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Chana Masala

March 31, 2010

In college, I was forced to buy a 19-meal plan for the school’s dining hall.  I wasn’t forced by my parents.  They knew I’d never have trouble procuring food.  I was forced by the school.  Just like they forced me to take a swimming test to prove I could save myself from drowning before I graduated with my Biology degree.

The obligation to eat in the dining hall 19 meals a week cemented in my mind that food is love.  Food is the only way you can make friends, apparently.  Or, we’re so busy as college Freshies that the school would do us the favor of taking when, where, how, and what we eat off our mind.

Food.  Off my mind?  Yeah…no.

Or…the college saw demanding freshman pay for 19 meals a week in the dining hall was a get-rich-quick scheme.  By the time we’re Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, we were just too cocky to bow to such demands.

When I was a freshman, I didn’t spend much time contemplating the menu being served in the dining hall.  I was too much of a dollar-respecting-gal to abandon the already-paid for meals in favor of the cheez whiz and ritz cracker alternatives offered by my hallmates.

By the time I was a Senior, however, I only purchased 1 lone meal for the dining hall per week.  I was, after all, too busy cataloging every pulsing heartbeat of my mouse colony to worry about eating.  I worried about the mice eating, naturally.  But my own nutrition?  Purely afterthought.  Unless…

Chana Masala was on the dining hall menu.  I’d always know when chana masala was going to be served.  I’d log onto the dining hall website weekly to inventory the meals — I had to use my 1-meal-per week wisely.

And when I saw chana masala, the group emails began.  I’d alert fellow students.  Tuesday at dinner!  That’s when I’ll be there.  Let’s meet for a meal!  (Of course, I couched it as I’d love to eat dinner with you, darling, on Tuesday for dinner, that’s the only time I’m available so I truly hope you are too!).  Yes, yes…chana masala was easily the best entree served at the dining hall.  And this recipe is a darn close match.

One Year Ago: Homemade Peeps!

Chana Masala (5 servings, adapted from smitten kitchen)
nonstick vegetable spray
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (all juice included)
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced)

Heat nonstick spray in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes.

Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, paprika and garam masala.

Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.  Serve over cous cous or rice.

5 servings
Calories 244.4
Total Fat 3.4 g
Sodium 210.3 mg
Potassium 34.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 43.5 g
Dietary Fiber 11.6 g
Protein 12.3 g

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2010 2:48 pm

    I seriously might make this for dinner tonight. My husband won’t be home to complain about the lack of meat and I have all the ingredients in my pantry!

  2. March 31, 2010 6:07 pm

    I’m so jealous your cafeteria had this. I was stuck with baked potatoes and greasy mac and cheese. I LOVE chana masala!

  3. April 2, 2010 9:17 am

    Hi!! I’m Ashley from Ashley’s Little Kitchen and this week you won my giveaway! I mentioned in the post that I needed you to email me your home address so I can get your gift sent to you before June. BUT I forgot to include my email address. Can you send it to ashleynmoss at gmail dot com. Thanks and congrats!

  4. April 2, 2010 10:42 pm

    We never had anything so tasty in our dining hall. Although I do miss the soft serve station 🙂 I’m been so into Indian lately that this is right up my alley – yum!

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