Indian Food

Chana Masala

Chana Masala is a famous recipe that has been in the Indian cuisine for thousands of years. It is a dish made of chickpeas cooked in a rich tomato sauce. The main ingredient of Chana Masala is chickpeas which is also called as Garbanzo beans.

This curry is familiar to many as it is one of the most common curries. It is typically made with split chickpeas that are cooked with tomatoes, onion, garlic and ginger. It is spiced with a variety of Indian spices, but not always with ajwain seeds.

Chana masala, light and simple, is made from raw chickpeas that are soaked overnight and then cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices.

This popular Indian dish is vegan and gluten-free and goes well with rice or naan.

Chana Masala needs no introduction. It is one of the most popular Indian dishes, both in India and in the western world.

However, in Delhi we usually make chole, which is very similar to chana masala but uses a special blend of spices.

Both dishes are made with white chickpeas, but the Chana Masala is made with simple, everyday Indian spices.

Punjabi chole is generally darker in color and it takes much longer to brew.

However, my mother often prepared this simple dish of chana masala with puri or paratha and we enjoyed every bite of it.

Why we like this recipe

  • It is vegan and gluten free.
  • a high-protein dish for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Beautifully spiced.
  • Freezes well and is also ideal for meal planning.

Common Indian spices like coriander powder, cumin powder, paprika powder, turmeric and garam masala are used in the dish.

Red pepper powder is also commonly used. I didn’t use it here because I’m not a fan of spicy, but feel free to add it if you like it.

The base of the dish is onion tomato masala, prepared by cooking fresh onions and tomatoes with ginger, garlic and green chillies.

The spices are then added to the masala along with the cooked and steamed chickpeas until cooked.

Ingredients

This recipe is pretty simple and uncomplicated. If you cook Indian often, you probably have all these ingredients in your pantry.

Chickpeas: I recommend starting with raw chickpeas. Canned chickpeas are very different when it comes to making a good bowl of chana masala.

Onion Tomato : Like many other Indian dishes, the basis of this dish (masala) consists of onions and tomatoes. In addition, garlic, ginger and green chillies are added to deepen the flavor.

Whole and ground spices : This recipe uses a lot of spices. Whole spices like bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and paprika make chana masala so fragrant and ground spices like coriander, paprika and garam masala give flavour to curry.

Tomato paste: I like to use a little tomato paste to enhance the flavor of the tomatoes. If you don’t have one, you can skip it.

Step-by-step instructions

1 – Soak 1 cup raw white chickpeas (200 grams) overnight in 3 cups water. Drain soaked chickpeas in the morning and place in a pressure cooker (16 oz-20 oz) with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2-2.5 cups water. After soaking overnight, the chickpeas were good for 2.5 cups (425 grams)!

Instant pot: Boil under high pressure for 25 minutes, during which time the pressure will automatically drop.

Pressure cooker on the stove: Cook for 2 minutes over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook for another 10 minutes. Release the pressure naturally.

2- After pressure cooking, chickpeas break easily when crushed between thumb and forefinger.

If you are using canned chickpeas, you can skip these steps, use 2.5 cups canned chickpeas and make the masala directly in the slow-cooker.

3- Use a mortar and pestle to crush the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Set it aside.

4- Heat a skillet/frying pan over medium heat on the stove. When the oil is hot, add it and then all the spices – bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and cumin seeds.

Let the spices sizzle for 30 seconds and season.

5- Add the chopped onions and stir. Cook for 3 minutes until the onions have softened. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to help the onions cook faster. Meanwhile, puree 2 tomatoes with a hand blender and set aside.

6- Add the ginger, garlic and chopped green chillies. Stir and cook for a minute or two until the smell of raw ginger and garlic disappears.

7- Add the pureed tomatoes and a tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

8- Then add the ground spices – coriander powder, cumin powder, paprika powder, turmeric and garam masala.

9- Boil the herbs for 30 seconds. At this point, the oil should flow out of the sides of the masala.

10- Add the cooked chickpeas and stir. Also add 2 cups of water and stir. I used the same water the chickpeas were cooked in. You can add more water if you want more sauce in your chana masala.

Taste and adjust the salt, I added an extra 1/8 teaspoon of salt.

11- Cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

12- Add the chopped kasuri methi and the chopped coriander. Sprinkle with coriander and serve the chana masala hot. If desired, you can add a dash of fresh lemon juice before serving.

Service proposals

This dish goes well with jira rice or garlic naan.

You can also serve it with a regular roti.

Use of canned chickpeas

You can make this chana masala recipe with canned chickpeas.

Skip the pressure soaking and cooking for chickpeas. Use 2.5 cups of cooked (canned) chickpeas, about 425 grams.

A 15-pound can of chickpeas usually contains 1.5 cups of cooked chickpeas, so you’ll need about a can and a half.

Follow all the steps as they are!

Shell freeze

Can we freeze it? Yes, chickpeas usually freeze well and this chana masala is no exception.

Let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a freezer container or ziplock box and freeze. It will keep for up to 2 months.

Tips for making a good Chana Masala

Here are some of my tips for making amazing chana masala at home!

Use raw chickpeas: Ok, I know we are always in a hurry to make food, so we often use canned food.

But if you can plan ahead, I recommend using raw chickpeas for the recipe and soaking them overnight.

It affects the final taste of the masala pot. Trust me, for someone who grew up eating this dish regularly, the canned version is not the same.

Use fresh ingredients: Using fresh ginger and garlic instead of a store-bought ginger-garlic paste, for example, makes a big difference in the final taste.

