Chana Masala is a naturally vegan and gluten-free Indian curry made with two key ingredients: Chana (chickpeas) and Masala (spice blend).
This Indian Curry is a healthy meal option that we have been cooking for a long time now. It’s packed full of plant-based protein and fibre. For us, the best way to serve Chana Masala is with some fresh Chapatis. I make the curry while Astra prepares the Chapatis. I won’t lie, our recipe for Chana Masala is spicy. If you love spicy food, go for it! If you prefer a milder curry, reduce the amount of chilli powder that we use.
Many people think that cooking an Indian meal at home is too difficult and time-consuming. Once you have the right spices, cooking Indian food at home is fairly simple and the results are amazing. We used to go out to Indian restaurants a lot, but sadly, most of the Indian restaurants in Spain are terrible or really overpriced. The perfect solution, cook at home!
The ingredients that you’ll need for our Chana Masala are easy to find and you may already have some at home. We use loads of spices but that’s how Indian food is cooked right? If you don’t have them all, don’t worry, you can create your own spice blend and I’m sure it will still be delicious.
Chickpeas. You can use canned chickpeas simply adding them to the curry or raw chickpeas, soaking them overnight and pressure cooking the chickpeas until tender before adding them into the curry sauce. For this recipe, we use canned chickpeas. With a handful of the chickpeas, we make this chickpea paste to give our chana masala a thicker consistency.
Spice blend. If I have to choose one thing from everything we learnt in India is to use good quality spices when cooking. The flavour and fragrance you get with proper spices are just not possible to get from the cheap flavourless stuff. For our chana masala, we use garam masala, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, cumin and chilli powder. The garam masala contains already most of them but we love adding some more to get a delicious deep-in-flavour sauce.
Garlic and ginger paste. We use our ginger and garlic press for this part of the recipe. We make a paste out of fresh garlic and ginger and add it with the spices while cooking to create a beautiful combination of Indian flavours. You can add as well fresh green chillies into this paste for spicier chana masala.
Tomatoes. We use canned whole plum tomatoes for our recipe. We add the tomatoes into a mixing bowl and crush them using our hands until we have a chunky sauce. You can use fresh tomatoes as well, just make sure they are juicy.
Coriander. The last touch to your curry, chopped fresh coriander added at the end and some extra right before serving for a perfect presentation.
How to make Chana Masala Step by Step
- Prepare all the ingredients, finely chop the onion, press the garlic and ginger, make the spice blend and crush the plum tomatoes.
- Heat some vegetable oil in a pan, we use our cast iron dutch oven to cook our Indian meals as they are perfect for slow cooking. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for around 10 minutes stirring often until softened. Add the ginger-garlic paste and the spice blend.
- Once fragrant, add the tomatoes and water. Stir and leave simmering for around 15 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas and chopped coriander, cook for 5 more minutes and your chana masala will be ready to serve!
How to serve Chana Masala
Chana Masala is normally served as a main dish with steamed basmati rice and chapati or naan bread. To add an extra crunch to the curry, you can serve it with some raw sliced onion or green chillis for hot food lovers. Chop some fresh coriander and sprinkle on the top before serving.
Chana Masala can be served with any other Indian curry to make a delicious platter. Here are some other Indian curries that you can easily prepare at home.
Chana masala can be made in 30 minutes, it’s fairly simple to prepare, and it uses just a few ingredients. It will stay good in the fridge for 4-5 days or you can keep it in the freezer for way longer.
Once the curry is made, you can just steam some rice or make some bread and have a lovely weekday meal.
Easy Chana Masala
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 green chilli optional for extra spice
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves
- 2 cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 400 g canned whole plum tomatoes
- 500 g canned chickpeas
- Finely chop onions and press the garlic and ginger. Prepare the spice blend adding into a small mixing bowl the bay left, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon powder, coriander powder, garam masala, turmeric, cumin powder, chilli powder, salt and pepper.
- Heat some vegetable oil in a pan and add the onions. Cook for around 10 minutes stirring often until softened. Add the ginger-garlic paste and the spice blend.
- Once fragrant, using your hands crush the plum tomatoes and add the tomatoes and water into the pot. Stir and leave simmering for around 15 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas and chopped coriander, cook for 5 more minutes, adjust with salt to taste and serve.