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Chana Masala (Chickpeas)

This dish of chickpeas in a spicy coating can also be found under the name Chole Masala, and is traditionally made with dried chickpeas that are soaked overnight and then cooked in a pressure cooker with a pinch of baking soda before being added to the sauce. I am never quite that organized, and tend to make them with canned chickpeas. The purists may shake their heads in horror, but I have never had any complaints from anyone to who I have served them. They are usually served with a puffy fried flat bread called a bhatura, but they also work very well just with a bowl of buttered boiled rice.

A bowl of Channa Masala by Simon Majumdar

Chana Masala Recipe

(Serves 4)


  • 2 Cans Chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

  • 1 Red Onion (sliced thinly)

  • 1 Inch Fresh Ginger (pureed)

  • 3 Cloves Garlic (pureed)

  • 3 Serrano Green Chili (de-seeded and pureed)

  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin

  • 1 Tsp Ground Coriander

  • 1 Tsp Turmeric

  • 1 Tsp Red Chili Powder

  • 1 Tsp Salt

  • 1 Tsp Sugar

  • 3 Large Tomatoes (de-seeded and finely chopped)

  • 1 Cup Water or Vegetable Stock

  • ½ Lemon (Juice)

  • ½ Cup Cilantro Leaf (finely chopped)

  • Vegetable oil for cooking



  • Bring the vegetable oil to heat in a large saucepan.

  • Add the onions and cook until golden brown.

  • Add the ginger and cook for 1 minute.

  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

  • Add the Serrano chili and cook for 1 minute.

  • Add the dry spices, salt and sugar and combine well.  If the spices begin to stick, add a tablespoon of water.

  • Add the chopped tomatoes. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down.

  • Add the vegetable stock and simmer 8-10 minutes until the sauce reduces to a thick consistency.

  • Add the chickpeas and the chopped cilantro leaf (reserving some for garnish).

  • Simmer for 3-5 minutes.

  • Add the lemon juice and serve garnished with the remaining cilantro leaf.


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