Chana Masala

Is there a better way to learn about a different country than by preparing one of their traditional dishes? We don't think so. In this lesson, students will learn about religious and regional influences of foods while they prepare a meal cooked and eaten by many in India.

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Chana Masala

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Is there a better way to learn about a different country than by preparing one of their traditional dishes? We don't think so. In this lesson, students will learn about religious and regional influences of foods while they prepare a meal cooked and eaten by many in India.

Theme

Kitchen Activity

Subjects

History

Learning Environment

Teaching Kitchen

Prep Time

10 minutes

Grade

6-8

Lesson Time

50 minutes

Role of Teacher

Classroom management and curricular tie to India.

Season

Any

Materials

Chickpeas / Tomatoes / Cilantro / Onions / Garlic / Ginger / Garam masala / Turmeric / Salt and pepper / Cutting boards (one for each student) / Knives (one for each student) / Saute pan / Spatula / Plates (one for each student) / Forks (one for each student)

Background Info

  • Regional Indian cuisine is influenced by climate, history and religion. You will find that North Indian food is very different to South Indian cuisine. Because Hindu is a major religion in India, many Hindus maintain a vegetarian diet. Thus, most Indian food centers around non-meat proteins.
  • Legumes are classified as lentils, beans, or peas, and all of them are seeds from specific plants. Chickpeas are legumes! Legumes are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. They’re good sources of protein and can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.
  • Legumes are a vital part of an Indian diet. As many Indians are vegetarian, they rely on a wide range of legumes, both whole and split for their source of protein. Mixed with grains, boosted by vegetables and dairy products, and spiced to the max, they provide a wholesome, varied diet.
  • Turmeric is known as the golden spice of India. Turmeric is related to ginger, both are rhizomes, and both aid in stomach digestion. 90% of all production of turmeric is in India.

Topics/Goals/Learning Objectives

  • To learn about India while cooking a traditional Indian dish.

Opening/Hook

Welcome to the teaching kitchen! Today we are going to make a traditional Indian dish featuring many spices and ingredients that India is known for.

The Plan/Procedure/Lesson Activities

Prep: Place the Prep Station sheets at each station

  • Have all of the students begin chopping the vegetables.
  • When the onions, garlic and ginger are finished being chopped, have a group of students begin sauteing them at the stove. The remaining students can begin measuring the spices.
  • Have the students add the tomatoes, chickpeas, and spices to the pan. While the chana masala finishes cooking (it needs about 8-10 minutes to saute and reduce) either have an adult or two students continue stirring while the class learns about India.
  • When the chana masala is finished, have a few students help pass out a plate to the class. Wait for everyone to have a plate before they begin eating.

Reflections

End with a tasting and allow students time to vote on how they liked the chana masala. What do the different spices taste like?

Extensions / Adaptations / Games

After their lesson on Indian history, see if they can recite a fact about India that the teacher does not already know.

Lesson Resources