chana-masala Recipes

chana masala

My latest snap of cravings for Indian food hit a couple weeks ago, and because I haven’t learned anything over my two stints in the East Village, we ordered in from a restaurant on 6th Street and received puddles of oily, listless and weakly spiced curries that we dragged our way through only to be rewarded with bellyaches. Also, regret. I have an archive of Indian recipes I make several times a year, that I crave like clockwork as soon as we hit a cold snap and never disappoint, a cabinet full of robust rust and mustard-colored powders and seeds and yet I let someone else put lackluster chana masala in our bellies.

finely chopped onion
canned whole tomatoes

I’ve made a slew of chana masalas — a Northern Indian chickpea stew with tomatoes — but none have made their way to you because while they’ve all been edible, with bowls licked clean as there are exactly no intersections of chickpeas and tomatoes that I won’t gobble down, I had yet to find The One. Many were closer to a spiced tomato sauce with chickpeas in it; few had the spice assault I was looking for and none had that thing, a sour note, you find in great Indian food but is more elusive to American home cooks with a curry habit.

a mutt of spices

And then on Saturday night, we finally hit the ball out of the park. A Madhur Jaffrey recipe, with a little tweaking, was exactly what I kept hoping to find in the pot after cooking my way through onion, garlic, ginger, hot peppers and a very long list of spices but had yet to find: chickpeas in the center field, untimid flavor and a sour punch that both comforts you on a brittle 25 degree day but also wakes you from hibernation. We served it, as always, with my favorite Indian-Spiced Potatoes and Cauliflower, some long-grained rice, wedges of toasted store-bought onion flatbread and oh, this too: I was digging in the fridge and came across the remaining Toasted Cumin Crème Fraîche from last month’s Black Bean Soup and whisked it into some whole milk yogurt for a delicious raita-like compliment to the chickpeas.

chickpeas from the slow-cooker

We stayed in and hung out with Crazy Hairs. We had beer and two guests. If this is the new Saturday night routine, I could get used to it.

chana masala

About buying spices: If you’re anything like I was a few years ago, you love Indian food but are intimidated by the long list of spices in the recipes that you might not have and the expense of picking them up. Here’s my suggestion: do it. Buy them. Invest. If you like this food, you will be thrilled that you can cook quality Indian food at home as it strikes your fancy, often from items in your own pantry. Although the spices are an initial investment, the price of the remaining ingredients in Indian recipes (and especially the ones on this site) to be among the most affordable, largely dried beans and lentils, onions and rice — these recipes are a great way to stay on budget.

One year ago: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes
Three years ago: Asparagus, Artichoke and Shiitake Risotto

Chana Masala
Adapted from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe, which was adapted over here because much to my frustration, I own two Madhur Jaffrey books and this is in neither

This is an intensely spiced bright orange chana masala with a sourish bite that reminded of us the best restaurant versions we’ve tasted. I’m thrilled to finally have a good recipe for it at home.

The major changes I made were simplifying the addition of spices, adding more tomatoes and oh, the recipe calls for a tablespoon of amchoor powder, which I did not have. I looked it up and learned that it was dried unripe mango powder (which sounds so delicious to me, I’m buying it next time I go to Kalustyan’s, who also sells it online), which is clearly a sour flavor, so I upped the lemon juice i used instead. The dish had a nice sour snap at the end, so I will presume this is a good swap.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I used a quarter of this because my cayenne is extremely hot)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon amchoor powder (see note)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced) (see note; I used a whole lemon to swap for the amchoor powder)

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, amchoor (if using it), paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Eat up or put a lid on it and reheat it when needed. Curries such as this reheat very well, later or or in the days that follow, should it last that long.

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510 comments on chana masala

  1. inothernews

    If you’re looking for good Indian recipes, I highly recommend 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer…he does a great job of keeping recipes authentic but still recognizing that we have American kitchens and don’t have all the spices and tools of an Indian kitchen. I’m Indian and my mom gave me his Betty Crocker’s Guide to Indian Home Cooking because she thought my Home Ec-taught mind would understand Indian food.

