Part Time Vegetarian {Chana Masala}

Did you know I was vegetarian for a year? I was! Well I still ate fish, eggs, and cheese and steak on my Birthday. So I was pretty lousy at it, but it was something I’m very happy to have experienced. I went veg for three reasons;

  1. Animal agriculture is responsible for a gigantic amount of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions,
  2. Meat all the time isn’t that great for you and I wanted to be healthier,
  3. I love animals and don’t think there is any way to ethically justify eating them.

Unfortunately I love the taste of animals more and now munch on them with a wild guilty indulgence. The sight of this years Easter turkey, complete with bacon weave topping, nearly moved me to tears so grateful was I to be feasting on its golden roasted flesh.

So now I try to return to my vegetarian roots (sorry, terrible pun but I’m leaving it in) at least a couple times a week. A part-time vegetarian if you will.  Last night’s main course was not only vegetarian, but vegan!  No seafood or dairy products here, which is good for me because usually my veggie meals are drowning in cheese.

Chana Masala recipe adapted from April 2012 edition of Canadian Living

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs grated fresh ginger
  • bunch of cilantro
  • Fleur de Sel, or other large grain salt
  • 2 tsp each chili powder, ground cumin, and masala tandoori seasoning
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp brown sugar, packed
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 small zucchini, diced

Throw the onions in a large pot, I used my wok, and drizzle enough olive oil over them to coat, cook on medium-low until softened. Add the garlic and ginger, give it a stir. In a mortar and pestle, add a few sprigs of cilantro + a pinch of salt and grind into a paste. Keep adding sprigs and salt until you get a teaspoon of paste. Mix it in and keep everything on a low simmer.

can you find me in this picture?

Stir in the spices, 2 cups of water, tomato paste, brown sugar, chickpeas, and zucchini.  Make sure to mix in the browned scrapings from the side of the pan. Cook until the zucchini bits are just tender and the sauce is thickened. Serve with cilantro for garnish and enjoy!

Now, if you are vegan stop here. If not read on to learn the trick for heating up store-bought naan bread. Naan has milk and eggs in it so it is not vegan, but it is delicious and almost mandatory when eating Indian food. Are you ready? Here it is: sprinkle it with water. Lay each piece on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with water. Well I literally brush water all over the top with my fingers. Doing this makes the naan nice and soft and as good as you can get at home doing next to no work. So smother with water and put in a 250 degree oven for about 5 minuets. We like use the naan to get right in there and scoop up the chana masala and stuff it into our faces.

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