Chana Masala Made Easy

Whenever I make this Chana Masala dish, it is usually gone by the next day. Chana Masala is a flavourful and popular dish from the Punjabi region. When I’m in the mood for Indian or Pakistani cuisine, this is one dish that I want.

The main ingredient is chickpeas. Chickpeas are a healthy and versatile legume, packed with plant-based protein and other nutrients. They have an earthy and nutty taste and a soft yet grainy texture. I like to use them in soups, salads, stews and dips.

There are many ways to make Chana Masala. The image above is a simple version that I made with fresh chopped tomatoes, lemon juice, coriander leaves, sumac and other spices and herbs. It can be served as a main meal or a side dish. In this recipe, I added coconut milk to balance the spices and citrus flavour.

It’s an easy-to-make curry that keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Bon appétit!

Chana Masala

Serves: 4-6 (or more as a side dish)

Level: easy

1. In a big pot with a little olive oil, sauté on medium heat for 3 minutes until soft (add a little water if it sticks to bottom):

  • 2 medium-size cooking onions, diced
  • 1-2 garlic buds, pressed
  • 1 hot green chili pepper, minced (remove seeds for a milder Masala)
  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) fresh ginger, grated
  • Can add a little water to reduce sticking at bottom

2. Add the spices and sauté for another 2 minutes:

  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsps black mustard seeds (or dijon mustard with seeds)
  • 1 tsp ground sumac*
  • 1 tsp paprika
Chickpeas now available in glass jars.

3. Add and simmer with cover half off for 15 minutes:

  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes with skin, chopped
  • 1 cup pure tomato purée sauce
  • 1½ cups water
  • 4 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed (two 350-400 gram jars)
  • A big bunch of fresh coriander or parsley leaves, chopped

4. Add:

  • ¼ cup lemon or lime juice
  • ¼ cup coconut milk, add a little more if too spicy-hot
  • Pink salt, to taste

Simmer for another 5 minutes with cover off.

Take off heat and let the curry sit for at least 30 minutes to thicken. Tastes even better the next day. Can store in fridge and also freezes well.

*You can find sumac in Middle Eastern food shops or markets and it’s starting to appear more frequently on the shelves of supermarkets. If you can’t find sumac, you can substitute the spice with ½ tsp finely grated lemon peel and a dash of ground black pepper.

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

6 thoughts on “Chana Masala Made Easy

  1. Thanks Julie for this recipe, will give it a shot this week.. Stumbled upon your blog from John and Conor´s and glad I found it. If you ever come across an easy butter chicken or General Tso´s (American living in Spain and impossible to come by and my attempts have fell short) please let us now. Take care.

    1. Thanks Michael. Glad you enjoy it. My blog focuses mainly on vegetarian and vegan dishes ever since my daughters changed their eating habits and have stopped eating meat (one is vegan and the other is pescatarian, and so am I). In our family, only my husband John eats chicken. Eventually I would like to post some good chicken recipes. Thanks again for your feedback!

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