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Chana masala recipe with side of poori and potato curry.
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5 from 42 votes

Chana Masala Recipe

Chana masala (also called chole masala) is a spicy north Indian dish of chickpeas in a tomato onion gravy that is best eaten with a naan, roti or rice. This delicious, restaurant-style recipe comes together in under 30 minutes. It is gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free and it can be oil-free.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Curry
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 126kcal



  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (to make this without oil, roast cumin and saute the onions in ¼ cup vegetable stock)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 black cardamom pods (these have a rich flavor so start by using 1, if you wish, the first time you make this recipe)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 3 cups chickpeas (cooked or canned)
  • 3 medium tomatoes (pureed)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 2 teaspoon red chilli powder (like paprika. Or use cayenne, for more heat)
  • 1 tablespoon chana masala powder (or garam masala. Add ½ teaspoon amchur or dried mango powder if you use garam masala--refer to expert tips above for more details.)
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro (coriander leaves, inely chopped)
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds in a skillet or saute pan. As they begin to darken, which should take no more than a few seconds, add the black cardamom pods and bay leaf. Saute a few seconds, then add the onions.
    If making this oil free, roast the cumin seeds, cardamom and bay leaf in a dry pan. Then add the water and proceed to step 2.
  • Add some salt and saute the onions over medium heat until they start to get brown spots. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a few seconds.
  • Add the tomato puree and mix in. Add the coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric, if using, and red chilli powder. Mix well.
  • Stir in and let the tomatoes cook for about five minutes until most of the water has evaporated and the tomatoes are darker
  • Add the chickpeas. Stir in, then add about a cup of water. The chana masala should be quite thick. If you want to thin it out, wait until after the next step.
  • Bring the chana masala to a boil, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir a couple of times in between to make sure there's enough liquid in the pot.
  • Next mash some of the chickpeas with the back of the ladle. This will also help the sauce thicken. Add more water at this stage if you want to thin out the chana masala a bit more.
  • Stir in the chana masala powder. Add salt if needed. Garnish with cilantro.
  • Serve hot.



  • You can use either dried or canned chickpeas in this recipe, without much compromise in flavor. Dried chickpeas are always the best option because there are no preservatives, and an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, if you have one, makes short work of cooking chickpeas, even unsoaked chickpeas. But the convenience of using canned chickpeas can't be beat. If using canned, make sure you place the chickpeas in a strainer and wash out any of the brine sticking to them to ensure it doesn't interfere with the flavor.
  • In north India, you'd likely eat a chana masala with a bhatura, a fried, puffy bread that is a lot like a poori, only larger. You can just make pooris. I also love serving the poori-chana with a potato curry.
  • Naan goes very nicely with chana masala. You can buy naan off the shelf in most U.S. supermarkets now.
  • Rice is also a wonderful accompaniment to chana masala. You can serve the curry over basmati rice, either plain white or brown basmati rice. You can also serve it with an aromatic cumin rice. 
Storage and freezing instructions:
  • Refrigerate: Chana masala leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.
  • Freeze: Freeze the chana masala in an airtight container for up to four months.
  • Reheat: Reheat the frozen chana masala in a microwave or let it defrost in the refrigerator, then reheat in a saucepan on the stovetop.


Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 349mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 752IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 3mg