You’ve been looking for the awesome Indian chickpea dish Chana Masala forever, and now you have found it! Hooray! You shall not be disappointed.
I am confident that this recipe is the tastiest Chana Masala you will ever try. One of the reasons is the use of ghee as a cooking oil, rather than vegetable oil. The other reason is the authentic Indian spices that give this dish its true alluring qualities.
Ghee is a type of clarified butter that is nutty, subtle, and healing. It is one of the most sacred foods in India, and it's good for all kinds of cooking applications.
Read my post How to Identify Quality Ghee, and Ghee Buying Tips, and 10 Healing Benefits of Ghee, to learn more. Ghee can be purchased in almost any grocery store these days, and I highly recommend it.
Ghee supports the aroma of the Chana Masala, and it surrounds, and brings out the flavor of all the other spices used in this recipe.
Speaking of spices, there are a few here that you may not be familiar with. I encourage you to source them if possible. You can them use them every week when you make this dish.
But if you don’t have the spices, don’t worry. I let you know what to do in the notes section of the recipe below, and in my Guide to Ingredient Substitutions.
I expect that if you try it, Chana Masala is sure to become a staple in your household. It is a wonderful way to flavor the protein-rich chickpea, and include it regularly in your diet. I promise the satisfying flavor of this dish will also please any meat lover.
Chickpeas are high in protein, and one of the earliest cultivated legumes. Archeologists have found chickpea remains (I am serious, haha) in the Middle East that are 7,500 years old!
Another great thing about chickpeas is how they are locally grown in North America (awesome!). Eating legumes for protein is also a sustainable choice for the planet (doubly awesome!).You’ve been looking for the awesome Indian chickpea dish Chana Masala forever, and this is it! Click To Tweet
Chana Masala, Chole, Or Tangy Chickpea?
Oh, and in case you are wondering why this recipe is called Chana Masala?
Chana is the Hindi word for a ubiquitous Indian variety of chickpea (75 percent of the world's crops) that looks like a chickpea, except it's about half the size.
The chickpeas we are familiar with in North America are known in Hindi as Chole. This is why Chana Masala is sometimes called Chole when made with the larger chickpea. The taste, and the recipe for both is the same though.
I hope you try my versatile Chana Masala recipe, and that you enjoy it as much as our Buttered Veg friends and family do.
Savory Chickpeas In Tangy Tomato Glaze (Chana Masala)
for cooking the chickpeas
- 4 cups cooked chickpeas, two small 15.5-ounce [439 gram] cans of chickpeas or 1 ⅓ cup dried chickpeas
- ¼ cup bean cooking liquid, or water
prep for the tangy tomato glaze
- 2 ½ teaspoons fresh ginger root, minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon green chili, minced (jalapeño or Serrano can be substituted)
- 3 cups tomato puree, either 1 large 28-ounce [800-gram can], or the equivalent in pureed fresh tomatoes with skins removed
to make the tangy tomato glaze
- 2 tablespoons ghee, (see notes)
- ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds, see notes
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, see notes
- 8-12 curry leaves, optional; see notes
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoons chat masala, or 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice; see notes
- 1 teaspoons garam masala, see notes
for the garnish
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro or coriander leaf, chopped (portion 2 tablespoons, then 2 tablespoons)
- 1 ¼ teaspoons Himalayan pink salt, or to taste
Cook the chickpeas
- If you plan to use dry chickpeas and cook them from scratch, please see my post, How to Cook Chickpeas from Scratch: Double the recipe, and use 1 ⅓ cups of dry chickpeas. Reserve a ¼ cup of bean cooking liquid for this recipe.
- If you are using canned chickpeas, drain most of the liquid from each can, and you are ready to get started.
Make the savory chickpeas in tangy tomato glaze
- Mince your green chilis and ginger. Prepare the tomato puree or open up your canned tomatoes. Take out all the required spices and have them ready by the stove.
- Heat 2 tablespoons ghee or oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add black mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add the cumin seeds for about 20 seconds, then add the ginger root and green chilis. Sauté until the ginger just begins to brown.
- Add the curry leaves if using and stir for a minute, then add the tomato puree.
- Stir in the turmeric, optional chat masala, garam masala, half the salt, and half the fresh cilantro. Cook over medium heat until the oil separates from the tomatoes and forms a light sheen on the surface. Add a bit of water if it is too thick, and partially cover with a lid to limit sputtering.
- Add the cooked chickpeas along with a ¼ cup of the bean cooking liquid or water. Once it begins to simmer, turn the heat to low. Simmer 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if it gets too thick. You want the consistency to be just slightly thick. It should not be watery, and it should not be so thick that it is sticking to the bottom of the pot either. Taste, and adjust for salt.
- Finalize the dish by stirring in the rest of the fresh coriander. If you like, add a bit more garam masala. Garam masala is a spice that is often used at the end of the cooking process because some of its delicate aromatics are lost during cooking.
- Serve with flatbread, such as Whole Wheat Roti Flatbread, and/or steaming hot basmati rice, and a fresh salad. Try fresh fruit as a dessert. The fruity flavors will pair well with the sultry depth of the chana masala.
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