Chana Masala with Butternut Squash

What do you do when you really want a certain recipe, but you don’t have the ingredients? Well, if you are anything like me a few years back, you just move on and make something else. Or you complain to your wife and hope she makes something even better.

This recipe came out of my desire for Chana Masala, a dish I love making, and love eating even more. The aromas while this is cooking are absolutely divine! And the flavor is even more so. Here’s how I made it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 cans)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 4 to 5 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 3 TBSP olive oil, divided
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 1/2 TBSP masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 large butternut squash, diced to 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut cream
  • 1 TBSP gluten-free flour
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

For the chickpeas:

I always go with fresh cooked chickpeas, because it allows me to add them to the dish when they’re still a little firm. Letting the chickpeas finish cooking in the masala allows them to absorb the flavors, giving the dish a much richer taste. However, to save time, you can use canned chickpeas, just don’t add them until nearly the end of the recipe below. If you want to cook your own, here’s a link that shows how to prepare them using several different techniques.

For the rice:

Add the basmati rice and 2 cups of the vegetable broth into a saucepan over high heat. Allow to come to a boil, then turn down to simmer, cover the pot and let cook according to package directions. When the rice is done, add 1 TBSP of olive oil and the chopped parsley or cilantro and mix to combine. Set aside, but keep warm.

For the chana masala:

Heat the remaining 2 TBSP olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until tender and the onions begin to turn translucent.

Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more, stirring throughout to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the masala, cumin, coriander, and chili powder and stir to ensure everything is well coated. Cook for 30 seconds, then add 1 cup of the vegetable broth and the butternut squash. Cook until the squash is tender throughout, about 5-7 minutes. Maintain enough liquid in the pan to keep the mixture from drying out by adding 1/4th cup vegetable broth as needed.

Add in the pre-cooked chickpeas and stir to combine. Then add enough vegetable broth to ensure everything is covered. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down to simmer and cook until the chickpeas are soft. Taste for flavor and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Add the coconut cream and stir to combine. Remove 2 to 3 tablespoons of the liquid and place in a small bowl. Add the flour to the bowl and whisk until smooth, then pour this mixture back into the chana masala. Continue to simmer until the sauce thickens and mostly evaporates.

You’re ready to serve! You can serve this over the rice, next to the rice, or however creative you want to be! Enjoy!

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