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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Easy Chana Masala Recipe (How to Make Chickpea Curry)

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This flavorful authentic Chana Masala recipe is an easy, Indian chickpea curry, with the perfect amount of spice and veggies! Served with creamy yogurt and cilantro, it’s healthy, naturally gluten-free and easily made vegan too!

chana masala served in a silver bowl with yogurt and cilantro

Chana masala is one of my favorite classic Indian dishes, and it’s also one of my go-to meals to make at home when I’m short on time!

It’s one of those savory recipes that will never steer your wrong! The combination of chickpeas and spices in a thick gravy is hearty, filling, and dependable.

Latest Recipe Video!

Of course, lower quality restaurants can still mess up Chana Masala by smothering the delicate chickpeas and spices with too much oil, or overdoing the hot spices without balancing out the warm and savory spices.

My version of chana masala is healthier than the traditional version, but tastes as good as any dish you’d get at Indian restaurants!

I like to serve this with plain creamy yogurt that melts over the chickpeas and adds a cooling element to this spicy dish. This recipe is already vegan, it’s just the yogurt topping that isn’t! Swap that out for a vegan yogurt and you’ve got a healthy vegan recipe all ready to go!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Super easy
  • Vegan Friendly
  • Tastes just like restaurant style chana masala
  • Healthy and Low in Calories
  • Rich source of plant protein
  • Family friendly
  • Super flavorful with rich Indian spices
  • Ready in less than an hour!

🥘 Ingredients

This recipe calls for a few simple ingredients that are pantry staples, and a set of basic Indian spices that can easily be found online, at your local Indian grocery store, spice shop, and in many cases in the aisle of your grocery store.

chana masala ingredients

Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans): I use canned chickpeas for this recipe for ease and to save time. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Save the chickpea water (aquafaba) to use in vegan recipes. You can also use dried chickpeas, but you will need to cook them first before adding them to this recipe.

Red Onion and Garlic: Finely dice your red onion. I love using red onion in this recipe because it adds color and a touch of sweetness. The garlic brings out a fragrant aroma.

Canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes: With this recipe you want both the juice and the tomatoes from the can. Do not drain the tomatoes. Dump the whole can of peeled tomatoes into the pot. Then you’ll use a potato masher to combine them into a rich sauce. You’ll need a large 32 ounce can of tomatoes, use organic if possible. You can use fresh tomatoes but I’ve found that canned tomatoes has a richer flavor and makes prep way easier! If you can’t find whole canned tomatoes, you can also use tomato puree (but you’ll need to adjust the quantity to ensure your chana masala doesn’t become too watery).

Baby Red Potatoes: I love using baby red potatoes in this recipe! They are starchy, and cook up quickly. Cut into small cubes about the same size as the chickpeas for even cooking, and a balanced bite!

Indian Spices: This recipe calls for a set of whole spices and powdered spices. Here’s what you’ll need to gather: Cumin Seeds, Ground Coriander, Ground Ginger (you can also use fresh ginger), Garam Masala, Cardamom Pods, Cayenne Pepper (you can also use a serrano pepper cut in half, or an equal amount of Red Chili Powder), Ground Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt.

Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt and Fresh Coriander Leaves (aka Cilantro): Finish this dish with some chopped fresh cilantro and a dollop of creamy nonfat plain Green yogurt. It melts over the top and adds a richness without the added fat!

🍽 Equipment

🔪 Instructions: How to Make Chana Masala

Cook The Onions: Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and red onion and cook, stirring frequently until it is deeply caramelized (this removes the raw smell and taste of the onions).

onions sauteeing in a pan

Roast Spices, Add Potatoes & Tomatoes: Reduce to medium heat. Add the garlic, cumin seeds, coriander powder, ginger, garam masala, and cardamom pods, and fry them, stirring constantly, until the cumin seeds pop and the spices are fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds. Reduce to medium-low heat. Pour in the juice and the tomatoes from the can and crush them in the pot with a potato masher. Add the salt and the potatoes.

tomatoes sauteeing in a pan

Add Chickpeas: Raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the cilantro and cayenne, and all of the rest of the spices, and simmer the sauce until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Add the chickpeas, and stir to combine. Keep simmering the curry on low until the chickpeas and potatoes soften (about 30 minutes).

chickpeas and potatoes added to pan

Serve! Serve and top with cilantro, or plain yogurt depending on how you like it!

chana masala served in a silver bowl with yogurt and cilantro

❓Recipe FAQs

What Is Chana Masala?

Chana Masala (aka channa masala, or Punjabi Chole) is a popular Indian curry dish made with chickpeas in a rich flavorful gravy. The chickpeas are cooked and simmered with tomatoes, onions, and lots of traditional Indian spices. You can also find a chole powder or masala mix at many Indian grocery stores. You can use this spice mixture to create a simple recipe without the need for the long list of spices. The spice mixture contains a combination of cumin, cloves, ground coriander, peppercorn, cardamom, and others. Chana masala is typically a mild chickpea curry, and perfect for beginner cooks as it’s almost impossible to mess up!

How is chana masala made?

If making this recipe with dried chickpeas, it’s important to soak them overnight. You can then cook them on the stovetop or in the pressure cooker for faster results.
The gravy is made with a combination of onion, and tomatoes that are roasted and combined with spices.
The chickpeas and the tomato gravy are then combined together to create this one of a kind dish!

Is chana masala healthy?

