I remember the first time I had Indian food.

Well now that’s not exactly true. I do remember that it was Mr. B and I’s first night in London and we had just spent the better half of the night at a club call the Ghetto with Michael. So when we stopped and ate Indian food at five in the morning you could imagine that I was gulping it down like a Big Mac instead of enjoying the fact that I was eating a foreign food for the first time. I guess survival always wins.

Today I thought I would share with you a simple Indian dinner that packs a whole lot of flavor with a few simple ingredients.

But first let me introduce you to the star ingredient in today’s dish: Garam Masala.

This spice is a staple in Indian cooking. When translated, garam means “hot or heating” and masala means, “a spice blend.”  When you hear the word hot it doesn’t automatically denote heat like cayenne but more of a warmth like chili powder. Many of the spices found in garam masala are familiar to us in dessert cooking. You know cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise. But depending on the region of India you might find bay leaves, cumin, coriander, fennel and caraway blended in the mixture.

The best thing, you don’t have to travel to India to find this spice blend. You can find garam masala right in your grocery store! Booyah!

Okay, back to today’s recipe. Channa Masala is a very common vegetable dish throughout India. Like I said before this dish is packed with flavor and only takes minutes to make.

Chickpeas, ginger, onion, jalepeno’s and tomato paste are just a few of the ingredients that make this dish sing.

I promise once you make this recipe you will want to visit India!

Or at least make a pit stop in London.

Spicy Channa Masala

(recipe from Eat Live Run)

Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 inch knob ginger, peeled and chopped
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon tumeric
2 tablespoons butter
Sour cream, garnish
Cilantro, garnish

In a large skillet, heat the butter. Once melted, add the onions and cook for about 15 minutes on medium low heat, or until golden brown.Once the onions have caramelized, add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno and stir well. Cook for about two minutes.

Add the tomato paste and let it cook out for it bit.  Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne and tumeric and stir well. Then add the diced tomatoes, chickpeas and garam masala. Cook for about five minutes or until the chickpeas have heated through. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and top with sour cream and cilantro if desired!