Paneer chana masala is basically the yummy combination of a classic, spicy, tomatoey Indian chickpea curry with added paneer. 🙂
I really felt like making a curry today and thought I’d put my stash of canned chickpeas to good use with a chana masala. 🙂 I decided to add paneer because not only does it add a boost of flavour, but it’s also a great way to up the protein and calcium content a bit. And let’s face it, paneer – and cheese in general – has that ability to make everything better, am I right? 😉
For those who aren’t familiar with paneer, it’s an unaged, non-melting curd cheese that’s commonly eaten in India and South Asia in general. It has a really yummy but mild flavour and the fact that it doesn’t melt makes it a great ingredient to add to cooked dishes like curries in place of meat. You can find it in most supermarkets here in the UK (and independent ethnic corner shops). This is the one I usually get –> here.
This is actually a fairly easy dish to make and as Indian curries go, it’s much quicker than most! It’s pretty cheap to make as well considering how inexpensive chickpeas are. Especially if you buy them from the world food aisle at your supermarket instead of the normal canned food aisle. The price difference is huge, seriously. Usually 4 x 400g tins for £1! So if you’re looking to save a bit of money (and stay away from the ridiculously priced free from section), this is a great, affordable, naturally gluten free recipe to try. 🙂
Paneer chana masala recipe:
Yields: 4-5 portions
- 2 x 400g canned chickpeas
- 235g paneer
- 3 small onions (2 cups worth)
- 5 salad tomatoes
- 3 Tbsp fresh garlic
- 3 Tbsp fresh ginger
- Fresh coriander
- 3 green chillies (I used finger chillies)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp mango purée (honey or sugar will do if you don’t have any)
- Salt (up to 1 tsp)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup (235ml) water
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil (or cooking oil of your choice)
- 1 + 1/2 Tbsp garam masala (whole pieces)
- 1 + 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 7 tsp coriander powder
- 1 + 1/2 turmeric
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- 3 tsp ground garam masala (or to taste)
Note: I’m using a pre-made garam masala mix (East End) made with coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cardamon pods, cassia, dry ginger, bay leaves and whole cloves.
- Cut the paneer into cubes, finely chop the chillies, slice the onion, garlic and ginger and roughly chop the tomatoes.
- Heat up the oil on low/medium heat and pan fry the paneer cubes until they start turning golden brown. Set aside.
- In the same oil, pan fry the onion, garlic and ginger until soft and set aside to cool down a bit. Just fish them out of the oil so you can keep on using it later in the recipe.
- Once cooled, blend the onion, garlic and ginger together with a bit of water. Set aside. Note: you don’t actually have to fry the onion, garlic and ginger first if you want to save time – some do, some don’t – I just personally prefer the flavour when it’s fried first.
- Blend the tomatoes with a bit of water. Set aside.
- Turn the heat back on to low and add the cumin seeds and whole garam masala in the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the blended onion, garlic and ginger along with the coriander powder, turmeric and chilli powder.
- Once fragrant, add the blended tomatoes and chillies, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the chickpeas and paneer with a bit of extra water (about 1 cup/235ml), the ground garam masala and tomato paste. Keep on simmering for a few minutes.
- Add some chopped up fresh coriander (as much as you want – the more the better!) and lemon juice. Cook briefly.
- Serve with a lot of extra fresh coriander on top.