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Authentic Chana Masala Recipe

Our authentic chana masala recipe simmers in a fragrant tomato-based curry infused with onions, ginger, garlic, chilies, and fresh cilantro. The restaurant-style meal cooks in under an hour, and you can enjoy chana masala as a stand-alone meal or a delightful side dish. It pairs perfectly with fragrant basmati rice, fluffy poori, or sweet halwa.

Chana Masala in a serving bowl topped with chopped cilantro.

What You Need to Make this Recipe

  • Ghee:  Ghee is a staple in Indian and Pakistani cuisine and develops a deep, nutty base for the dish.
  • Whole Spices: Toasting cumin seeds and kalonji seeds pronounce their flavor.
  • Chiles: Slit lengthwise, the green chiles add heat that doesn’t overwhelm.
  • Onion: Use red or yellow onions to flavor the curry.
  • Garlic: I suggest using three garlic cloves, but measure with your heart
  • Ginger: Enjoy flavorful chana masala with fresh ginger.
  • Spices: Bring authentic chana masala recipe to life with spices like Kashmiri chili powder (paprika), turmeric powder, garam masala, and coriander powder.
  • Tomato: Fresh tomatoes create a rich, flavorful masala for the chickpeas to simmer.
  • Chickpeas: Canned chickpeas are convenient, but you can use dry ones if you don’t mind the extra work. Soak the chickpeas for 24 hours beforehand and increase the cooking time to 1-2 hours.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro brightens and flavors the dish.

How to Make My Authentic Chana Masala Recipe

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Warm ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of kalonji seeds, cumin seeds, and green chilies. Cook until the ingredients sputter.

Cumin and chilies roasting in a skillet.

Step 2: Lower the heat to medium-low, then add onion; cook until the onions brown and caramelize.

Onions sautéing in a pan with the cumin and chilies.

Step 3: Next, add garlic and ginger, and stir to combine.

Garlic and aromatics added to the onion mixture.

Step 4: Combine chili powder, turmeric, and garam masala in a small bowl. Stir the spices into the mixture and cook until it becomes fragrant for about 30 seconds.

Spices added to the onion mixture cooking in the skillet.

Step 5: Stir in the tomatoes and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to the onion, ginger, chili, and spices.

Step 6: Remove the green chilies and use an immersion blender to blend the masala until smooth.

An immersion blender pureeing the masala.

Step 7: Return the mixture to the pan, along with the reserved chilies. Then add the chickpeas, cilantro, and ½ cup water; bring it to a boil.

Cilantro and chickpeas added to the plan with the masala.

Step 8: Sprinkle with kalonji seeds and cover the pan with the lid slightly ajar. Lower the heat and maintain a gentle bubble.

Cook for about 20-30 minutes until the mixture reduces.

Authentic Chana Masala simmering in the pan.

Step 9: Season with salt as needed and garnish with cilantro.

Chana Masala in a serving bowl topped with chopped cilantro.

Expert Tips

  • For the immersion step, you can remove the mixture from the heat and add it to a blender or food processor.
  • If the liquid evaporates before the chana becomes tender, you may need to add more water. Be sure to taste and season with salt afterward.

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Chana Masala in a serving bowl topped with chopped cilantro.

Serving Suggestions

What to do With the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate  Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze  Let the dish cool, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Our authentic chana masala recipe freezes for up to 2 months.
  • Thaw – Defrost the chana masala in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat  Warm leftovers on the stovetop, and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make chana masala in the Instant Pot?

1. Warm ghee in an Instant Pot in saute mode. Add one teaspoon of kalonji seeds, cumin seed, and green chilies. Cook until the ingredients begin to sputter.
2. Add onion and cook until the onions brown and caramelize.
3. Next, add garlic and ginger, and stir to combine.
4. Combine chili powder, turmeric, and garam masala in a small bowl. Stir the spices into the mixture until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.
5. Add tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Remove the green chilies and use an immersion blender to blend the masala until smooth. Alternatively, you can remove the mixture from heat and add it to a blender or food processor.
7. Return the mixture to the Instant Pot, along with the reserved chilies. Then add the chickpeas, cilantro, ½ cup water, and bring it all to a simmer in saute mode.
8. Sprinkle with kalonji seeds and secure the lid. Set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure, and cook for 10 minutes with a quick release.
9. Taste and season with salt, and garnish with cilantro and more kalonji seeds.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

All you have to do to make this recipe vegan is to use a different oil in place of ghee; I suggest grapeseed oil.

More Indian Recipes:

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Chana Masala in a serving bowl topped with chopped cilantro.

Authentic Chana Masala Recipe

Tressa Jamil
Our authentic chana masala recipe is ready and on the table in 40 minutes; serve the flavorful chickpea dish as a stand-alone meal or tasty side.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 186 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 teaspoon kalonji seeds, plus more to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1-3 Thai green chili, split lengthwise
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon homemade garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 1-2 large tomatoes, chopped, use more if you prefer more gravy or curry
  • 2- 15oz. can chickpea, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped, plus more to garnish
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
 
  • Warm ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of kalonji seeds, cumin seeds, and green chilies. Cook until the ingredients sputter.
  • Lower the heat to medium-low, then add onion; cook until the onions brown and caramelize. Next, add garlic and ginger, and stir to combine.
  • Combine chili powder, turmeric, and garam masala in a small bowl. Stir the spices into the mixture and cook until it becomes fragrant for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the green chilies and use an immersion blender to blend the masala until smooth.
  • Return the mixture to the pan, along with the reserved chilies. Then add the chickpeas, cilantro, and ½ cup water; bring it to a boil.
  • Sprinkle with kalonji seeds and cover the pan with the lid slightly ajar. Lower the heat and maintain a gentle bubble. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until the mixture reduces.
  • Season with salt as needed and garnish with cilantro.
Notes
Expert Tips
  • For the immersion step, you can remove the mixture from the heat and add it to a blender or food processor.
  •  If the liquid evaporates before the chana becomes tender, you may need to add more water. Be sure to taste and season with salt afterward.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 186 kcal | Carbohydrates: 24 g | Protein: 7 g | Fat: 7 g | Sodium: 369 mg | Fiber: 7 g | Sugar: 5 g
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Ali

Friday 26th of May 2023

Great recipe!

Tressa Jamil

Monday 2nd of October 2023

I am thrilled you enjoyed it. Thank you for taking the time to rate the recipe and leave a comment.

Samantha

Monday 11th of April 2022

I’m a picky eater and have never had this type of cultural dish before and it was amazing!! Thank you so much for introducing me to it! I will definitely be making it more often :)

Tressa - Jamil Ghar Team

Monday 11th of April 2022

I am so happy you were able to make and enjoy something new!

Calee Cortes

Wednesday 30th of March 2022

Literally so delicious! One of my favorites on here so far!

Tressa - Jamil Ghar Team

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

Thanks for trying and loving this recipe, Calee!