Sweet Chana Masala with Dates

A bowl of sweet chana masala on rice topped with matchstick carrots

Chana Masala with dates is a sweet and spicy vegetarian curry featuring sweet dates and whole star anise. It’s a quick and satisfying dinner with warming spices with vegan and non vegan options available.

There are many ways to enjoy Chickpeas. This convenient and readily available legume is packed with protein, affordable, and easy to store. Use chickpeas in Baharat Roasted Beet Hummus and add them to salads such as Wild Rice Asparagus Salad for extra protein.

A Dish for Vegans and Non-Vegans

A bowl of chickpeas on rice topped with matchstick carrots

Now that my daughter has turned vegan, and I specifically use that phrase ‘turned vegan’ because it makes me smile to think of her turning vegan after being bit by another vegan (let that sink in for a moment), she and I are constantly on the lookout for delicious dinners that can easily be modified to be vegan or to which meat protein can be added. Both of us keep an eye out on social media channels and alert each other when we find a dish that seems a likely candidate. She (celestialotter) is an avid Instagrammer (as am I) and one of her favourite local Instagram profiles to follow is ourdailybrett. Our Daily Brett is a purveyor of unique kitchen items, cocktail creating apparatus, and take home meals. Every day around 4 pm they post the ‘take home special’ on Instagram so that their downtown core working customers can swing to pick up dinner on the commute home. They do try to do at least one vegetarian option per week and sometimes there is a vegan option. The day they posted this Chickpea Masala with dates and star anise I was definitely inspired and I didn’t have to wait for my daughter to suggest that I make it for dinner.

Inspired Cooking

A bowl of sweet chana masala on rice topped with matchstick carrots

I went straight to work. It was fairly easy to locate a recipe online and I had most of the ingredients because I always have a fully stocked pantry, complete with every kind of vegan protein imaginable. The New York Times version calls for black cardamom, one of the ingredients so I just went with using the green cardamom. I find that many chickpea recipes call for way too many chickpeas so I automatically cut down the amount specified. I also didn’t have tomato paste so I substituted tomato sauce and cooked it down a bit longer. Other changes I made were adding two extra dates (I had eight left in the package), two extra cardamom pods, and cutting down the amount of cayenne pepper. 

Pinterest image featuring Chickpeas Date Masala in a white bowl.

If you make this Sweet Chana Masala with Dates, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.

Yield: 4 portions

Sweet Chana Masala with Dates

A bowl of sweet chana masala on rice topped with matchstick carrots

Sweet Chana Masala with dates is a sweet and spicy vegetarian curry featuring sweet dates and whole star anise. It's a quick and satisfying dinner with warming spices with vegan and non vegan options available.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 15-oz cans chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cup raw chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled)
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 medium-large)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic (6 medium cloves)
  • 5 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or 1 teaspoon if chickpeas are salted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground star anise, or 2 whole star anise
  • 1/2 cup water

FOR THE MEATBALLS

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy sweet chili sauce
  • 1 sliced green onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

FOR THE CURRY

  1. Drain chickpeas, rinse, and set aside.
  2. With a knife, lightly crack the cardamom pods. With your fingers, peel back the shell to release the seeds; discard shells.
  3. 2. Heat oil in a medium pot on medium-high for 45 seconds. Add onion and saute for 6 to 7 minutes, or until browned. Stir in garlic and saute for 1 minute, or until browned.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in tomato paste (sauce). If using sauce, reduce at this point until it gets a bit pasty.
  5. Add dates, cumin, salt, cayenne, black pepper, star anise and cardamom sees and saute for 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in chickpeas and water and heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until masala is well mixed with chickpeas.
  7. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.
OPTION FOR MEATLOVERS TO ADD MEATBALLS:
  1. Mix 1 lb ground chicken with sweet chili sauce, green onion, cilantro, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper.
  2. Shape into small 1 inch balls and fry until just cooked.
  3. Add to chickpea masala with a bit of water, cover, and simmer for ten minutes.
  4. Enjoy with rice and extra cilantro.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 948Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 121mgSodium: 1253mgCarbohydrates: 115gFiber: 22gSugar: 53gProtein: 49g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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2 comments

  1. chef mimi

    Looks wonderful. Vegan or not!

    Reply

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