I had some left-over Chana Masala from last night’s dinner, and I was wondering how to use it up in some fancy way. I also had only one day remaining to create a recipe for the ICBINB Toast Ambassador contest. So when I saw some garlic bread in my pantry, I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have something like Bruschetta, where I could use my chickpeas too? And that’s when it clicked – how about an Indian Bruschetta ?! This tasty appetizer was created using Toasted bread, cut into cute round shapes, then slathered with butter and grilled to perfection, and presented with a fancy topping of roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, cilantro, a pinch of garlic salt, Mozarella cheese and my chickpea curry.
“Chhole” or “Chana Masala” is a popular Indian recipe for curried chickpeas, boiled and cooked in a delicious tomato-onion sauce, and flavored with mild Indian spices. I love Indian food, but the next best cuisine that is close to my heart is home-style Italian food, so the recipe you are about to see, is a lovely play on both the cuisines, and will be enjoyed by any person who loves either food!
I was so proud of the end result, and my family loved it too! I think it is worthy of landing a permanent place on my entertaining menus, and I urge you to try and see it for yourself!
Chana Masala (Chickpea) Bruschetta
Makes 4 servings
4 slices of wheat or white bread
4 tsp I Can’t Believe Its Not Butter Spread
8 tbsp Chhole (curried chickpeas) – follow the recipe here
2 small and firm tomatoes – chopped finely
4 tbsp shredded Mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper – to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil (finely chopped) or dried basil flakes
1/8 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 10-oz can of chickpeas
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 small onion – finely chopped
1 tsp tamarind paste (optional, you can use lemon juice instead)
1 tsp sugar
salt – add to taste
2 tsp red chili powder (adjust to your taste)
1 tbsp oil
1-2 cups water
Note: You can cook the traditional Chana Masala ahead of time and preserve it refrigerated for up to 24 hours. I have included a short-cut method for those who do not have the time to create the full Indianized recipe ahead of time, and yet want to try this Bruschetta.
Making the Chickpea Curry
Heat the oil in a wok, and fry the onions till translucent. Add the tomato paste and tamarind paste and saute for a minute. Then add all the remaining spices and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes. Drain the water from the chickpeas and add them to the wok. Add about 1 to 2 cups of water, cover with a lid and let the curry boil for a few minutes. Then take a ladle and mash some of the chickpeas roughly, to make a coarse curry. Heat until the chickpeas are cooked through-and-through, then set aside.
Making the Bruschetta
Take each slice of bread; remove the edges and cut into desired shapes (I used a round cookie-cutter) if you want. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and keep a baking sheet ready.
Slather each bread with 1 tsp butter and toast the bread slices in the oven for 5-7 minutes, till they are lightly browned and crispy.
Mix the chopped tomatoes with salt, pepper, cilantro, basil, and toss to coat well. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors blend.
Take the curried chickpeas; put 2 tbsp of this mixture on each toasted bread. Top with a spoonful of tomato mixture, then sprinkle some shredded Mozzarella cheese on the top. transfer these on to the baking sheet and let them BROIL for another couple minutes.
Remove from oven and serve immediately, as a tasty appetizer or a light snack.
This Indian take on Bruschetta will surely leave a lasting impression on your palate. Its easy to make, and looks great on a dinner table. So give this a try, and let me know how you like the recipe! I’m sending this over to the folks at ICBINB for the Toast Ambassador Contest – let’s see what the judges have to say!