A week into October and finally posting some pumpkin, only it isn’t pumpkin spice or sugary sweet. Instead going savory with Chana Masala with Pumpkin and Crispy Coconut Rice. Yes I am aware traditional Chana Masala is not made with pumpkin but I was making some for Baby G and had planned on making my Sweet Potato Yellow Curry with pumpkin but decided to switch things up!
While I was pregnant I got a love for curry, but it didn’t really get into it until after Baby G was born. Every since he was born my love for Thai and Indian food has been crazy. Luckily my husband is down with these cravings, the girls not so much. I’ve always loved Thai food, Indian food I haven’t had too much but remember the first time I had it as it was so memorable. Funny story, the first time we had Indian food as a family was in Ireland where it was very popular and very good, we all LOVED it. Guess we should have made it a regular thing when we got back home so they still loved it.
So I keep playing with recipes and hoping they’ll finally love it as much as we do. Luckily they’re all about homemade Naan bread and A (the youngest daughter) loves chickpeas and some of the dishes. S (the oldest daughter) who use to be a rice connoisseur is still a fan although she doesn’t love it as much as she use to. So long story short I can make delicious Thai and Indian food and there is something everyone loves even if it isn’t the final “sometimes fancy” meal. So A might run to the fridge and grab fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, balsamic, and evoo for her Naan (or hummus) and a side of veggies. S will end up with rice, Naan, and whatever because recently we’ve hit the picky teenage years. Here is where I would insert an eye roll emoji or 2.
I made a few attempts at this Chana Masala with Pumpkin. The first with larger chunks of pumpkin that didn’t cook as quick as I would have liked them too and letting my husband pick the peppers and taste test. By the time it was done I was HANGRY and it was so SPICY it literally took my breath away. This batch didn’t even make to the girls for testing. I then tried to cook and mash the pumpkin for a thicker sauce, but really it wasn’t that pretty and reminded me more of a Indian Chili if there were such a thing.
Finally I got a mild version where you can taste all the flavors and it pairs perfectly with Naan and or Crispy Coconut Rice, or just rice the options are endless. Although I will say if you have never made Naan bread, DO IT! It’s so simple and delicious! I even bought a larger cast iron “pizza pan” to make more Naan at a time or as A requested larger Naan bread so we can make quick Naan pizzas. Which is perfect for when the family wants homemade pizza but didn’t give me enough notice to make the dough for our Neapolitan Pizza Crust. My husband is in charge of the Naan bread, he makes a standard recipe and I cook it a couple minutes per side on the cast iron pan and then he finishes it out on the grill. We add garlic and herbs but lately make it plain and add them on after so all the leftovers (we usually make a double batch) for lunches, sandwiches, sweet or savory combos.
My Chana Masala with Pumpkin as mentioned has pumpkin which isn’t in a traditional recipe but it has pretty much all the other traditional ingredients minus the Amchoor powder (aka mango powder) as I couldn’t find it anywhere. The main ingredient of Chana Masala is chickpeas, and then it has the other usual ingredients like onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and spices.
I planned on serving with coconut rice and Naan bread and then saw Bobby Flay post a Crispy Coconut Rice on Rachel Ray. It was on in the background last week when Baby G was sick so I decided to make it again and try it with that since A had a friend over Friday and wanted to have homemade Naan bread. S thought it was just ok, I honestly thought she’d like it more as it was crunchy like hash browns and she loves those and fried rice actually both girls do (as does my husband). A, the non rice fan, actually liked it a lot. Just when you think you know what your kids like they change their minds, seriously I can’t keep up.
There are 4 ways to enjoy Chana Masala with Pumpkin, with Crispy Coconut Rice, plain Coconut Rice, with Naan Bread, or both. Well I guess that would be 5 depending on how you enjoy the coconut rice, or technically 7 if you decide to just have plain rice or plain rice and Naan bread.
While I would prefer to enjoy this on a Friday or Saturday night with a glass of wine and Netflix or a movie it’s also perfect for Meatless Monday! There are more great Meatless Monday recipes linked up below and as always Deborah and I hope you join us and look forward to what’s cooking in your kitchen for Meatless Monday!
Chana Masala with Pumpkin and Crispy Coconut Rice
Traditional Chana Masala with a fun fall twist! Chana Masala with Pumpkin and Crispy Coconut Rice is an easy to make Indian dish enjoyed with Crispy Coconut Rice and optional Naan bread. Gluten free and vegan it's easier that take-out and makes a cozy comforting meal any night of the week.
1/2Cfresh cilantro, chopped(about half a bunch with the big stems removed)
2fresh red Thai chilies, stem removed and chopped(1 whole with seeds for very mild, 3 for more spice)
1TBSP ground coriander
1tspchili powder(used mild chili powder)
2 14.5ozcan diced tomatoes(I like to use fire roasted)
2 15-ozcans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2ccubed pumpkin, or butternut squash about 1/3-1/2 small pie pumpkin flesh only skin removed(about the size of a dice or slightly smaller)
2TBSP lemon juice
Crispy Coconut Rice (recipe below), rice, and or Naan bread for serving
Heat oil in a large fryer pan (deep skillet) over medium heat. Once hot onion and cumin.
Sauté 3-5 minutes.
Add garlic, ginger, cilantro, and red chilies to a small food processor to pulse into a paste and I like to add a little water (1/4c) to ensure peppers and seeds are chopped. Alternatively, just finely mince or use a to a mortar and pestle and grind into a rough paste. Add to the pan with the onions.
Next add ground coriander, chili powder, turmeric, and salt and stir.
Next undrained canned tomatoes, chickpeas (rinsed and drained), and pumpkin.
Stir in 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to rolling simmer (you want it bubbling but not too much to burn so low heat but not all the way down) for 20 minutes until the pumpkin/squash is able to be pierced with a fork.
Remove and simmer uncovered until you have a semi-thick soup consistency or cook down to desired consistency. If it's too thick add a little more water.
When the chana masala is thickened and bubbly.
Remove from heat and add lemon juice and garam masala.
Stir to mix, then let cool slightly before serving.
Serve with Crispy Coconut Rice, coconut rice, plain rice, and or Naan bread.
Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Crispy Coconut Rice
Everything you love about coconut rice with a crispy crunchy top. Think rice cooked like hash browns, it takes rice to another level that you never knew existed.