This easy Chana Masala recipe makes eating a healthy Indian meal at home so quick and delicious! Chana masala is simple, satisfying, hearty, and wholesome. It’s delicious with a side of rice or quinoa, scooped up with naan bread, or as part of a Buddha bowl style meal.
My family has been on an Indian food kick lately. A few months ago I was all about the Thai coconut chickpea curries like this Yellow Curry with Chickpeas and Roasted Vegetables. One night recently we decided to take the night off and go to our local Indian restaurant, Flavor of India. With an overtired little one, eating at a restaurant was just not going to happen, so Yummy Hubby took our meal to go on the way home from work. I love that Flavor of India here in Santa Barbara offers online ordering and many vegetarian and vegan options. It had been ages since I’d had a good Indian meal, and it reminded me how much I love this cuisine. While Yummy Hubby gets Benghan Barta, a roasted eggplant dish, my go-to is almost always Chana Masala.
What Is Chana Masala?
Chana Masala is like a chickpea curry. Flavor of India describes it simply as “Chickpeas in a specially spiced sauce.” After enjoying Chana Masala at restaurants, and even grabbing the freezer version from Trader Joe’s, I couldn’t wait to try making this classic Indian recipe at home. I can usually create a recipe just by looking over the ingredients list on a store bought package, but chana masala turned out to be a little more difficult. Though chana masala is mostly simple ingredients like onions, tomatoes, and chickpeas, it also includes spices that are not typically found in American kitchens. The most unlikely spice being Amchur, which is also known as dried mango powder. Amuchr gives recipes like chana masala and other Indian dishes a sharp tangy bite. You can read more about it here on Food52.
How to Make Easy Chana Masala
Chana masala is meant to be a casual fuss-free meal, and I wanted to keep this recipe easy and fuss-free, so I’ve made it with ingredients you can find more easily. The bulk of the traditional chana masala spices are easy to find: cumin, turmeric, and garam masala are all available at most grocery stores. Garam masala might be a new one in your kitchen. Garam masala is actually a blend of spices. If you would prefer to make your own blend, there are recipes online. I found this chana masala recipe to be just as delicious, but if you’d like to make a more authentic version, feel free to add a pinch of dried mango powder and omit the lemon juice I’ve included in the recipe. Cumin seeds are also commonly used, but again, since I didn’t have any in my spice cabinet, they weren’t included here.
I love the simplicity of dishes like this chana masala. It simmers away in one pan while some rice or quinoa does its thing in the Instant Pot. We love this recipe best with my Golden Turmeric Spiced Rice. I love using the saucy chickpeas as a starting point for a Buddha bowl style dinner. This time I’ve added avocado and roasted butternut squash, but you could use any veggies you happen to have. Another favorite featured above is chana masala with eggplant. An Indian chutney or sauce would be great to add too. Make one and tag me on Instagram @yummymummykitchen because I love to see what you’re making and get new ideas!
This recipe wasn’t the easiest to photograph, but the video is a better example of how this recipe comes together. Don’t miss it!
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- pinch ground red pepper
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes (about 3 Romas)
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 cups drained chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil, coconut oil, or vegetable broth and saute the onion until tender and golden, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and saute another minute longer. Add the cumin, turmeric, garam masala, and red pepper and stir in. Add the tomatoes, broth, and coconut sugar and bring to a simmer. Cover and let cook down over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes should have broken down into a nice sauce. Add more red pepper for heat and season with salt to taste. Add the chickpeas, cilantro, and lemon juice. Serve over rice.
* You may want to double this recipe if using as a main dish for four people. * If you love your greens like I do, try wilting in some fresh baby spinach at the end. * For a more authentic chana masala, replace the lemon juice with a pinch of Amchur (dried mango powder) and add cumin seeds. *Nutrition Information is approximate, calculated by a third party site, and calculated for 1/3 of the chana masala recipe without rice or vegetables.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1/3 recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 117 Carbohydrates: 22g Protein: 6g