Rinku Bhattacharya: Chana Masala Chili

chana masala chili recipe
Image Provided by Rinku Bhattacharya

by Rinku Bhattacharya

Rinku Bhattacharya is the author of the blog, Cooking in Westchester, where she shares her life experiences and original recipes that combine Indian spices with produce from her backyard and local farmers markets. Rinku loves food, numbers, kids, books and her camera. Rinku is blessed with a gardener husband, who always surprises her with a prolific and fresh supply of produce to keep her creative instincts flowing. Rinku has been teaching recreational cooking classes for the past six years, and her cookbook The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, highlights and offers many simple recipes from Eastern India. Rinku can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you live in New York like me, you might be convinced that you are indeed in the land of endless winter. Honestly, some days I feel like I have been permanently transported into a snow globe. For the last three months we have been completely surrounded by snow, waking up and walking to work amidst a show of snowflakes has become the new normal. Even now, when the sun is beginning to peek out, the snow still has not melted away. It looks rather strange to see squirrels scampering around in the snow.

The weather is chilly still and begs for slow cooked comfort in the kitchen, make that spicy slow cooked comfort! The key while indulging your comforting self is to ensure that you do not over do the indulgence part of things. One of the staples in my kitchen this year has been this chana masala inspired chili, which among all things is slow cooked to boot. It is essentially a classic chana masala laced with ground lamb and a comforting lay of chili style garnishes. This is where you can moderate or modify the indulgence factor as you see fit. If you have the time, sautéing the onions, with the ground lamb and the whole spices help and make for more enhanced flavor, so I leave it up to you.

This recipe is great for a crowd and, if you are cooking ahead, it also freezes well. It adds surprising layers of fun to any table and is easy to cobble together, since it pretty much cooks itself.

Chana Masala Chili

Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients for the Chili

  • 3/4 cups dried regular chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup brown chickpeas or red kidney beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 11/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes or 4 fresh tomatoes
  • I red onion, diced
  • 2 green Serrano chilies
  • 1 large 11/2 inch piece peeled ginger
  • 4 pods garlic
  • 11/2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 large (about 2 inch stick cinnamon)
  • 2 pods cardamom
  • 3/4 pounds ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Ingredients for the garnishes

  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • chopped scallions

Method of Preparation

  1. Place the two chickpeas or the chickpeas and beans in a slow cooker with the water and the salt and set to cook for 6 hours.
  2. After 4 hours of cooking, place the tomatoes, onions, chilies, ginger and garlic with the cumin powder in a blender and process until smooth.
  3. Place the tomato mixture, with the cinnamon, cardamom, ground lamb and thyme into the slow cooker and cover and cook for the remaining 2 hours.
  4. Stir in the cilantro and check the seasonings.
  5. Serve with garnishes of your choice.
By Brown Girl Magazine

Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South Asian womxn who believe in the power of storytelling as a … Read more ›

5 Indo Caribbean Food Experts you Need to Know This Winter Season

trinidad curry
Curried Chicken with Roti Parata or Roti, popular Middle Eastern/Indian cuisine

It is officially that time of year—the holiday season. There’s nothing like Christmas and New Year’s in the West Indies. Between the pepperpot in Guyana and the palm trees decorated in lights in Trinidad, the home food, warm weather and laid-back ambiance makes us wish we could escape the cold and head back to the Caribbean. Most of us, however, cannot “take holiday” and find ourselves hungry for fresh dhal puri and doubles. But, thanks to these Indo-Caribbean food bloggers, we can bring the motherland to our kitchens.

1. Matthew’s Guyanese Cooking

From Diwali mithai specialties to curry chicken, Matthew is creating a name for himself as a young Guyanese food blogger. He makes a great effort to incorporate Hindu holidays and traditions on his Instagram account, in conjunction with the customary foods and sweets associated with these religious events. However, his expertise does not end there, with new and alternative recipes for classic dishes such as curry chicken and bhara, Matthew takes center stage sharing both traditional Guyanese dishes as well as specific religious dishes made for festivals. His most popular YouTube video, with 1.4 million views, features his grandmother and focuses on the best tips to make the softest Guyanese paratha roti. In addition, his YouTube account is home to many videos offering guidance to Indo Caribbean cooking. Find recipes at @mattews.guyanese.cooking

2. Trini Cooking with Natasha

Natasha Laggan of Trini Cooking with Natasha is wildly popular throughout the Caribbean and the U.S. With humble beginnings, Natasha credits her love of food to her family’s business. She speaks of the nostalgia home food provides her as she reminisces memories of her grandmother’s cooking and helping her mother make sandwiches early in the morning. Featured by Forbes, Natasha grew her Facebook following quickly throughout the pandemic by posting old YouTube videos. Today, she has more than 1 million followers on Facebook and over 200K followers on YouTube. She uses her passion for cooking and Trinidadian culture to bring easy-to-follow recipes to viewers. Her following has now reached the West Indian diaspora globally as she has also become a brand ambassador to two well-known food companies.  Follow the food expert @trinicookingwithnatasha.

[Read Related: 5 Indo-Caribbean Recipes for the Holiday Season you Have to Make]

3. Cooking with Ria

With over 100K followers on YouTube, Ria is quite the expert when it comes to making roti. Her dhal puri, sada roti and paratha roti tutorials have over 1M views! However, her expertise does not stop there. Of the 180 YouTube tutorials, her recipes vary from curry to other Trinidadian favorites like macaroni pie and pigtail soup. Just scrolling through her YouTube page makes your mouth water. From doubles to classic Trinidad bakes like pound cake and sweet bread, she provides precision and anecdotal commentary while guiding you through the familiarity of home food. Check out Ria’s page at @cookingwithria.


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4. Chef Devan

Known as Chef Devan, Devan Rajkumar embraces his Guyanese Canadian heritage by creating recipes combining flavors of both the East and West Indies. His love of food has allowed him to expand his role to judge in a popular Canadian cooking show: Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters. His cooking often blends the flavors of multiple cultures but also creates the classic recipes of his motherland. With a multitude of interests, Chef Dev uses his social media platform to connect with followers by sharing various aspects of his life that go beyond cooking. His most recent YouTube video provides a trailer for an upcoming video “Tastes Guyana” which shows him exploring Guyana from the inside, specifically deep parts of the inner country. To learn more about Chef Devan follow @chefdevan.


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5. Taste of Trinbago

Reshmi is the chef behind the growing blog, Taste of Trinbago. A Trinidadian native who now resides in Texas, she uses her love of food and Trinidadian culture to share hacks, tips and easy recipes with West Indians throughout the globe. She finds a way to simplify traditional West Indian meals, that we once watched our elders make with curiosity.  From holiday specialties like black cake to Diwali delicacies, Reshmi has brought vegetarian and non-veg recipes to followers in an extremely accessible way. She even posts recipe cards on her IG highlights for followers who may need written instructions. Her IG profile is a mix of various West Indian foods while also sharing bits of her life and even her secrets to baby food. Follow her @tasteoftrinbago.


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These are just five Indo Caribbean food bloggers sharing their secrets to easy cooking. The once very daunting recipes and food instructions our parents gave have been simplified by most of these bloggers through video, voice over and modernized recipes. We no longer have to estimate a “dash, pinch or tuk” of any masala. We are just days away from Christmas and this is the perfect time to find the best-suited recipe to make that paratha for Santa.

Featured Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

By Subrina Singh

Subrina Singh holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Asian & Asian American Studies from Stony Brook University and a Master’s Degree … Read more ›