Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)

This is a childhood favourite of mine and one we eat a lot of.  If you don’t want to soak your chickpeas, like I’ve done, you can substitute it for a couple of cans of chickpeas.


1 cup of dried chickpeas (or two tins of chickpeas and go straight to cooking steps)
Small onion
1 Cup or a can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp minced garlic
2 bay leaves
Small knob of ginger
Whole chilli (optional)

Start by soaking 1 cup of dried chickpeas in some warm water, overnight. DON’T salt the water (it’ll make the skins come off and leave you with a funny texture). You can use a couple of cans of chickpeas, too, which come already cooked – but if you eat as much of the stuff as I do, then it’s far more economical to buy it dried.


The next morning, it’ll look like this! Time to cook your chickpeas – I use a pressure cooker, which speeds up the process – 10 mins on a low pressure is all you need. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, then it’ll take about 40 mins of slow simmering to cook them through.


While the chickpeas are cooking, grab the rest of your ingredients – Onions, tomatoes (no, you don’t need cherry tomatoes, I just forgot to go to the shops and get enough, so put some cherries in to bulk it up – You’ll need about 1 cups (or a can) of chopped tomatoes). On the plate you have 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 2 tsp minced garlic, 2 bay leaves, a small knob of ginger, and a whole chilli (optional)


Fry your onions, garlic & ginger (minced) over a medium heat in a little oil – add your whole chilli & cumin seeds and let the onions go translucent – add a little salt here to stop the onions from burning and going bitter.


Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the rest of the spice and mix through – again, keep the heat at a medium level – too hot and the whole thing goes bitter


Ahhh, my chickpeas are ready


You can check if they’re ready by eating a few (seriously, do it – sprinkle a little salt and some lemon or lime juice and enjoy – it’s amazing)


Add the tomatoes to the onion & spice mix


Add your chickpeas to your mix and add in a couple of cups of water (depending on how wet you like it – I like mine quite wet, but a thicker gravy is fine) – bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15-20 mins. If you boil it too vigourously, you’ll kill the chickpeas and texture – it’ll turn to mush – take your time…The best curries are left to absorb flavour for a long time.


The finished product – serve with a little rice and some garnish


Very simple dish and very tasty!


10 responses to “Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)

  1. Here is my recipe:

    1. Put two tins of chickpeas (drain the liquid first) in a saucepan and add hot water. Let it soak for a few minutes. It softens them.
    2. Cut ginger into small pieces and fry in oil. When you can smell the ginger flavor, add chopped onions and garlic (sequence is important; ginger first, onions next). Add salt as per requirement. Whole cloves are optional.
    3. When the onions are done, add chopped fresh tomatoes. Keep turning till the tomatoes become mushy.
    4. Add two spoons of Chana Masala (Rasoi Brand, easily procured from any Indian store). Don’t need to bother about coriander, cumin and the rest.
    5. Add the chickpeas and water.
    6. Let it simmer. Add one spoon of tomato paste or one cup of tomato juice, for thicker sauce.
    7. Add chopped fresh coriander.
    8. Replace Chickpeas with Red Kidney Beans in 1 to make Rajma Masala.

  2. I followed your recipe with just some minor alterations given what I had on hand and what I could buy and it turned out great.

    I like to make extra so we can take leftovers to work for lunch the next day and also Foodsaver and freeze some single portions for those times one of us is home alone or when neither of us can be bothered cooking.

    I essentially doubled your recipe with the following changes:

    – 2x 540 ml cans of chickpeas including the liquid.
    – 1x 800 g can of chopped tomatoes. For tomato flavour I often prefer canned to fresh, as fresh from my grocery store aren’t very flavourful.
    – 1/4 of the chilli powder in your recipe, so 1/2 a tsp in my double recipe. That’s becasue the chilli powder I am using at the moment is so hot it should be labelled as a hazardous material.
    – I couldn’t find a dried chilli so I added a pinch of dried chilli flakes, which included seeds to extra heat coming from there too.

    • ive read how tumeric is suoseppd to be one of the healthiest spices around. supah- food! ive been drinking tumeric tea and basically overutilizing tumeric ever since. but i just read in a book called the anti cancer diet that tumeric’s awesomeness can only really be absorbed if its mixed in oil with black pepper! interesting, i thought, so maybe ill make less tumeric tea and make more tumeric and black pepper oil curries like this masala!

      • All our best Natasha, Calvin was talking to your Grandpa at the trctaor club breakfast at River Garden Inn this morning & ask about you, he commented that either your Mom or Grandma went overdue but babies come when they are ready, maybe you will have a Canada Day baby! I am printing this salad recipe & hope to make it soon..sounds wonderful, wish I had you in my kitchen!

  3. Neat! I also prefer whole peeled tomatoes in a can or diced Italian tomatoes (tinned).
    You can also potatoes (peel, cut and zap in the microwave for 4 minutes) when you add the chickpeas. Nothing like dried red chillies to make it hot! I have also experimented with south Indian spices instead of garam masala or chana masala. NTR sambhar powder works well too. The best spice mix is a south Indian curry powder called Vethakuzhambu powder. Unfortunately, you can’t get it in the Indian stores here.

      • Yes! I’m trying to work more tiumerrc in my diet too! It’s definitely a super food, and it helps inflammation and joint pain! I didn’t know about the oil & pepper combo for absorption thanks for filling me in!

  4. Pumpkin soup.I use Kent pumpkins thguoh butternut pumpkins work just as well.cut the whole thing up. removing the skin and the seeds.put in a big enough pot to cover all the pumpkin with water.Add some dried onion flakes (about a table spoon)add several heaped tablespoons of vegetable stock powder.bring the pot to the boil until the pumpkin is cooked.Using a bar mix blender, blend the soup (still in the one pot) until it is lump free. check the taste. add salt pepper more stock powder if needed. If you want to add garam masala or nutmeg or any other flavour do so now.this soup should be fairly thick, serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream on top and some fresh crunchy french stick.

  5. So umm, in the ingredients it says to use 2 cups of dried chickpeas, but then in the directions it tells me to soak 1 cup. Which one is it supposed to be?

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