Chana Masala

April 26, 2011

Chana Masala

After posting the recipe for Garam Masala the other day, I thought it'd be fun to share some of my favorite ways to use it. The first recipe that comes to mind is Chana Masala, which is one of my favorites in Indian cuisine. The main ingredient for this dish is chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), which soak up all of the seasoning, and balance the notes of citrus and spice. Served over a bed of brown Basmati rice, this dish is incredibly aromatic and flavorful.

Chana Masala
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2" ginger, skinned and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot green chili pepper, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 cup diced tomotoes (or 15-ounce canned)
1/2 cup water
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or 15-ounce canned)
1/2 cup frozen peas
Salt to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Cilantro (to garnish)

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the cumin seeds until they start to pop in the oil, and then immediately add the onions and the salt. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Add the ginger, garlic and chile, and cook for another minute.

Add the ground coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, turmeric, paprika, and garam masala, and stir into the onion mixture. Quickly add the diced tomatoes with their juices, and the 1/2 cup water. Once the mixture has returned to a simmer, add the garbanzo beans and the peas. Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add your desired amount of salt, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Serve hot, over cooked basmati rice, and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.


  1. We will be adding a meatless meal one night a week and this Indian recipe just may be the first one I try (huge meat eaters in our household). This will also be my first attempt at an Indian recipe.

    I will be printing it out now and will let you know how it comes out. Thanks.

  2. Looks like a great recipe, and I definitely want to try making your garam masala.

  3. yum! have to try this!

  4. I love (really love) Chana Masala! This recipe looks familiar, I think I made it a few weeks ago! Delicious.

  5. Haha, yeah. So, so good. I'm making it again tonight. :)