OR 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved OR 1/2 cup canned tomato of any kind
2tablespoonsMDH Channa Masala Powder
2sweet potatoes, , peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
2(14 oz)cans chickpeas
Thinly Sliced Red Onion
Stove Top Rice
1 ½cupwater, or stock
To Make the Chana Masala
Over medium heat, sauté onion, jalapeño and a pinch of salt until onions are golden.
Add 2 rounded tbsp chana masala powder and tomatoes, sauté until a thick paste is formed.
Add sweet potatoes, stir to coat the potatoes evenly, put on the lid and let it steam for about 5 mins.
Remove lid, add the two cans of chick peas with liquid + whatever else you need so that the sweet potatoes are submerged. If you choose to drain the chickpeas, about 2 cans worth of liquid + 1 tsp of salt should do it.
Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, reduce, simmer for 30 mins and stir halfway through. The sweet potatoes should start to break down pretty easily with a few stirs. This is when you can fish the peppers out and adjust salt as needed. We prefer a little more salty than sweet but it’s up to you.
Spoon over some piping hot, buttery rice and garnish with red onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. You can also eat this with minute rice, your favorite store-bought naan, or even toasted hamburger/hot dog buns for an exotic “sloppy joe” experience.
To Make the Stove Top Rice
Bring rice and liquid to a boil over high heat.
Once boiling, stir in butter while loosening any rice stuck to the bottom.
Turn the heat down to low, put on the lid and set a timer to 12 mins.
Give it a quick fluff with a fork just before serving.
Sharp knife & cutting board Pot with a lid Wooden spoon Bowls & utensils for serving
MAKE IT VEGAN
Replace the butter in the rice with oil.
*Nutrition info is an estimate based on information provided by myfitnesspal.com
About The Author
Shruthi Lapp has been living, working and food-ing in her ’87 Westfalia Vanagon since April 2016. Her most treasured on-the-road companions are her cast iron skillet, a camera and a good cup of coffee. She is currently exploring and eating her way through South America. Follow along @holidayatsee or at holidayatsee.com