Park channa masala with brown rice pulao


Park channa masala, brown rice pulao, garden salad and 20 vegans doing yoga in the park!

Yes its designed to be eaten in a park. When I started an event to teach yoga in the park followed by brunch. I thought I’d get a few participants, but 20 was a pleasant surprise. I wanted to make a meal that was tasty, nourishing and healthy. And low fat and fresh, and nothing frozen, and nothing out of a can. Only the purest, choicest ingredients for my vegans practicing yoga in the park. I even used organic cold pressed coconut oil because of all the scares I’m hearing on several facebook groups about how toxic regular cooking oil becomes due to the way its processed.

My friend came home on Saturday morning to help prepare(shh… Don’t tell her I needed her even more for moral support and to bounce ideas off for quantities.)

Because I never like to see anyone go hungry — I ended up with soaking way more chickpeas than you can imagine. Soaked 5 cups Friday night and then went and got more and ended up soaking:

9 cups chickpeas for 20 guests

Whoa – Way too much ! 

Well! I was going to another event Sunday evening. I thought I could make them some chickpeas too! By now you’re probably wondering “does she even have a pot that size to cook them all”. To answer your silent question – No. I cooked them in batches. This was a lot of work, not for the faint of heart. But you probably know me by now, I LOVE LOVE to cook & feed others. So this was never a problem. Anyway Monica helped chop and I made the channa masala.

Next I wanted to serve it with something tasty, nourishing & healthy.. brown rice or white rice was my debate with Monica. She said “you believe in healthy cooking, so If I were you, I would stick to principle and go with brown rice”. Brown rice it was.

Credit NA/ Images
Credit NA/ Images

Good thing I didn’t’ have to go grocery shopping for white rice. I already made the switch to brown rice last year.

I cook brown rice differently. I boil it in a pot with 4 times the water. When water boils I test the rice for doneness. When done, I drain the water and get fluffy brown rice. 

Here’s a chart I made to compare and contrast. Turns out brown rice is quite the winner!

Park channa masala Recipe (you are probably not going to make 9 cups so I scaled the recipe to 1 cup-will easily serve 2)

1 cup white chickpeas, soaked overnight
1/4 cup red onion chopped
1/4 cup roma tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp fresh garlic finely minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger finely minced
Spice Mix
½ tsp dry roasted cilantro powder
2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
½ tsp tamarind paste
4 grains cumin
½ tsp turmeric
1 green chili
Pinch hing
Salt to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil


  • Wash and soak chickpeas for 12 hours.
  • Wash and thoroughly rinse soaked channa masala in the morning.
  • Top with enough fresh water so that chickpeas are completely immersed in water.
  • Cook till soft. I used my pressure cooker. Set aside to cool. Drain water when cooled down.
  • In pan, heat oil. Add cumin, turmeric, cilantro powder, then onion, garlic, ginger, green chili, hing and sea salt. Saute till soft.
  • Add tomatoes and let them cook. You’ll know they are done when you see water and oil separate in pan.
  • Add chickpeas, tamarind paste (if using) or lemon juice.
  • Toss in cooked chickpeas, add salt and turn off stove.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

Brown rice pulao

1/2 cup brown rice
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thinly
3 whole cloves garlic
1 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp carrots, cubed
Spice Mix
2 cloves black cardamom
5 grains cumin
4-5 bay leaves
Salt to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil


  • Wash and rinse rice.
  • Boil in pot with 4 cups water.
  • Check to see if rice is done, al-dente. About 10 minutes depending on the heat of your stove and your pans’ ability to transfer heat.
  • Drain rice in colander, set aside.
  • In pan, heat oil. Add cumin, bay leaves, black cardamom and saute.
  • Add chopped onions, ginger, garlic and sea salt. Saute till soft.
  • Add chopped carrots and raisins and saute.
  • Add cooked and drained rice and saute.
  • Take off heat. Serve with park channa masala.

This was a yummy vegan brunch. I kept it mildly spiced but took extras spices and sea salt so anyone wishing a bigger kick could help themselves.

What about the remaining channa masala which was meant for my evening group? So I got home after teaching yoga and serving brunch, packed my food bags and set off for the evening. To my utter surprise, the group were returning from a retreat so the evening program was cancelled. But I brought everyone some food. What was I going to do? I left with my parking all paid & not being used! Halfway through the drive a homeless man waved to me.. and came to the driver’s side. AHA ! hungry man, good I thought to myself. I have just what you need, so handed over my bags. Don’t’ you love a happy ending 🙂


This group of vegans is very special. When they saw me take out cutlery & the packed brunch, they said, “Oh no, we should have brought our own. Next time, let’s go green. Let’s all bring our own plates & cutlery, that way we don’t have to throw out the used brunch containers”..Don’t you love green and mindful vegans.

Do you like my park channa masala with brown rice pulao and garden salad?



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