Paste of aromatics + dry masala spices = chana masala heaven! It's based on a recipe from the first World Food Cafe cookbook, though I didn't change it much. I wanted to share it because the technique gives you a restaurant quality dish. That aromatic paste makes all the difference!
Peel, chop, and boil a potato. Set aside.
In food processor, blend a handful each of cilantro and mint, a large garlic clove, half an onion, and a 1-inch piece of ginger.
In small dish combine 1/4 tsp each cumin, coriander and cinnamon, 1/8 tsp each red pepper flakes and ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp turmeric, and a bay leaf.
In heavy saucepan, melt 2Tbs vegan butter (or ghee). Add cilantro paste and cook 3 min. Add dry spices and cook 1 min. Add 1Tbs tomato paste and cook 3 min. Stir in 15oz can of drained chick peas, a small bunch of spinach (fresh, or about 1/2 cup frozen, thawed and squeezed dry), and the potato. Add enough water to make a thick gravy. Salt to taste.