How to Make Chana Masala at Home

The meal channa masala (also known as chana masala, chole masala, or chholay, depending on where you're from) chickpeas cooked in a hot, acidic, tomato-based sauce—is one of the most well-known in the world, both in and out of Indian and Pakistani cuisine. It is possible to totally rule out a dish from the elusive world of authenticity by asking questions about the good aromatics to use, how to handle the spices, and whether to use fresh or canned tomatoes. Of course, if you ask two people what makes a food authentic, you can get two different answers. The dish uses everyday Indian spices like coriander powder, cumin powder, paprika, turmeric, and garam masala. Curry is prepared in the North Indian manner using white chickpeas, freshly ground spices, onions, tomatoes, and herbs. This tasty vegetarian supper can be prepared in only 45 minutes, excluding the time required to soak the chickpeas, and is naturally vegan and packed with beneficial minerals, protein, and fiber.

It is always preferable to soak the beans or chickpeas overnight (or for at least 8 hours) before making any chickpea or Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry), as doing so makes the legumes simpler to prepare. Additionally, soaking beans or chickpeas lowers the phytic acid content, which is what causes bloating and flatulence.


  • 700g-800g canned chickpeas or jar giant chickpeas
  • 3 onions chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6cm piece of ginger
  • 2-3 green chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1½ tbsp ghee
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chilli powder (Kashmiri if possible)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 ½ tsp amchur powder (optional)
  • 4-5 medium tomatoes , roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced or quartered lemon
  • Garnish with coriander leaves, to serve

How to Cook Chana Masala at Home Step by Step

  1. Soak raw white chickpeas overnight (or for at least 8 hours) or use canned chickpeas. After draining, add the chickpeas to a big pan with 400 ml of water and some seasoning. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and leave aside so the water can absorb the flavor of the chickpeas.
Together with the garlic, ginger, and green chilies, blitz the onions. In a large saucepan, melt the ghee. Add the onion mixture and a bit of salt. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onions are tender.  
To prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a splash of the chickpea water as you stir in the spices and simmer for 3 more minutes.
Add the boiling liquid and chickpeas to the pot. Cook for ten minutes. Add the lemon juice, a little water, and ample seasoning for a looser curry.
Add the chickpeas and boiling liquid to the pot. For 10 minutes, cook. If you like a looser curry, season thoroughly, add the lemon juice, and a little bit of water.
To serve, garnish with coriander.

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