Chana masala is popular Indian comfort food made with chickpeas simmered in spicy tomato onion gravy.
Chana masala comes together with basic pantry ingredients but the results are super delicious. This hearty, saucy and spicy chickpea tomato-onion dish is vegan and gluten-free as well. It tastes even better the next day, so I make sure I have some leftovers..
Enjoy this Delicious and flavourful curry on its own, with nan or over rice.
- 1 cup Chana /chickpea (Preferable soaked for 3-4 hrs or overnight in hot water ) or 1 can Garbanzo beans
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 tablespoon Ginger-Garlic paste
- 1 Bay leaf
- 2 Star anise
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 7 peppercorns
- 4 cloves
- 1 Green chili slit in half or dry Red chili
- 1-1/2 medium Onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium Tomato, finely chopped (optionally you can cut it in halves and grate it)
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (Adjust per your spice preference)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, optional (gives nice smokey flavor)
- 1/2 tsp Amchoor powder (dried mango powder)
- 1 tsp Anar dana powder (Dried pomegranate seeds powder I usually save the seeds and dry them and store in freezer)
- 1 to 1½ tablespoon Garam Masala
- 1 tablespoon Kasurimethi, optional (crush it in your palm before adding to the gravy)
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
- Salt to taste
- About 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro
- 1 Black tea bag, optional
- Wash and soak chana in hot water for about 2-4 hours. Pressure cook chana after soaking it along with a tea bag for about 7-8 whistles. Remove the teabag and set it aside once cooked.
- If using canned garbanzo beans you can skip the above step as they are already cooked. I would, however, suggest washing it once with water.
- Heat oil in a pan, when warm add all of the whole garam masalas- peppercorns, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, bay leaf, red chili or fresh green chili and cook it for about minute on medium heat.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and cook it for a minute more, stirring it while it cooks.
- Now add finely chopped onions along with some salt so the onions cook faster. Continue cooking on medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes till they turn light pink and soft, stirring them every few minutes so that it does not burn.
- Add tomatoes into the pan and mix it well. Continue cooking it on medium till all the tomatoes are smashed completely about 10 more minutes.
- Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, Anardana powder, amchur powder, and coriander powder, mix well.
- Add half a cup of water and scrape the sides of the pan. This will give your curry a nice dark color. Cook this till all the mixture is almost dry about 5 minutes.
- Add the boiled chana to this and smash them with the back of your spatula, this will thicken the gravy.
- Add 1 to 1/2 cup water to this along with salt, smoked paprika, and Kasuri methi and mix well. Let this simmer on medium-low for 5-10 minutes.
- Add lemon juice, taste and adjust the seasonings per your preference.
- Sprinkle chopped cilantro and serve with roti, paratha, naan, dinner rolls or bread.
- It can also be served with plain rice, jeera rice, biryani, pulao.
- Soaking chana in hot water cooks it quickly, so I recommend doing it at least 2-3 hours if not overnight. You can also boil and simmer soaked chana in a pot of water until it is done.
- Teabag is used while cooking chana to give it a nice brown color. You can skip using it if you don’t have one on hand. Also if you are using the canned beans you can skip this as well.
- If you do not have whole garam masalas on hand you can use garam masala powder at the end along with red chili powder. In case you do not have garam masala in any form you can just adjust the spiciness by adding more chili powder,. Optionally you can also use curry masala as well. It won’t be like the original taste but it will still be good!
- Amchoor is dried mango powder and Anardana is dried pomegranate seeds powder, this imparts a tartness to the gravy. In case you do not have this you can replace it with lemon juice. Just add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon more of lemon juice at the end. Taste and add more if needed.
- Use Kashmiri Chili powder for a less spicy curry. Kashmiri chilies are known to be less spicy however they impart a lovely red color to the curry.
- Using smoked paprika is optional, I add it for the smokey flavor it imparts to the curry.
- Instapot version– Soak the chana and keep. Do not cook them. With the Instapot in saute settings add oil, whole garam masala, ginger-garlic and so on as mentioned in the recipe above. The only change will be instead of adding the cooked chana you will add soaked chana to the pot along with 2 cups of water (for 1cup chana add 2 cups water). Change the instapot setting to manual mode and cook it for 35 minutes with the vent in sealing position. When done let the pressure release naturally for about 10-15 minutes, after which you can release the pressure and open the instant pot. Smash the chana to get a nice thick gravy. Change the instapot settings to saute again, add Kasuri methi, lemon juice, and salt, and simmer for few more minutes.
- You can alternatively use instapot just to cook the chana and make the gravy while the chana is cooking.
- The item links are for reference on things that I usually use.