Green Garlic Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)

It doesn't get much more "India-California" than this - I assure you that my mother has never once touched green garlic, but I wish she was here now to witness the incredible brightness and vibrance that it lends to her chana masala, or rather, South Indian chickpea curry. Spring brings its veggies, and summer brings its fruits. We have so much to look forward to over the next six months! Green garlic is always the first sign (for me) that spring is on the horizon. The weather is warming, the rain is halting, and I can actually sit more than six yards feet away from my fireplace (if I have it on at all!). My husband will regale in this new time spent out of my warm robe, and I'll be ecstatic in a t-shirt, shorts, eating green garlic, and the world will be a perfect place. 

Moving on. I thought green garlic would bring a natural freshness and brightness to this classic chickpea recipe - I wanted to get all that zest and vibrance of lemon and lime, using a different approach. Ground fennel and green garlic add exactly that! Zesty, vibrant, bright, fresh - I loved how this California twist on a classic ended up. 

there she is! what a beaut. 

there she is! what a beaut. 


1 large yellow onion

2 large, or 3 small green garlic (in its entirety), chopped into strips about a thumbnail wide

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

3/4 tbsp ground fennel

1 tsp ground ginger (usually I'd use fresh, but I really wanted to let the green garlic shine)

1 tbsp kashmiri chili powder (or any Indian red chili powder, cayenne as a backup)

2 tsp garam masala (made in the link, or storebought)

6 ripe tomatoes, diced with juices reserved

2 cans drained chickpeas

2 big pinches salt 


1 cup runny european-style greek yogurt

1/2 white onion, finely minced

1 ripe tomato, finely diced 

2 tsp granulated sugar

Slice onion into half moons, by cutting onion in half and then cutting very thin slices. In 2 glugs olive oil, saute onions over medium heat, stirring every 1-2 minutes, until reaching a dark golden brown (but not burnt). Add green garlic, stir frequently for 2-3 minutes, until fresh, garlicky aromas emerge. Garlic should be bright green, and not browned. Add a little more olive oil if the garlic and onions are sticking.

Turn heat to low-medium, and add cumin, coriander, chili powder, fennel, stirring continuously until well distributed, for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes and stir well. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often and mashing tomato solids down until a sauce forms. Add salt, stir, and then add chickpeas. Stir well. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir, add garam masala, and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat. (If curry has not come together with a thick sauce, continue to simmer gently.)

Meanwhile, make raita by combining ingredients. 

Serve green garlic chana masala with basmati rice and raita.