Chana masala, an Indian staple, is made with a mixture of chickpeas, Indian spices, tomatoes, and fresh herbs, it's tasty and so easy to make. Enjoy it with a bowl of Basmati rice, quinoa, naan, or in a Buddha bowl.
Editor's note: This recipe was originally published on January 18, 2019. Since then, it’s been freshened up with new pictures, commentary, and made even more delicious.
What is chana masala made of?
Chana masala (also called "chole") is an Indian dish made with chickpeas, a blend of Indian spices, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. It's traditionally enjoyed with a fluffy deep-fried bread called "
The following spices are used to make a spice blend in this recipe:
- Black pepper
Chana masala served in Indian restaurants usually contains a lot of oil. However, it's easy to cook chana masala that's just as delicious at home with a few simple ingredients and a handful of spices. It can be made on the stovetop or a pressure cooker.
How to make homemade chana masala
1. Cook onion and garlic: In a big pot, warm oil on medium-low heat. Add diced onion and a couple of cloves of garlic. Cook this on medium-low heat until the onion starts to appear translucent and smells fragrant.
2. Add the spices: Stir in the spice blend and cook for a minute until it becomes fragrant.
3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer: Stir and bring the dish to a simmer. Cover pot and simmer until the chickpeas are soft and tender. If you feel like there is too much liquid, simply simmer it without the lid to evaporate the water.
4. Add lemon juice and cilantro: Turn off the heat completely and add the lemon juice and fresh cilantro. The lemon juice adds tanginess to the dish while the cilantro adds more flavor.
5. Serve and enjoy: If you want to save it for later, be sure to completely cool down the chana masala before storing it in the fridge in an airtight glass container.
Storing and reheating
Fridge: If stored in a glass airtight container in the fridge, the chickpea curry will last up to 3 days.
Reheat: Reheat in the microwave or stovetop when ready to serve.
Freeze: Yes, cool it down completely before storing it in an air-tight container in the freezer. When you're ready to enjoy it, reheat it on the stovetop. This makes it a great candidate for meal prep as it heats perfectly.
While you can enjoy a bowl of Indian chickpea curry on its own, here are a few other ways to serve it:
- Served over rice, such as Basmati rice, jasmine rice, or brown rice
- Served over perfectly cooked quinoa, which is also so easy to make in the Instant Pot.
- Enjoy with naan which is a fluffy Indian flatbread, made with yeast
- Dip roti, an Indian flatbread, in chana masala
- In a bowl. I love adding it to a vegan power bowl.
More easy Indian recipes
- Red Lentil Curry
- Cauliflower Tikka Masala
- How to Make Kitchari
- Coconut Chickpea Curry
- Vegan Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)
- 2 tablespoons oil or butter, I used avocado oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 (15-oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
- 1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- In a big pot, warm oil on medium-low heat. Stir in the onion and garlic until the onion starts to appear translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, salt, and pepper. Keep stirring for a minute until the spices become fragrant.
- Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and water. Stir and increase the heat to medium. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
- Cover the pot and let the dish cook until the chickpeas are soft and tender, for about 25 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Adjust seasoning, if needed, and serve.
- If you feel like there is too much liquid in the chana masala, simply remove the lid and continue to simmer to evaporate the liquid until you reach the desired consistency.
- If you're using dried chickpeas, be sure to cook them beforehand. Instant Pot chickpeas are easy to make if you're running short on time.
- Set pressure cooker to Sauté on Normal and heat oil in the inner steel pot of the pressure cooker. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Press Cancel. Add the spices, chickpeas, tomatoes, and water to pressure cooker; stir well.
- Select "Pressure Cook" (or Manual) and cook for 5 minutes on High Pressure. Release the steam naturally for 10 minutes before quick-releasing the pressure. Select Cancel. Stir in the lemon juice and chopped cilantro.