Chana Masala

This yummy soulful curry is easy- you just need to get your spices at Ratto’s

Chana (Chickpea) Masala

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Region Indian
This classic North Indian recipe has a combination of tips from Rajasthani and Gujarati friends. I make it weekly, as my go-to comfort food.


  • 1 heaped tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 heaped tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 heaped tablespoon tumeric (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes (to taste)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 heaped tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 1 Large piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 cube jaggery (substitute a teaspoon of raw sugar or agave syrup if unavailable)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (soak and cook your own, or use canned)
  • 32fl oz good quality canned tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste (Substitute Cider vinegar if unavailable)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garam masala (ground)


This delicious recipe is a culmination of years of adjusting what I had learned in Udaipur, Rajasthan. With the help of a Gujarati friend in Washington DC, I added the fenugreek, plus the jaggery and tamarind to give it a sweet and sour kick.  The best thing is, once you have the pot simmering, you can leave it and work on other things. Just don't leave the flame too high.


Step 1
In your food processor, blend onion, ginger and garlic into a rough paste
Step 2
Toast spices in hot pan for a few minutes until they release a delightful scent. You may grind your spices or leave them whole for surprise bites of flavor.
Step 3
Sautee jaggery and spices (except salt and pepper) in coconut oil until jaggery melts. If using agave, wait until step 5.
Step 4
Add onion mixture, stir and saute for about a minute
Step 5
Add canned tomatoes, chickpeas, and reduce heat to a simmer. Add agave syrup, if using.
Step 6
Add tamarind or vinegar, and salt and pepper
Step 7
Simmer for about 30-45 minutes, covered, until flavors meld, adding water if necessary to keep moist,
Step 8
Remove from heat, sprinkle with Garam Masala. Garnish with fresh Cilantro. Serve over Basmati rice, with a nice chutney and raita.

1 Comment

  1. These look delicious. Thanks for sharing. I especially like the Medeterranean seafood soup recipe you mailed me in your email newsletter today. I bet the fellel and smoked paprika ad a unique flavor. Can’t wait to try it.


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