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Authentic Chana Masala Recipe (Chickpea Curry)

Authentic Chana Masala Recipe Our authentic chana masala recipe draws its flavor from a tomato-based curry made with onions, ginger, garlic, chilies, and cilantroThe restaurant-style meal takes under an hour to prepare. Serve it as a stand-alone meal or a tasty side dish; we love to eat it with Instant Pot Basmati Rice, poori, or halwa. 

Channa 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 it develops a deep, nutty base for the dish.
  • Whole Spices: Toasting cumin and kalonji seeds pronounce their flavor.
  • Chilis: Slit lengthwise, green chilies add heat that doesn’t overwhelm.
  • Onion: Use red or yellow onions to flavor the curry.
  • Garlic: I suggest using three cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use- measure with your heart
  • Ginger: Fresh ginger is critical for flavorful chana masala.
  • Spices: Bring our authentic chana masala recipe to life with Kashmiri chili powder, 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 chickpeas for 24 hours beforehand and increase the cooking time for this recipe to 1-2 hours.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro brightens and flavors the dish.

HOW TO MAKE OUR AUTHENTIC CHANA MASALA RECIPE

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.

spices and chilies cooking in oil for chana masala

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.

onions cooking in oil or chana masala

Next, add garlic and ginger, and stir to combine.

garlic and onions cooking in oil or chana masala

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.

spiced added to chana masala

Stir in the tomatoes and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

tomatoes added to chana masala

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

immersion blender blending the gravy for chana masala

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 chana masala

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.

chana masala simmering on stove top

Season with salt as needed and garnish with cilantro.

Channa Masala in a serving bowl topped with chopped cilantro.

COOKING 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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Channa Masala in a serving bowl topped with chopped cilantro.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE –  Store leftovers in an airtight container; it will keep for 3-4 days.
  • FREEZER – Allow the dish to cool, and add it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Channa masala freezes for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to eat, defrost it in the fridge 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, 1/2 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.

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Channa Masala in a serving bowl topped with chopped cilantro.

Authentic Chana Masala Recipe (Chickpea Curry)

Tressa Jamil
Our authentic chana masala recipe takes 40 minutes to make; serve the chickpea dish as a stand-alone meal or as a tasty side.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 6
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

Cooking 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 ServingCalories: 186kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 7gFat: 7gSodium: 369mgFiber: 7gSugar: 5g
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




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!