Chana masala is voted in the top 5 of India's healthiest dishes. Indians eat chana masala at breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a quick snack from food stalls in the local market. It's gained popularity in the past few years because it's vegan, rich in protein, cost-effective, totally delicious, and easy to make.
In this recipe post, I will explain all you need to know about how to make this delicious recipe at home.
What is chana masala?
Chana masala literally means “spicy chickpeas”. Chickpea is the main ingredient of this classic Indian dish.
In addition to chickpeas; the ingredients of chana masala are usually onion, garlic, chili, ginger, chopped tomatoes, coriander seeds, fresh coriander, amchoor which is dried mango powder, dried pomegranate seeds, and garam masala.
In Pakistan, on the other hand, the aloo chole variant consists of chickpeas and potatoes.
In Morocco and Algeria, there is a similar chickpea tajine, also hot and spicy, and in Morocco, squash, zucchini, or eggplants are frequently added. This dish is usually served on hot steamed couscous.
Ingredients for making chana masala
- Coconut or vegetable oil
- Green chili
- Chopped tomato
- Cumin seeds
- Mustard seeds
- Coriander powder
- Coriander fresh
- Cooked chickpeas
How to Make Chana Masala
It takes about 1 hour from start to finish. The aromas that take over your kitchen will be incredible!
It starts with frying the mustard and cumin seeds in oil. Next, add the chopped onion and slowly caramelize, then add a paste of green chilis, ginger, garlic, and lemon juice. The bulk of the flavor comes from the spice mix; coriander, amchoor, ground turmeric, and garam masala. Chickpeas add plenty of fiber, texture, and protein, and puréed tomatoes add body and richness.
Everything is gently simmered for 30 minutes with a lid on to keep all the aromas locked in.
The finished dish is a thick, stew-like curry that’s extremely flavorful, easy to make, not overly spicy, and the perfect hearty plant-based meal.
Spice Mix Options
Garam masala is the spice mix traditionally used in chana masala. Garam masala translates to “hot spice mix” in English. It’s made from a blend of coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and other spices that vary by region.
No two masalas ever taste the same!
You can just use some curry powder, it won’t taste the same, but it will be good! If you don’t have either of those, you could likely just omit the spice blend for a French cassoulet experience!
Chana Masala for health
Chickpeas are full of good complex carbohydrates, fiber, plant protein, and essential minerals. Discover more information here on chickpeas - the wonderful super bean, and why you need to be including more in your lifestyle.
Chana masala is an all-around healthy and balanced dish to eat. Although, it does depend on what you serve it with, below are some recommendations.
What to serve chana masala with?
Here are some recipes and ideas of what will go well served with this chana masala
This is an ideal dish to make a big batch for 3 days ahead, keep in the fridge or freeze in portions. It's an ideal lunch or dinner main component to keep you fueled and nourished throughout the week.
Chana masala is a healthy and cost-effective dish to add to your weekly menus.
Does chana masala freeze well?
Absolutely, it freezes very well. You can package it into small batches or single portions and pop it in the freezer, where it will keep for up to 3 months.
Happy Cooking my friends
To make people happy, that's what cooking is all about...
Indian food is delicious, have a go at making it. If you try this dish, let me know what you think! Leave a comment in the comments section below. Thank you, friends!
Chana Masala Chickpea Curry
- Weighing scales
- Chopping board
- Chefs knife
- Saucepan - medium size
- Tin foil
- Wooden spoon
To get started
- 20 ml Rapeseed oil
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon Yellow mustard seeds
- 300 g Onions finely diced
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda optional
For the curry paste
- 30 g Garlic cloves peeled and sliced
- 20 g Ginger peeled and sliced
- 3 each Green chili sliced
- .5 each Lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon Pink salt
Spices you will need
- 2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoon Garam masala
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon Amchoor powder
- 350 g Tomato - cherry cut in half
- 1000 ml Water - filtered more as needed
Seasonings to finish
- 30 g Coriander chopped fresh
- .5 each Lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Pink salt to taste
- 1000 g Chickpeas pre-cooked
- Assemble all ingredients.
To make the paste
- Add the sliced garlic, ginger, chili, salt and lemon juice to mortor and pestle or blender, blitz until smooth
To make the chana masala
- Add the oil to large frying pan or saucepan.
- Heat the pan, add the mustard and cumin seeds. Toast gently for 30 seconds until fragrant and the mustard seeds start popping.
- Add the finely diced onions and optional baking soda (this helps with the carmelisation)
- Stir well, after 3-4 minutes the onions should be a nice golden colour.
- Add the paste of garlic, ginger and chili followed by the turmeric, coriander, amchoor and garam masala.
- Cook our for 2-3 minutes gently, add a splash of water if it is looking a little dry.
- Next add the cherry tomato (cut them in half first so they cook down easily) and cook out for 3-4 minutes.
- Now, add the cooked chickpeas and water.
- Bring to a gentle boil, cover with a saucepan lid or tin foil to keep all the juicy flavour in the chana masaa.
- Cook out 'low & slow' for about 20-30 minutes, keep stirring regularly so the bottom does not catch.
To finish chana masala
- Season to taste with a little lemon juice, pink salt and chopped fresh coriander.
- Serve with rice or naan bread.
- Happy days, this is a fantastic recipe to add to your Arsenal!
Chefs' Top Tips & Recipe Variations
- Try adding diced sweet potato or pumpkin for an added dimension to the dish.
- Try adding spinach or chard 5 minutes before the end of cooking.
Not in a hurry - fancy more curry!?
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