Chana Masala

5 from 9 votes
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Aromatic and lightly spicy, this chana masala has a rich, deep flavor. It’s a delicious vegan curry option for main meals and is ready to serve in 30 minutes!

A large pot with homemade Chana Masala

One of the very best ways to enjoy vegan comfort food is this delicious chana masala, an Indian chickpea curry dish with an onion and tomato masala gravy. Ready in just 30 minutes, I consider this something of a ‘cheats’ recipe for an authentic dish that doesn’t skimp on flavor. It’s perfect for impressing friends and family on your next curry night!

Chana Masala served over rice

Ingredients

Ingredients for chickpea curry
  • Chickpeas: You’ll need cooked chickpeas (or soaked chickpeas ready to rinse and cook). You can cook them at home or use canned chickpeas.
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Tomatoes: Ripe, in-season tomatoes are best, or, for a low-budget option, use tinned whole tomatoes.
  • Coconut: I used unsweetened shredded fresh or dried coconut. Add 1 Tbsp of water if using dried.
  • Water
  • Aromatics: Onion, garlic, ginger, green chili.
  • Spices: Black peppercorns, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, star anise, black cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves, turmeric powder, cumin, coriander powder, chili powder, mustard seeds, curry leaves.

How to make chana masala

Toast The Spices: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Then, add the black peppercorns, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, star anise, black cardamom pods, cloves, and bay leaves. Allow them to sizzle and toast for 1-2 minutes. Stir occasionally so they don’t burn.

Finely dice the onion, then add to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Mince the garlic and ginger, then add both to the pan and cook for a few more minutes. Then, chop the chili and remove the seeds for a milder flavor. Add to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add The Other Ingredients: Chop the tomatoes and add them and their juices to the pan. Mix well, cooking for 10 minutes on low. Add the turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and chili powder and stir them in. Finally, add the water and leave to cook for a few minutes.

Add The Chickpeas: Add the shredded coconut and cooked chickpeas to the chana masala. Stir them into the tomato sauce and allow them to simmer for a few more minutes.

Steps to make chana masala

Meanwhile, temper the remaining spices. Heat a little oil in a separate, small frying pan, then add the mustard seed. Cover to allow the seeds to pop. Once that happens, add the curry leaves and cover again, cooking for 30-60 seconds more.

Taste the gravy and adjust the spice level to your taste. To serve this delicious and filling chana masala, add the tempered spices and stir. Finally, garnish with cilantro and serve with naan, rice, or roti, and add lime wedges for brightness.

A serving of Chana Masala in a bowl

If you try this chana masala recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Chana Masala

5 from 9 votes
By: Samira
Aromatic and lightly spicy, this chana masala has a rich, deep flavor. It's a delicious vegan curry option for main meals and is ready to serve in 30 minutes!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 
 

  • 15.5 oz cooked chickpeas 2 cups

For the curry sauce

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or other neutral oil
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 0.5 oz cinnamon stick 1/2 stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves small
  • 10 oz onion 1 medium
  • 0.7 oz garlic 3 cloves
  • 0.4 oz ginger
  • 0.2 oz green chili 1 medium
  • 10.5 oz tomatoes 2 medium-sized; or fire-roasted tinned tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder or more, to taste
  • 1.5 cups water or more
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut fresh or dried (if dried, mix with 1 Tbsp water)

For the tempering of spices

  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil or ghee (not vegan) or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 6 curry leaves

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan, then add the black peppercorns, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, star anise, black cardamom pods, cloves and bay leaves. Toast for 1-2 minutes.
  • Dice the onion, garlic, ginger and chili (keep the seeds in for more spice).
  • Turn down the heat and add the onion to the pan, cooking for 5-7 minutes. Then add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the chili and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, then add turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and chili powder and mix. Then add the water.
  • Add the coconut and chickpeas, stirring until the chana masala is combined, cooking for a few minutes more.
  • Heat a small frying pan to high then add the mustard seeds and cover. When they start to pop, add the curry leaves and cook for 1 minute more. Add to the chana masala and mix well to serve.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust to your spice level and serve.

Notes

To store: Allow leftovers to cool before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. 
Course: Appetizer, Main, Side
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Freezer friendly: 3 Months
Shelf life: 2-3 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 310kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 36mg, Potassium: 492mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 689IU, Vitamin C: 33mg, Calcium: 107mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 9 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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5 Comments

  1. Elis says:

    Love it! Absolute success at home!

  2. Elis says:

    5 stars
    Easy to make and delicious!!!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you for your comment, Elis.

  3. Nadine says:

    5 stars
    Thank you!!!:)

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you for your comment, Nadine.