Recently I went to Trader Joes (aka, my second home), and bought their frozen Chana Masala. Chana masala isn't even in my top tier of Indian food choices (I'm a saag kind of girl), but let me tell you, it was pretty delicious. Of course, having had it in all its deliciousness made me want to learn to make my own (because thats how I am).
So, a perusal of the internets began.I found a number of recipes, but this lady was by far and away not only the cutest of them all, but the biggest influence on my ultimate product.
(I preface this with my usual caveat about how I come from a Nordic people who do not make curry, so everything here is based on me liking stuff, not necessarily me being super authentic and making everything definitively. Plus, I like to experiment too much to make anything definitively, anyways).
Take a diced onion and slowly saute in some oil. I think that slowness is the key here, so that they get really soft, translucent, and a bit brown.
After they've been going for a bit, throw in a few cloves of diced garlic and some diced fresh ginger (I love ginger, so probably used about 3/4 of an inch of a plug of ginger). Then toss in a diced jalapeno (seeded). Let them cook until the onions are really nice and soft. Put in some cumin and coriander seeds and let them pop.
Now, dump in a can of crushed (crushed! must be crushed!) tomatoes, and stir around. Add 1/2-1tsp tumeric, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 2-3tsp coriander, and stir it all up and let it cook a bit.
Then, dump in a can of drained chickpeas. Let it simmer for a while- you might need to add a bit of water, but this amount of tomatoes actually provides a lot of liquid. To thicken, just smush a couple of the chickpeas, which will release their starch. After its been cooking and the beans seem soft and the sauce tastes pretty good, add a little salt and 1/4-1/2 tsp garam masala. Right before you serve add a big squeeze of lemon and some cilantro and let that sit a second.
This was goooooooooood. And, cheeeaaaaaaaaap. (if you have your budget cooking basic ingredients, you are almost entirely good to go!).