Chana Masala – Chickpeas Curry Recipe with step by step photos and easy to follow instructions:
Chana Masala – Chickpeas Curry is one of the many variations of chickpeas curry dishes prepared in Punjabi cuisine. Soft, melt-in-your-mouth chickpeas simmered in rich onion, garlic, ginger and tomato gravy loaded with fragrant spices and fresh coriander (cilantro) – is a healthy, delicious and satisfying dish often served with Bhatura (deep fried leavened bread). Chana Masala is a very popular dish in India as well as outside India. You will find this dish at every Indian restaurant menu and Indian fast food places.
Chana is also known as Kabuli Chana, Chole, Chickpeas, Garbanzo Beans and White Chana. Chana Masala is very easy to make with all easy to find ingredients. It begins with soaking chickpeas overnight with a touch of baking soda. Baking soda helps to soften the chickpeas. Chickpeas are then boiled until very soft. Then comes the best part of marrying the rich thick gravy and soft chickpeas, dressing it with fresh coriander….and what you are left with at the end is, a comfort food at its best.
You can skip the soaking, boiling steps altogether by using canned chickpeas. If using canned chickpeas, make sure to drain the liquid and rinse under running water to remove some of the added salt. Then add water as required.
Chickpeas do not have much of its own flavor, therefore, it is important to add flavorful spices and herbs to the curry without overdoing it. I roast the cumin seeds before adding it to the chickpeas curry. It gives a nice earthy-smoky flavor to the dish. Adding a good amount of tomatoes adds a nice tartness to the curry. I do not add cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves to the chickpeas curry; I feel these spices are too strong for the chickpeas flavor.
At home, Chana Masala is served with Roti, it goes well with Rice also; but it is most enjoyed when served with Pooris (deep fried flat bread) or Bhatura (deep fried leavened bread) and pickled onion on the side. Chana Masala is often served for lunch or dinner…..but there is no rule to prevent us eating it for breakfast! This is a perfect dish to serve at a party.
Let’s learn to make delicious Chana Masala recipe at home so when you will go to an Indian restaurant to eat out next time, you will not be wondering….how did they make this?
How to make Chana Masala – Chickpeas Curry:
- The first most important step is to soak chickpeas overnight, if you are using dry chickpeas. Wash the chickpeas, add baking soda and plenty of water, leave it on the counter top and have a nice sleep.
- Next morning, drain the water and rinse the chickpeas. I do not advise using the same water to cook the chickpeas in which the chickpeas were soaked. Remember we added baking soda to this water. Too much of baking soda can upset your stomach. Into a large saucepan, add the rinsed chickpeas, salt and some fresh water; and boil the chickpeas until soft. Alternatively, you can use pressure cooker to cook the chickpeas faster. Cook until three whistles.
If you are using canned chickpeas, you can skip the Step 1 and 2. Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas before using.
- While the chickpeas are boiling, let’s prepare the masala or curry sauce. Chop the fresh tomatoes and add it to a blender. Add garlic, ginger and green chilies. Grind it into a fine paste.
In a large saucepan, heat oil. Carefully add the tomato mixture to the oil. Add the canned tomato purée and all the spices. I use canned tomato purée because it gives the dish a nice vibrant color. I also dry roast the cumin seeds before adding to the masala. It adds nice smoky flavor to the Chana Masala. white text
How to dry roast the cumin seeds? In a small fry pan over high heat, add cumin seeds. In a few minutes, the seeds will start to change the color to dark brown and smoke will start to come out. Gently shake the pan to roast the seeds from all sides. When the seeds are almost black color, remove it from the heat and add to the masala.
- Mix the masala well and cook uncovered over medium-high heat until oil starts to appear at the surface.
- Add the onion purée to the masala.
Why use onion purée? Onion purée gives the masala gravy a smooth and silky texture. I personally don’t enjoy the onion and tomato chunks in the gravy. For that reason, I always purée the onion; and it cuts the cooking time short for me.
a) If you prefer to use the chopped onion, feel free to do that. Just make sure you sauté the onion before Step 3.
b) Don’t feel like chopping the onion, you can follow my recipe on how to make Onion Purée. It is so easy and it will save you a lot of time.
- Cover and cook the masala until most of the moisture has evaporated and the mixture has thickened. Stir the masala frequently to prevent it from burning at the bottom of the saucepan.
- Add the cooked chickpeas and mix well. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until chickpeas have absorbed the spice flavor.
- Add chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) and mix well. Cover and cook for about two minutes.
- Enjoy it with Naan, Roti, Paratha or Rice.
Chana Masala - Chickpeas Curry Recipe, How to make Chana MasalaPrep timeCook timeTotal timeSoft, melt-in-your-mouth chickpeas simmered in rich onion, garlic, ginger and tomato gravy loaded with fragrant spices and fresh coriander (cilantro) - is a healthy, delicious and satisfying dish.Author: Raj BrarRecipe type: Main - VegetarianCuisine: IndianServes: 6-8 servingsIngredients
- 2 cups Kabuli chana (chickpeas), dry or (3 -12 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 cups water, more as required
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 6-7 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 green chilies
- 1 cup canned tomatoes, puréed
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds, roasted
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup cooked onion purée or 2 medium onion, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon amchoor (dry mango powder)
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
NotesAmchoor (dry mango) powder - Unripe green mangoes are dried and powdered to make amchoor powder, available at most Indian grocery stores.3.5.3226
- Wash the chickpeas. In a large bowl, add chickpeas, baking soda and plenty of water and leave it to soak overnight or for at least 6 hours.
- Drain the soaked chickpeas, rinse and add it to a large pot. Add salt and 8 cups of water; bring it a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook until chickpeas are soft, for about 45 minutes. Add more water if required.
- While chickpeas are cooking, in a blender, grind tomatoes, ginger, garlic and green chilies into a find paste.
- Preheat a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add oil. Carefully, add the tomato mixture. Add the canned tomato purée, cumin seeds, bay leaf, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric and salt. Mix well and cook until oil starts to separate; stirring frequently.
- Add onion purée and mix well. Cover and cook again until mixture has thickened for about 5 minutes; stirring frequently.
- Add cooked chickpeas. Mix gently; cover and cook for 15 minutes on low heat to let the chickpeas absorb the flavors.
- Add coriander powder, amchoor powder and chopped fresh coriander. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
- Serve hot with Naan, Roti, Paratha or Rice.