Chana masala - chickpea masala
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Punjabi Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)

Chana masala made in the authentic Punjabi way with aromatic spices. It’s rich and delicious and can be enjoyed with rice or Indian flatbread.

The ingredients

Some of the key ingredients for chana masala are the whole spices. Whole black cardamom is one of those ingredients.

Chana masala ingredients

The Ingredients List:

  • 4 cups chickpeas – cooked
  • 4 tablespoons oil – vegetable or olive
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 large red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 1 red chili
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 large stick of cinnamon
  • 2 black cardamom pods (whole)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste

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Making the masala

Let’s make the spice mix. Mine is made by blending together:

  • 1 large red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 inch of ginger

Roughly chop the onion, peel the ginger and garlic. Put all three ingredients and 1 red chili into a food processor. Add 4 tablespoons of water to the blender and blend to get a fine paste.

Blended onions, garlic, ginger and chili

Cooking Process:

  • Heat 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds to the pan and let them pop.
  • Add two whole black cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 large whole cinnamon stick
  • Let these cook for a couple of mins.

Once the cumin seeds have popped:

  • Add the onion blend into the pot.
  • Cook the onions for about 7-8 mins.
  • Allow the liquid to dry up as the onions cook. Once the onion mix has cooked, the color changes to a dark greenish-brown.
Cooked onion mix

It’s time to add the dry ingredients. To the pot:

  • Add 1 tablespoon of garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon of red chili powder (or paprika for a milder version).
  • Mix well and cook for about 2 mins allowing the spices to amalgamate.
Cooked masala

Now we are ready to add the tomato paste.

  • Add 4 tablespoons of tomato paste to the pot directly,
  • Cook for about 4-5 mins until you see the oil start to separate a little.
Cooked masala with tomato paste

Next, we can:

  • Add 4 cups of cooked chickpeas to the pan and mix well.
  • Add 1 cup of water.
  • Mix well and let it cook for about 5-6 minutes.
  • At this point, you can add 1 tablespoon of ghee (if using).

This dish tastes best the next day. I usually cook it first thing in the morning and serve it for dinner that day. This gives the recipe a few hours to sit and rest. The one thing about Indian food is that it always tastes better after a few hours or the next day.

Chana masala close up

Serving Options for this Vegetarian recipe:

Once it’s ready, finely chop some red (or white) onion and put it on top as you serve. You can add a few slivers of fresh ginger as well. Serve with

  • Roti – thin Indian flatbread made on a skillet.
  • Naan – thick Indian flatbread made on a skillet, or oven.
  • Bhatura – another type of Indian flatbread that is deep fried. Traditionally bhatura is what this type of recipe is served with.
  • Rice – basmati white or brown rice.
  • Tapioca patties – try them with my potato and tapioca patties that go amazingly with this vegetarian recipe.

Punjabi Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)

Course: EntreeCuisine: Indian CurryDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

429

kcal
Total time

1

hour 

10

minutes

Chana masala made the authentic Punjabi way. It is the best kind you will ever make and eat. It’s rich and delicious and can be enjoyed with rice or any kind of Indian flatbread.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

  • 1 large red onion

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 1 inch ginger grated

  • 1 red chili

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 1 large stick of cinnamon

  • 2 black cardamom pods (whole)

  • 4 whole cloves

  • 1 tablespoon garam masala

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)

  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 cup water (more if needed)

  • 1 tablespoon of ghee (optional – skip for vegan version)

Directions

  • Boil 4 cups of chickpeas.
  • Peel and roughly chop the onion, garlic, and ginger. Add all 3 things into a blender along with the red chili if using. Add the 4 tablespoons of water to the blender and blend everything into a thick paste.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the whole cumin seeds to the pan. Allow them to pop.
  • Add whole black cardamom, whole cloves, and whole cinnamon stick to the pan. Cook for about 2 mins allowing the oil to get really fragrant. You can discard the cloves at this point if you like.
  • Add the blended onion mix to the pan and allow to cook for about 7-8 mins. This will allow the onions to cook. As the onions cook, they change colour to a greenish-brown colour.
  • Now you can add all of the dry ingredients – garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, and chili powder (or paprika) to the pan. Mix and cook for about 2 mins.
  • Add the tomato paste into a small bowl and add 3 or so tablespoons of water to the bowl. Mix well to liquefy the tomato paste a little. Add this to the pan and mix well. Cook for about 4-5 mintuess. You will see the oil start to separate a little
  • Once the oil starts to separate, add the boiled chickpeas to the pan. Mix well and allow it to cook for 5-6 minutes.
  • Serve with any kind of Indian flat bread.
Chana masala nutrition

What is chana masala spice made of?

Chana masala close up

Like most Indian recipes this too has a variety of spices:
Onion, Garlic, Ginger
Whole cinnamon, Cloves, Black cardamom
Coriander powder, Cumin powder, Garam masala, Chili powder
Tomato paste


What’s the difference between chana masala and Chole?

Chana masala - chickpea masala

The main difference is that Chole is the Punjabi word while Chana is the Hindi word for chickpeas. The recipes are the same. The u0022masalau0022 which is a mixture of aromatic spices is made in a similar fashion.





What is the difference between masala and curry?

Chana masala - chickpea masala

Curry refers to vegetables, or meat cooked in a spicy sauce. Masala is a mixture of aromatic spices that are used to make a curry. Masala is the Indian word for curry, meanwhile, curry is the Anglicized word for it.

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2 Comments

  1. Anuradha Khoda says:

    Being a Punjabi, this has been one of my all time favorite dishes.
    And when you grew up with your parents who really knew how to appreciate a well made bowl of chana masala also called chole, you are bound to be an addict.
    Good job Deepti.
    I would like a good recipe for garam masala to be added here too.

    1. Hello Anuradha,

      This was one of my dad’s favorite meals. I will work on a recipe for garam masala soon.

      Deepti