Yes, Chana Masala is a healthy and well balanced meal when made at home! This recipe is made with less oil and is a hearty, and nutritious meal! Here’s why this recipe for chana masala is healthy for you:
High in Protein & Fiber: Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-protein and fiber that keeps you feeling fuller longer. One serving of this dish has nearly 10 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber.
Good Source of Nutrients: This healthy chana masala is a particularly a good source of folate, and manganese.
Low in Calories and Fat: A hearty serving comes in at under 230 calories! Traditionally this dish has quite a bit of oil, but without the extra oil, it is a well balanced meal.

What is the best spice blend to use?

You can use a combination of ground spices, as listed in this recipe, or you may use an Indian spice blend such as a chole masala blend or curry powder.

Do you have to soak the chana (chickpeas) prior to adding them to the masala?

If you are using dry chickpeas you must soak them overnight before adding them to water to cook. Soaking them helps to make them more easily digestible, and also creates a more tender chickpea. If you are using canned chickpeas, no soaking is required!

Will kids enjoy this recipe?

Yes! Kids will enjoy this easy recipe! When making this for kids, I recommend reducing the spices and omitting the cayenne altogether. Most kids love this dish with creamy yogurt on top too!

🧊 How to Store

  • Fridge: Allow the masala to cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: Transfer the chana masala to a freezer safe, airtight container. Label with the date, and contents. Keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. When ready to reheat, remove from the refrigerator, and thaw overnight. Then warm in the microwave or on the stovetop.

👪 How to Serve

  • Grains: This simple chana masala is often served with some sort of grain like quinoa, brown rice, jasmine rice or basmati rice. For a low carb option, you can also use cauliflower rice!
  • Breads: Naan is the traditional option to pair with this Indian chickpea curry, but you can use any type of “bread” you like! Indian breads like roti, paratha, or pooris all work well; or you could even use whole wheat tortillas or gluten-free tortillas for a GF option!
  • Condiments: Plain Greek yogurt or vegan yogurt add a nice creaminess and cooling element to the dish. You can also serve this with a variety of chutneys, a squeeze of lemon juice, or fresh herbs like cilantro!

📖 Variations

  • Dried Chickpeas: Instead of using canned chickpeas, go ahead and make them from scratch. It will take a bit more time and planning, but the end result is absolutely amazing!
  • Use a Spice Mixture: If you don’t have all of the spices listed, use a high quality garam masala mix, or chole masala mix. Customize the amount of spices in this dish to your own tastes.
  • Add More Vegetables: For a less traditional, yet still super flavorful recipe, add your favorite vegetables. Frozen peas, green beans, broccoli, or cauliflower would all be excellent additions. If adding more veggies, be sure to chop them finely.
chana masala served in a silver bowl with yogurt and cilantro

💭 Expert Tips

  • Drain and rinse chickpeas if using canned.
  • Sauté spices until they become fragrant, and the seeds pop and sizzle. Make sure your spices are fresh for the best flavor!
  • Cube the potatoes roughly the same size as the chickpeas for even cooking and spoonfuls.
  • Serve topped with fresh herbs like cilantro and creamy plain Greek yogurt.
  • For a spicier version of this dish, use a serrano pepper with seeds, or your favorite spicy chutney!

🍲 More Indian Recipes!

If you have tried this Chana Masala or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

📋 Recipe Card

chana masala served in a silver bowl with yogurt and cilantro
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Chana Masala

This flavorful authentic Chana Masala recipe is an easy, Indian chickpea curry, with the perfect amount of spice and veggies! Served with creamy yogurt and cilantro, naturally gluten-free and easily made vegan too!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
0 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 227kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger or 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 4 cardamom pods lightly crushed
  • 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes 1 can
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp cilantro leaves roughly torn, plus more for garnish
  • tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 30 oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed 2 (15 oz) cans
  • 5 baby red potatoes diced
  • 6 tbsp plain non fat Greek yogurt optional

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil and red onion and cook, stirring frequently until it is deeply caramelized. Reduce the heat to low.
  • Add the garlic, cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garam masala, and cardamom pods, and fry them, stirring constantly, until the cumin seeds pop and the spices are fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the juice and the tomatoes from the can and crush them in the pot with a potato masher. Add the salt and the potatoes.
  • Raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the cilantro and cayenne, and all of the rest of the spices, and simmer the sauce until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Add the chickpeas, and stir to combine.
  • Keep simmering the curry on low until the chickpeas and potatoes soften (about 30 minutes).
  • Serve and top with cilantro and yogurt.

Video

https://youtu.be/kGY6CXoCw3Y

Notes

Expert Tips
  • To Store and Keep: Transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or freeze for later. Transfer the masala to a freezer safe container. Push out any air, to avoid freezer burn. Label with the date, and contents. Keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. When ready to reheat, remove from the refrigerator, and thaw overnight. Then warm in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • Drain and rinse chickpeas if using canned.
  • Sauté spices until they become fragrant, and the seeds pop and sizzle. Make sure your spices are fresh for the best flavor!
  • Cube the potatoes roughly the same size as the chickpeas for even cooking and spoonfuls.
  • Serve topped with fresh herbs like cilantro and creamy plain Greek yogurt.
  • For a spicier version of this dish, use a serrano pepper with seeds, or your favorite spicy chutney!

Nutrition

Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.2g | Protein: 9.9g | Fat: 3.3g | Sodium: 430.2mg | Fiber: 7.3g | Sugar: 7.5g

Posted In…

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