Chana Masala for Two!

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You might think it is odd to make a warming dish like this when it is so hot, but its the tail end of tomato season and I wanted to take full advantage of the hierlooms I picked up at the farmers market last week. And making an Indian dish for an Indian summer made me feel like I was in some sort of alignment with my surroundings. Like this was supposed to be made right now- not to mention I had all the ingredients on hand eliminating the need to go to Trader Joes which can be a zoo. Although it is still quite warm in LA it might actually be cooling down significantly where you are, so for those of you who are in legit sweater weather, this recipe is for you.

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This dish is designed to feed two, which is relative because some people eat more than others, but I think it provides decent portions nonetheless. So…, you want to know why I was moved to build a meal for two? So glad you asked! Heres a little back story for you: I am dating a new guy and unlike my last boyfriend, he does not like to cook… like at all (unless you count making popcorn, in which case he is a pro). This does have its upsides though, as he has taken me to so many new vegan resturants that I have been wanting to try for ages including Crossroads Kitchen in West Hollywood,  Au Lac in DTLA, Plant Food and Wine in Venice, eLOVate in Santa Monica, Sage Plant Based Bistro in Echo Park, and Shojin in Culver City to name a few. Additionally, it means I get to spend more time honing my skills in the kitchen, becoming a better chef and I am regularly cooking for two mouths instead of one. Although having leftovers the next day to take to work is awesome and convenient, I thought it might be fun to occasionally post recipes that are specifically designed to feed you and your person perfectly. <3. Sometimes sweet romantic things get to me, like the scene in Lady and the Tramp when they are sharing pasta and accidentally kiss because they slurp up the same piece of spaghetti. I can’t even.

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Not only is this meal super easy to prepare, you could easily double or triple the recipe if you wanted leftovers to eat the next couple of days. I won’t be offended if you bypass the ‘this is a meal for two’ aspect. I get that we are busy humans, short on time and sometimes need to make things in bulk.

So what is this Chana Masala taste  like? Well…

Its spicy, bright, warming, filling, savory, sour, and delicious!

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I am currently listening too and loving this album, I am looking forward to seeing them play next month in NYC.

Chana Masala for Two!

September 30, 2015
Serves 2 People
Prep time
Cook Time


Recipe adapted from The First Mess


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  • 1 Tablespoon
    coconut oil
  • 1/2
    white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 Teaspoon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon
    turmeric powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon
    curry powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon
  • 1
    small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2
    inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 Teaspoon
    chili powder, or 1/2 fresh chili seeded and minced
  • 1
    small strip of lemon peel, white pith included, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon
    tomato paste
  • 1 Cup
    diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup
    vegetable stock
  • 1 3/4 Cup
  • pink salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon
    fresh lemon juice
  • chopped cilantro for serving
  • 3 Cups
    cooked rice, for serving


  1. Prep you ingredients as stated above.

    In a medium soup pan add the coconut oil and heat over medium. Once hot, add the onion and stir to coat evenly with the oil. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until translucent.

  2. Next, add the cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and curry powder to the pot. Stir it around to get the spices evenly mixed with the onion and oil for 1 minute. Then add the garlic, ginger, chili and lemon peel to the pan and stir for another minute or so until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomato paste and stir again.

  3. Pour in the diced tomatoes, stiring to scrap up the spices from the sides and bottom on pan. Next add the veggie stock, chickpeas and bring to a boil. Then cover with a lid and lower to simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down significantly. Stir the masala every 5-7 minutes during the simmer process to help break down the tomatoes more quickly.

  4. Right before serving stir the lemon juice into the masala. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Divide the rice amongst two bowls, spoon on the masala and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve hot and enjoy.

    You can also serve with flabread, pita, or qunioa if you prefer!

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  • Even if your new man doesn’t cook, at least he appreciates good food and takes you out! A meal for two is sometimes what you need – sometimes we just end up with so many left overs it is ridiculous – but in the same breath, having leftovers can be perfect for supplying meals for the next few days. Do you think it would freeze well? 🙂

    • Hi Claudia! I completely agree, so happy to be taken out and glad he appreciates my cooking! Also- i am so on the same page with leftovers 🙂 I do think this would freeze really well, except I am not so sure about the rice being frozen, but the masala would freeze without a problem and still be really good! xoxo

  • Pingback: Easy Vegan Pumpkin Chili | Caras Kitchen()

  • I adore chana masala and I am so making this for lunch today! Beautiful photos! Looks great. 🙂

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