We live in the best neighborhood. I often think how I could phrase the value of our house when we sell it one day. I would write:
The real value of this home is not in the yard, square footage, or the high-arc brushed nickel kitchen facet that I love. The true value is that you have neighbors like the Thompsons and the Hopkins, who will bring you homemade food at random, babysit your children for free, and stop and talk to you when you see them outside. The true value is the elderly man down the street you don’t even know who secretly clears your side walks and driveway when it snows. The real value is in the friendly mail carrier who leaves you notes and treats for your daughter in your mailbox on holidays and waves to you every chance she gets. The paint job and cute patio are great, but the people are the real prize here.
Case in point: we’ve received meals from several of our neighbors with the birth of our new baby, and they’ve been delicious, plant-based meals! One of them was Chickpea Tikka Masala and homemade naan. I mean, who gives away meals that labor-intensive?! I asked our neighbor how she made it, and am writing this blog post so I can remember and make it again and again. It’s super nutritious, flavorful, cheap, minimal ingredients, and made in one pot. It’s rich in protein and fiber and tons of other nutrients from the vegetables and spices.
I don’t know how I’ve missed such a recipe all this time. Although I haven’t tested it, I would wager you can also throw all the ingredients into a slow-cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Your kitchen would smell like an Indian restaurant all day. Swoon.
What is Tikka Masala?
Tikka Masala is an Indian dish that is usually made of chicken in a creamy, spicy tomato sauce, and served over rice or with naan (Indian flat bread). Tikka means “cutlets of meat” and masala means “mixture of spices.” It has a rich depth of flavor with tons of spices in it, like coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, etc. (you’d think it would be called the Indian C-spice blend!). To make this easier, this recipe just uses garam masala, which is a pre-made blend of these spices. If you’d like to make your own garam masala, here is a simple recipe. It is also noted in the recipe card below. Although flavorful, it is not necessarily hot spicy. If you’d like it to be, add some red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, or leave the jalapeño seeds in.
If you’d like to take this meal up a notch, serve it with vegan, whole-grain naan.
Do you like chickpea recipes? Me, too! You’ll also love these Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
A lightened-up version of Chicken Tikka Masala that features vegetables and chickpeas in a flavorful Indian-spiced sauce.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 cups cauliflower florets, chopped or riced (fresh or frozen)
- 1 TBSP garam masala*
- 2 TBSP grated fresh ginger (about 2 inches of ginger root)
- 1 jalepeno, seeds removed and minced
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 2 cans chickpeas (or 3 cups, cooked)
- 2 14-oz cans petite diced tomatoes
- 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
- 1 handful chopped cilantro
- brown rice and/or whole-grain naan
- additional cilantro or fresh jalepenos
Start cooking brown rice. Chop all ingredients.
In a large pot or skillet, saute onions, garlic, carrots and cauliflower. Add small amounts of water if the bottom starts to turn brown. Stir and cook about 5 minutes, until carrots start to get tender.
Add garam masala, ginger, and jalepeno. Cook 1 minute to wake up the spices.
Add diced tomatoes and 2 cups of water. If desired, spoon half the mixture into a blender and puree for less chunkiness. Return to the pot.
Add chickpeas and bring to a hardy simmer on medium-high heat. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Stir in coconut milk and cilantro. Add salt to taste. I add between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon, depending on if I use water or vegetable broth as the liquid. Add additonal garam masala to taste if you'd like deeper flavor, starting with an additional teaspoon.
Serve over rice or with naan, and with addional cilantro, jalepeno, and lime wedges if desired.
*To make your own garam masala blend, stir together the following:
1 TBSP cumin
1.5 tsp coriander
1.5 tsp cardamom
1.5 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Adapted from this recipe by Foodie with Family.