Vegan Quick & Easy Chana Masala

Indulge in the exquisite flavors of Chana Masala by following the Chana Masala Recipe of Mish Sen, a tantalizing North Indian dish that combines robust spices with protein-rich chickpeas.

This vegan delight is a culinary masterpiece, bursting with aromatic spices that dance on your palate. With every bite, savor the rich and satisfying blend of flavors.

This hearty and flavorful dish can be enjoyed as a main course or served as a side, complementing your favorite Indian bread or steamed rice. 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’ is Hindi for ‘chickpeas,’ and masala means ‘spice curry.’ So Chana Masala Curry is simply chickpeas cooked in a spicy tomato masala.

Different states in India have their own version of Chana Masala Recipe. At its core, Chana Masala showcases the harmonious marriage of tender chickpeas and a delectable blend of aromatic spices.

From the first bite of Chana Masala with Naan, you’ll be greeted by a symphony of earthy cumin, zesty coriander, fiery chili, warming turmeric, sweet onion, and aromatic ginger and garlic which all work together to create a truly unforgettable taste.

This dish hails from the northern part of India. growing up in the eastern region of India, namely Calcutta (now Kolkata), my mom made the Bengali version of Chana Masala namely Ghoogni. There are multiple variations of Ghoogni, with onions and garlic, without onions and garlic and using chickpeas or dried white or green peas (that need to be soaked and boiled the following day).

The Chana Masala described in this blog post I learned from my mother-in-law who lived in Bombay (Mumbai), a vibrant city in the northwest of India.

Easy Chana Masala Curry Ingredients

Easy Chana Masala Curry Ingredients

Dried chana (garbanzo beans) – Canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans also work well).

Onion & Tomato – Onions and tomatoes together form a tangy and sweet base of this dish.

Ginger-Garlic – Ginger and garlic are the aromatic stars of the curry. 

Spices – The right balance of spices is an important part of this recipe. You will need turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and an amazing secret ingredient: pomegranate powder!

Everest Chana Masala – This is what I use. You will get in in any Indian grocery store or online. It will make your Chana masala absolutely restaurant-style. 

Tea bag – This is absolutely optional and provides that restaurant-style look.  

Oil – You can use mustard oil, avocado oil, or any neutral cooking oil.

How To Make Chana Masala

Indulge in the rich and irresistible flavors of Chana Masala with these easy-to-follow cooking steps:

Step 1: Prepare the Garbanzo Beans

Soak one cup of garbanzo beans in plenty of water overnight. They will triple in size, yielding three cups of chana in the morning.

Step 2: Cook the Garbanzo Beans

The next day, either boil or pressure cook the soaked beans until tender. Boiling takes approximately 40 minutes, while pressure cooking takes around 20 minutes. 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.

Step 3: Make the Chana

Remove the tea bag (if used) and set aside the boiled Chana. Grind together onion, garlic, ginger, and tomato to prepare the masala.

Step 4: Saute the Masala

Heat oil in a kadai (pan). Once the oil is hot, add the ground masala and saute for 3-4 minutes or until the raw smell disappears. Add turmeric, chili powder, salt, and Everest Chana Masala. Cook the masala for a few more minutes.

Step 5: Combine and Cook

When the oil starts leaving from the sides, add the cooked Chana along with the water it was cooked in. Thoroughly mix everything together. Add more water if desired. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Final Touches to Make Tasty Chana Masala

After 10 minutes, remove the cover and add pomegranate powder. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt if needed. Garnish with coriander leaves if desired. Your flavorful and aromatic Chana masala is ready to be enjoyed!

Cooked Chana Masala curry in a white bowl topped with chopped onions and cilantro. In the background the is a bowl of white cooked rice and some garlic pods for decoration.

Few Tips For Preparing Chana Masala – From My Experience

1. Use freshly ground spices

For the best flavor, consider grinding your own spices. Freshly ground cumin and coriander will add an extra aromatic punch to your Chana masala.

2. Experiment with additional spices

While the recipe calls for Everest Chana Masala spice blend, feel free to unleash your creativity. Add a pinch of garam masala, amchur (dried mango) powder, or kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) for an extra layer of complexity and depth.

3. Balance the flavors

Chana Masala is all about achieving a harmonious balance of flavors. Adjust the amount of spices, salt, and tanginess from tomatoes or pomegranate powder to suit your taste preferences. Don’t hesitate to add a touch of sweetness with a pinch of sugar or jaggery if desired.

4. Let it simmer

While the 10-minute cooking time is sufficient to blend the flavors, consider simmering the Chana masala for a bit longer on low heat. This allows the spices to meld together even more and results in a richer and more flavorful dish.

5. Garnish with love

A sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves adds a vibrant touch to the final dish. If you’re a fan of heat, chop some green chilies and garnish your Chana masala to give it an extra kick. Or if you’re in the mood for zest, sprinkle on some julienned strips of ginger. Alternately, you can saute the ginger slices in oil on medium heat for a couple of minutes till it becomes fragrant and then use it as garnish.

