Recipe for Channa Masala

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Indian
Age: 56
Occupation: Corporate Manager
Residence: Pune, India
Date of Performance/Collection: April 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Hindi

Piece

Channa Masala

450 gms tinned, cooked channa or 2 cups of channa soaked in water overnight. Cook in 4 cups of water and salt to ½ teaspoon Salt For approximately 3 – 3.5 cups cooked channa

1 small onion chopped

¼ teaspoon ginger 

¼ teaspoon garlic 

Grind all the above three ingredients to a paste  —-(1)

¼ teaspoon cumin seed powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

¼ teaspoon chilli powder

¼ teaspoon garam masala

¼ teaspoon Aji’s masala powder

1 large tomato diced into small cubes

3 table spoons coriander leaves chopped finely

2 tablespoons oil

Heat a large heavy bottom container; add oil, followed by paste 1.

Saute` till pink or light brown in color. Add tomatoes, 1 tablespoon coriander leaves, turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin powder. Saute until the mixture starts to look rich brown and the oil starts to separate. 

Add the cooked channa and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until flavors blend. Add coriander leaves and serve hot with rice. 

Background

This is the legendary recipe for Chana Masala  (chickpeas in spices) passed down through generations on my mother’s side. This is my favorite food and my mother’s favorite food and so on. 

Context

This recipe has been passed through the ages. It isn’t exactly something that is unique to my family as all of India has their own takes on Channa Masala. This shows multiplicity and variation in the folklore. Interestingly enough,  there is a “secret ingredient” in this Channa which my mother calls Aji’s masala powder which means “Grandmother’s spice powder”.  All this time, I thought it was my grandmother’s spice powder, but now I realize that it is just  a term for a special secret mixture of spice powder that was passed down from my grandmother. 

Thoughts

    Recipes are interesting pieces of folklore as they are so important to survival. Food permeates through tradition and generations. An interesting thing about food is the multiplicity and variation in each instance. For example, my mother’s cooking varies from day to day and every time she makes the   dish is slightly different from the previous time.