Yes, you too can make a delicious vegan curry right in your own home!
I found this recipe for chana masala several years ago and have been using and modifying it ever since to whip up a quick and easy Indian-style dinner. While the recipe calls for chickpeas, I’ve often made it with mock chicken when sharing the dish with meat-eaters. Tonight I jazzed it up by adding peas, and I liked the result so much that they may become a permanent ingredient! This won’t taste exactly like what you’re used to getting from Indian restaurants, but it is a delicious curry that warms you up.
I usually start by mixing up the gravy so that it’s ready to pour right when I need it. To do this, I mix tomato paste, 1/3 of the called-for curry powder (I usually use Madras curry powder), coconut milk (I add about 1/2 cup to the recipe in place of the 3 TB of chickpea liquid), lemon juice (you can also use apple cider vinegar in a pinch), salt, black pepper, and crushed red chili flakes. I then whisk these ingredients with a fork until smooth. This way the flavors can meld while you prep everything else!
Next, I took a medium-sized pot and heated up some coconut oil on medium. You can use olive or canola oil if you prefer; I used coconut to go with the coconut milk in the gravy. Once heated through, you usually add onion and garlic and saute. However, I was out of both; so I instead added the vegan chik’n strips (I used Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Strips in this particular recipe) and green peas directly to the pan and sauteed them for a few minutes. I then added the remaining curry powder, along with some onion powder and garlic powder (to make up for the absence of their fresh counterparts), and stirred them in to incorporate over the chik’n and peas. It’s good to do this for up to five minutes before adding your gravy. If the powder starts sticking to the pan, add a little water (but not too much) to loosen it up a bit.
Once five minutes passed, I added the gravy and brought to a boil. Then, I simmered the curry for about five minutes more, stirring frequently so it wouldn’t stick (let’s not talk about the time I made this and some of it burned and stuck to the bottom of the pan). You can let it simmer longer if you like; it’s versatile that way. Once you’re ready to eat, you just serve it over rice. It’s very filling on its own, but also goes well with naan. Enjoy!