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Chana Masala

Submitted by:

Devi Sekar



Country of Origin:


Cook time:

45 min




2 14-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or dry chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked until soft)
1 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes
1 large onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups; 300 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) store-bought or homemade garam masala, divided
2 teaspoons (8 grams) ground coriander
1/2 teaspoons (2 grams) freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) ground turmeric
4 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1-inch knob of ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
1 to 6 green Thai chilies (to taste), roughly chopped
2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) juice from 1 lemon, divided Kosher salt
2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) vegetable oil or ghee
2 teaspoons (8 grams) black mustard seed
1 teaspoon (4 grams) whole cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (1 ounce; 25 grams)

Ingredients substitutions:

Dry chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked until soft tastes better than canned chickpeas. It is a little more work and planning though.


1. Combine garlic, ginger, chilies, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a mortar and pestle or in the small work bowl of a food processor and pound or process into a fine paste. Set aside.
2. Heat oil or ghee in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.
3. All at once, add mustard seed and cumin. They will sputter and spit for a few seconds. As soon as they are aromatic (about 15 seconds), add onion all at once, along with baking soda.
4. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions start to leave a brown coating on bottom of pan, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Add 1 tablespoon water, scrape up browned bits from pan, and continue cooking.
6. Repeat this process until onions are a deep brown, about 10 minutes total.
7. Immediately add garlic/ginger/chili paste all at once and stir to combine.
8. Add coriander, black pepper, turmeric, and 1 teaspoon garam masala. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
9. Add tomatoes and crush them using a whisk or potato masher.
10. Add drained, rinsed chickpeas and cilantro, reserving a little cilantro for garnish.
11. Add 1/2 cup water.
12. Bring to a simmer, cover with lid slightly cracked, and reduce heat to maintain a gentle bubbling.
13. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced into a thick stew and spices have melded, about 30 minutes.
14. Stir in remaining garam masala and lemon juice.
15. Season to taste with salt, sprinkling additional cilantro on top.
16. Serve with rice or Basmati Rice and/or naan.

What makes this recipe special?

Indian food is not just curried sauces. It's not too exotic either. Unless "exotic" is code for yummy and full of flavor. This dish features a healthy mixture of chickpeas, tomatoes, onion, and spices and is a rich source of protein. Both carnivores and vegetarians will enjoy this meal. My kids love it. Leave out the green chile if the kiddies will be eating. Serve over basmati or jasmine rice and enjoy. Namaste y'all!

Additional notes:

This dish is also known as chole masala. This dish is from North India.