Chana Masala

super easy

Boiled Chickpeas in Spiced Sauce

My all-time favorite veg side dish is chana masala. If you give me bhature with it, mark my words I can do anything for you. It is a good plant protein that is also delicious. This is my mother-in-law’s recipe. 

What is Chana Masala?

There is no need to introduce Chana Masala. It is one of the most popular Indian dishes, both in India and around the world. Chana masala is a North Indian curried dish that consists of chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, spices, and herbs. ‘Chana’ is Hindi for ‘chickpeas,’ and masala means ‘spice curry.’ So chana masala is simply chickpeas cooked in a spicy tomato masala.

Different states in India have their own version of this recipe. In Delhi, we usually make Chole, which is similar to Chana Masala but uses a different spice blend. Punjabi chole is typically darker in color and cooked for a much longer period of time.

When I was in India, I could get delicious chole bhature in a variety of restaurants. I still have strong cravings for street-style chole bhature, and this chana masala recipe hits the spot!

It tastes exactly like chole curry from a North Indian street vendor, minus the heat. We prefer our foods to be on the milder end of the Scoville scale, so I made a milder masala gravy. If you prefer spicier food, simply increase the amount of red chili powder, green chilies, and garam masala powder to achieve the desired flavor.

Ingredients At A Glance

Dried chana (garbanzo beans)  – I strongly advise starting with raw chickpeas. When it comes to making a good bowl of chana masala, canned chickpeas just don’t cut it.

Onion & Tomato – Onions and tomatoes together form a tangy and sweet base of this dish. For the best flavor, use fresh, pureed tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are fine, but herbed or fire-roasted tomatoes will not taste right here. If you only have canned diced tomatoes on hand, puree them before adding them to the pot. If tomato paste is all you have, use a quarter cup of it instead of the pureed tomatoes in a pinch.

Ginger-Garlic – Ginger and garlic form the aromatic base of the curry. 

Spices – The right balance of spices is an important part of this recipe. You will need turmeric powder, chili powder, and pomegranate powder. The pomegranate powder adds a nice sourness to the dish. 

Everest Chana Masala – This spice mix is the best available in the market. You will get in in any Indian grocery store. It will make your chana masala absolutely restaurant-style. 

Tea bag – This is absolutely optional. But you are hoping for a restaurant-style look for your dish. You must use it. 

Oil – You can use mustard oil or any other oil of your preference.

How To Prepare Chana Masala?

Soak the garbanzo beans overnight in plenty of water. Chana triples in size, so 1 cup yields 3 cups of chana in the morning.

The following day, either boil or pressure cook the beans ( 4-5 whistles). Boiling takes more time. When using a pressure cooker, ensure the water covers the chana completely. If you want a darker chana masala color, place a tea bag in the pot before cooking the chana.

Next, remove the tea bag (if using) and keep the boiled chana aside

To prepare the masala for the chana, grind together onion, garlic, ginger, and tomato.

Now, take a kadai and heat the oil. 

Once the oil is hot, add the ground masala and saute for 3-4 minutes or till the raw smell goes away

Then add turmeric, chili powder, salt, and the Everest chana masala. Cook the masala for some time. 

When the oil starts leaving from the sides, add the cooked chana with the water it was cooked in. 

Combine everything thoroughly. You can add more water if necessary. Cover and cook on medium-low for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, open the cover, add the pomegranate powder, and mix everything gently.

Examine for salt. If necessary, season with additional salt. Garnish with coriander leaves if desired. Enjoy!

Some Expert Tips For Preparing Chana Masala

  • To garnish, cut some ginger into julienne strips and temper in oil, or simply add the julienne ginger strips without tempering. Then stir in the coriander leaves.
  • You can also top it with finely chopped onions and chilies.
  • This is a simple recipe that uses a boxed masala. This is how my mother-in-law makes it, so I usually do the same. You can make the spice mix at home too.
  • To prepare fresh masala mix at home, you will need.
  • Bay Leaves
  • Cardamon
  • Dry Red Chili
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Star Anish
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Chickpeas for chana masala should be cooked until tender. They should retain their shape but mash easily when pressed between two fingers.
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