The trade secret in making a mouth watering channa masala or any Indian curry for that matter, is how perfectly you cook the onion tomato paste. So let me share mine, the changes that significantly improved the recipe.
1. Tomatoes: While making tomato purée, use fresh ones and not canned. This may sound cliché but I still emphasise on this because, (I). Regular use of canned foods are not good for health. (II). Fresh produce is always clean and good and they taste much better. While making purée, I like to blanch my tomatoes, peel off the skin and then purée it. Normally people will purée the fresh tomatoes and then cook it. But I prefer to blanch them before I add it to the gravy. Blanching helps in keeping the fresh flavour, colour and texture of the tomatoes. This way I find it gets puréed properly and also the flavour of the gravy is enhanced.
2. Spice Mix: Next is the dry spice mix that is used. Some people use the common Punjabi dishes’ spice mix – cumin, coriander and garam masala powder. There is nothing harm in using this but then all your north Indian dishes would taste the same. There is a difference in the flavour and aroma of every dish. I prefer to use home made Channa masala spice mix. Try to get at least a store bought one. This brings out the exact flavour of the dish.
3. Coriander Leaves: Next is the optional step. You can say its our family version. We use a generous amount of fresh cilantro / coriander leaves and green chillies (of course this, according to one’s spice level) while grinding the wet masala. The fresh cilantro leaves gives a nice aromatic touch to this dish.
Enjoy this with Rice or Jeera Rice or any Indian flat bread. Here is the pictorial steps.