Tangy, hearty, healthy… Words that describe authentic chana masala recipe, a favorite Indian dish.
But what actually is chana masala? Let's break it down…
Chana = chickpea
Masala = collection of spices
Chana + Masala = Protein and fiber-packed chickpeas overloaded with flavor thanks to delicious spices such as ginger and garlic.
Chana masala is also known as chole masala, channay, and cholay. And like its variety of aliases, this chickpea and tomato-based dish is often prepared in a variety of ways.
However, we think our chana masala is the best! So much so, we think making an extra batch may be in order!
Find out how to cook this Indian favorite in just a little over 30 minutes, along with prep and serving suggestions you are sure to love!
Chana Masala Recipe
Yield: 8 servings
Nutrition per serving: 150 calories, 5 g fat, 6 g protein, 22 g total carb, 6 g fiber
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
• 2 Tbsp avocado oil
• 1 medium white onion, finely diced
• 1 Tbsp cumin seeds, ground
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 5 cloves garlic, minced
• 2" fresh ginger, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
• 2 jalapeño peppers, sliced (keep the seeds for heat or remove for less heat)
• 1 Tbsp coriander
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1, 28-oz can tomato puree, no salt added
• 2, 15-oz cans chickpeas, partially drained*
• 2 Tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp garam masala
In a bowl, combine the chickpeas and 2 cups of warm water and let soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Drain the chickpeas and set aside.
1. Heat a large pot over medium heat then add oil once hot. Add the onion, cumin, and 1/2 tsp of sea salt and cook until onions are translucent.
2. Add garlic, ginger, cilantro, and jalapeno to a small food processor to pulse into a paste. Alternatively, just finely mince to form a paste. Add to the hot pan with the onion mixture, along with the coriander and turmeric, and stir to coat.
3. Add pureed tomatoes and chickpeas along with the remaining 1/2 tsp sea salt. If the mixture is too thick, add up to 1 cup of water. You're looking for a semi-thick soup consistency. The final product will continue to cook down into a stew consistency.
4. Increase heat to medium-high until it begins to simmer, then reduce heat to low or medium-low, enough to maintain a simmer while uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until thick and stew-like. Stir occasionally.
5. When the chana masala is thickened and bubbly, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
6. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and garam masala. Stir to mix and serve hot with more fresh cilantro as a garnish, if desired.
Prep & Serving Suggestions
Searching for an Instant Pot recipe? Unsure what to serve with chana masala?
Look no further than these prep and serving suggestions!
Ensure freshness with homemade garam masala.
Garam masala is a blend of spices used widely in Indian cuisine, including in this very recipe and Indian creamed spinach.
The spice blend can be purchased premade, but making at home ensures utmost freshness. It also allows you to play around with flavors as desired such as adding spice with chili powder.
While there are many versions of garam masala, ours requires a quick 5 steps and these ingredients:
1. Gather the following ingredients: 2 bay leaves, 1 small cinnamon stick, 2 Tbsp green cardamom seeds, 2 Tbsp black peppercorns, 3 Tbsp coriander seeds, 2 Tbsp cumin seeds, 2 tsp whole cloves, 1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated, 1/8 tsp ground mace
2. Toast the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, coriander, cumin, and cloves over medium heat in a skillet. Do so only for a few minutes, being careful not to burn.
3. Add the toasted spices into a grinder or blender and ground into a fine powder.
4. Add the grated nutmeg and ground mace to the toasted, ground spices.
5. Enjoy the spice blend in this recipe and other favorites. Store any extra in an airtight, sealable jar for later use.
Prepare chana masala in a pressure cooker.
Chana masala can also be quickly and simply prepared in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Using the same ingredients of the original recipe, follow these steps:
1. Select the saute setting on the Instant Pot and adjust to medium. Heat the oil then onion, cumin, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until onions are translucent.
2. Using a small food processor or micing the ingredients, prepare the paste as directed in step 2. Add to the bottom of the Instant Pot with the onion mixture, along with the coriander and turmeric, and stir to coat.
3. Saute the spices together for a minute or two. Add the tomato puree, chickpeas, remaining salt, and 1/2 cup of water and mix well. Close lid, switch setting to manual mode, and set the timer to 7 minutes. Also, make sure the pressure release valve is sealed.
4. Once cooked, release the valve and open the lid. Stir in garam masala and lemon juice and top with fresh cilantro as desired.
No matter how the chana masala is prepared, you are sure to enjoy the rich flavors of this staple in Indian cuisine. Oh, and definitely do not want to miss out on our delicious serving suggestions!
Serve with chicken tikka masala and cumin basmati rice.
Chana masala is delicious standing alone, but pairs so well with these other Indian food recipes.
If you loved this recipe, then you are going to love these serving suggestions for the cooked chickpeas spiced to perfection!
• Chicken tikka masala: Try this easy, homemade chicken tikka masala recipe that is so good you'll never want to take out Indian food again! Enjoy this authentic dish today.
• Cumin basmati rice: Simple and flavorful jeera rice has never been easier to make at home! Enjoy your favorite basmati rice recipe today and pair with our other favorite Indian dishes!
The dish is also commonly served with naan bread. Drizzling a cool, creamy yogurt sauce atop is also common to balance out the warmth of the dish.