6. Pair it perfectly

Chana masala pairs wonderfully with naan, rice, or roti. Serve it with a side of tangy pickles, a cooling raita, or a squeeze of lemon juice for a well-rounded meal.

7. Balance seasoning with lemon juice

If the curry feels a bit more salty than you’d like, squeeze some fresh lemon juice to neutralize the salt.

Remember, cooking is an art, and Chana masala can be your canvas. Feel free to experiment, adjust ingredients to your liking, and make it your own flavor masterpiece!

What else to pair with Chana Masala?

Plain Basmati Rice

Peas and Carrots Pulao

Peas Pulao

If you make this recipe please let me knw your thoughts. Comment below, rand ate the recipe

Take a picture and tag me on Instagram @eatswithmish. It would be great if you use the hashtag #eatswithmish so I can see your creations in one place.

Happy cooking, friends!

Chana Masala Recipe Updates

UPDATE 1: I have recently started using pomegranate molasses in Chana Masala. Chana Masala has a dark sauce and often that is achieved by adding a tea bag while boiling the chickpeas. Using pomegranate molasses takes care of adding pomegranate powder at the end of the cooking process and also creating a rich, dark sauce as the molasses in pomegranate molasses turns the sauce dark and delightful. Try it!

UPDATE 2: Recently when I was cooking chana masala I realized that I was out of the Everest Chana Masala spice blend. So I quickly put in equal parts of cumin powder, coriander powder and half that amount of a good quality garam masala. (See below for the recipe). And boom! I had the easiest chana masala powder in the world!

Usually to make your own Chana Masala you would need to use firstly, a lot more ingredients including whole black peppercorns, amchur (dried mango) powder, and a host of other spices. There are many recipes for making your own Chana Masala blend as it varies regionally and from family to family. Then there’s the process of toasting, cooling and grinding the spices. By using ground spices, I have eliminated those steps. For me this just seemed easier and I hope you like it too.

How To Make The Easiest Chana Masala Spice Blend At Home

FOR ONE TIME USE: Mix 2 teaspoons of cumin powder, 2 teaspoons of coriander powder and 1 teaspoon of garam masala and that’s it! If you do have amchur powder, then add 1 teaspoon of that too. If not, don’t worry. You can squeeze some lemon juice later when you serve and eat.

TO MAKE AND STORE: You can make this blend ahead of time and keep in an air tight container. Take 20 teaspoons each of a good quality ground cumin and coriander and 10 teaspoons of a good quality garam masala (I like frontier Coop). Mix well and store and use as needed.

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Chana Masala Recipe

Chana Masala Recipe


  • Author: Mish Sen
  • Total Time: 40 mins + Soaking Time
  • Yield: 6 1x

Description

Chana Masala is a tantalizing North Indian dish that combines robust spices with protein-rich chickpeas.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup Dried chana (garbanzo beans) or 2 15 oz. canned garbanzo
  • 1 onion
  • 3 pods garlic, minced or grated
  • 1-inch ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 big tomato, roughly chopped
  • 11 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans (dried)
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1.5 teaspoon Everest Chana Masala
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate powder (anardana powder)
  • 1 tea bag (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil

Instructions

  1. Soak the garbanzo beans in plenty of water overnight. Chana triples in size so this 1 cup will give you 3 cups of chana in the morning.
  2. Next day either boil or pressure cook the beans  Boiling takes a longer time about 40 minutes. Pressure cooking should be around 20 minutes. If you’re pressure cooking, make sure the water covers the chana fully before starting. Drop a tea bag in the pot before cooking the chana if you want a darker chana masala color ( optional).
  3. Remove the tea bag (if using), after the chana is boiled.
  4. Blend together the onion, garlic, ginger, and tomato to make the masala base.
  5. Next, heat oil and add the ground masala and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add turmeric, chili powder, salt, and the Everest Chana Masala spice blend. Mix well. You can also make your own chana masala powder as I’ve explained above.
  7. Add the cooked chickpeas (chana) with the water it was cooked in. Mix everything well. If using canned please get the low sodium variety and wash the garbanzo beans (chickpeas) well to get rid of extra sodium. Add about 2-3 cups of water.
  8. Bring to a boil and then cover and cook on medium-low for 10 minutes.
  9. Open the cover and add the pomegranate powder. Gently mix.
  10. Check for salt.
  11. Garnish with coriander leaves and some finely chopped onions if you desire.
  12. You can also cut some fresh ginger in julienne strips and saute in a bit of oil and add as a garnish or just add the julienned ginger strips without sauteing.

Notes

Adding some freshly squeezed lemon juice really elevates the dish and adds a nice brightness.

Sometimes I add tamarind chutney too as a garnish.

If you use pomegranate molasses add it in Step 6.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins + 8 hrs (Soaking Time)
  • Cook Time: 40 mins

Keywords: Chana Masala, easy chana masala, chole masala, chickpea curry, garbanzo beans curry

5 from 1 Review

1 Comment

  • Liz

    Yum!! Looking forward to trying this recipe! Thanks for the tips on making the spice blend!

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