Stew for 10 to 15 minutes on a medium heat: After adding the cooked chickpeas to the pan with the water, turn the heat down low and simmer for 10-15 minutes. This is how the flavors come together, don’t skip this step.

Don’t miss the kasuri methi and coriander: When the dish is ready, don’t forget to add kasuri methi, which are dried fenugreek leaves that give a wonderful flavor to the dish. Don’t forget to add a handful of cilantro!

Tip: I didn’t do it in the recipe, but you can fry the julienned ginger in ghee and add it to the chana masala (see the notes on the recipe card) to enhance the flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is chana masala vegetarian?

Yes, it is mostly a vegan dish, as long as the recipe does not use butter or melted butter. This recipe is definitely vegan.

How long will this chana masala keep in the fridge?

It will keep for 2 to 3 days. If you want to keep it longer, it can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Can I make this recipe with canned chickpeas?

Yes, follow the instructions in the recipe.

Are the herbs picked up or eaten whole?

If you don’t like cracking the whole spices, put them in a muslin cloth and then put them in the pan. This way you get the flavor of the spices without having to bite into them. Otherwise, you can remove them before eating them.

If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to write it down! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s new in my kitchen, and on YouTube to watch my latest videos.

This post has been updated from an archive of recipes first published in March 2020.

Chana Masala

Manali

A simple chana masala made with common Indian spices. Raw chickpeas are soaked overnight and then cooked in a masala made with onions and tomatoes. Vegan and gluten free.

Basic course

Indian kitchen

portions of 3

Calories 234 kcal

  • Soak 1 cup raw white chickpeas (200 grams) overnight in 3 cups (24 ounces) water. Drain soaked chickpeas in the morning and place in a pressure cooker (16 oz-20 oz) with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2-2.5 cups water. After soaking overnight, the chickpeas were good for 2.5 cups (425 grams)! Instant pot: Boil under high pressure for 25 minutes, during which time the pressure will automatically drop. Pressure cooker on the stove: Cook for 2 minutes over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook for another 10 minutes. Release the pressure naturally.
  • If you are using canned chickpeas, you can skip these steps, use 2.5 cups canned chickpeas and make the masala directly in the slow-cooker.
  • Grind the ginger, garlic and green chillies in a mortar and pestle. Set it aside.
  • Heat the skillet over medium heat on the stove. When the oil is hot, add it and then all the spices – bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and cumin seeds. For 30 seconds, the spices crackle and become fragrant.
  • Add the chopped onions and mix. Cook for 3 minutes until the onions have softened. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to help the onions cook faster. Meanwhile, puree 2 tomatoes with a hand blender and set aside.
  • Add chopped garlic, ginger and green chillies. Stir and cook for a minute or two until the smell of raw ginger and garlic disappears.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and a tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Then add the ground spices – coriander powder, cumin powder, paprika powder, turmeric and garam masala. Let the spices cook for 30 seconds. At this point, the oil should flow out of the sides of the masala.
  • Add the cooked chickpeas and stir. Also add 2 cups of water and stir. I used the same water the chickpeas were cooked in. You can add more water if you want more sauce in your chana masala.
    Taste and adjust the salt, I added an extra 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
  • Cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat to medium-high and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  • Add the chopped kasuri methi and chopped coriander.
  • Sprinkle with coriander and serve chana masala with rice or naan! If desired, squeeze in a little fresh lemon juice (see notes).
  1. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you can use a can of diced tomatoes. You only need to cook the tomatoes for 2 minutes, as opposed to 5 minutes for fresh tomatoes.
  2. If you like spicy dishes, you can add 1/4 teaspoon (or even more) of red pepper powder to make your dish spicier. You can even increase the amount of green chilies in the recipe.
  3. I usually pour a little fresh lemon juice into the chana masala after cooking, but in this case the tomatoes I used were quite sharp and I didn’t think it was necessary. If your tomatoes aren’t that spicy, squeeze a little lemon juice over them before serving.
  4. I didn’t do it in the recipe, but you can fry the julienned ginger in ghee and add it to the chana masala to enhance the flavor. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a small pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the julienne of sliced ginger (1 inch ginger). Fry the ginger until it starts to colour, then add it to the chana masala. However, keep in mind that if you take that extra step and add melted butter, the dish will no longer be vegan.

Calories: 234 kcalCarbohydrates: 29 g Protein: 7 gFat: 11 gSaturated fat: 1 gSodium: 213 mgPotassium: 519 mgFiber: 8 gSugar: 8 gVitamin A: 929IUV Vitamin C: 19 mgCalcium: 75 mgIron: 3 mg{“@context”:”https://schema.org”,”@type”:”FAQPage”,”mainEntity”:[{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”What is the difference between chana masala and tikka masala?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:” Chana masala is a North Indian dish made with chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices. Tikka masala is a South Indian dish made with chicken or paneer (Indian cheese) and spices.”}},{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”Is chana masala good for health?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:” Chana masala is a healthy dish.”}},{“@type”:”Question”,”name”:”Is chana masala good for weight loss?”,”acceptedAnswer”:{“@type”:”Answer”,”text”:” Chana masala is a good source of protein and fiber, which can help with weight loss.”}}]}

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between chana masala and tikka masala?

Chana masala is a North Indian dish made with chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices. Tikka masala is a South Indian dish made with chicken or paneer (Indian cheese) and spices.

Is chana masala good for health?

Chana masala is a healthy dish.

Is chana masala good for weight loss?

Chana masala is a good source of protein and fiber, which can help with weight loss.

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