  2. inothernews

    Oops, forgot to add that he tells you what makes good subs and what can be left out, which is awesome. I guess that’s what happens when you start cooking Indian food while living in Southwestern Minnesota!

  3. Angela

    Deb – this is one of my favorite recipes! An Indian lady I used to work with a bit ago taught me a few authentic dishes. One hint she gave me… at most Indian shops you can purchase a spice blend called Chana Masala for as little as $3. I use a couple of teaspoons of it, adding a pinch of ground tumeric, a teaspoon or so of amchur, and of course more cayenne for my taste. Might be a little more cost effective if someone doesn’t want to invest in the list of spices.

  4. Bri

    Ooh this just looks fantastic. I love indian food, and if you can make it at home, all the better! Thanks for this recipe – gonna have to try it. Nothing like an excuse to hit the international market!

  5. jill

    um, yum!

    I recommend getting the amchoor powder. I actually bought some years ago for an indian cauliflower recipe and could only buy it in a large bag. I think I finally threw it out after moving with it about 5 times, and now, seeing this recipe, I regret that. Time to make another trip to the Indian market. It did lend a sour note that I couldn’t rightly explain or compare to anything else.

  6. Angie

    I love Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbooks and Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking is my favorite. The Chanal Dhal recipe is available in the book too.

  7. I just made your Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes tonight and it was fantastic! I completely agree with your input on investing in spices. I’m a college student on a tight budget and have made so many delicious Indian dishes for next to no cost. Definitely worth the cost up front! Thanks for another great one!

  8. The Tutugirl

    I’m already making my list of dinners for next week and this just shot to the top of the list. I love when you make stuff that’s gluten free and vegetarian. Makes sadly drooling over everything else worth it!

  9. I’m so thrilled to see this recipe! Love, love, love Indian food. I’m lucky to have a really wonderful spice vendor in town — I can stock my spice rack with all the goodies. Yum … I really wish it weren’t approaching midnight, as I have the worst craving for a curry….

  10. Kate

    Hey Deb! You are my hero! Rye bread and chana masala are my two favorite things on earth–thank you!!!!

    I have a question; is there any possible way too substitute the tomatoes for anything? My husband is really allergic to tomatoes and they give the rest of my family killer heartburn. I know it won’t be as authentic/delicious without them, but any ideas on how to amend the recipe? Thanks a million!

  11. Thank heavens OUR BOY IS BACK!!!!

    (Yes! I gotta have me some baby love!)

    And I do love Indian food. I’m out of a kitchen right now, Deb, but as soon as I get out of this horrid little corner I’ve worked my way into, I am trying YOUR recipes first!

    Will anyone as cute as little master crazy hairs appear to taste-test? I doubt it. *Sigh. But thanks for making sure he’s linked in again!

  12. I always love your recipes, but I’m writing on behalf of my nine-month old daughter to say thank you for this one. Chana masala might be her favorite food in the world right now (that, or baba ganoush). Weird, I know, but if the kid wants to be adventurous, I’m not going to stop her (as long as she won’t choke on it)!

    Looking forward to seeing what my little epicure thinks of this recipe. :)

  13. Right after I get over my Chinese food obsession, I am making this! Chana Masala is the first Indian dish I tasted (at the tender age of 21) and I fell madly in love. Thanks for this!

    That’s a great point about investing in spices. I’m always peering onto my spice shelf, opening jars and sniffing and thinking what would go well with it. Tonight, dessert was caramelized oranges with cinnamon and cardamom!

  14. Vijay V

    looks delicious! Here’s an Indian Aunty trick – If you use dried chickpeas, put a teabag in the soaking water (plain old lipton is fine) – or toss a teabag in during the last 5 minutes of simmering the chana. Brings out an *amazing* flavor in all the spices…

  15. C

    Apparently Indian food is in the air, because that’s what we ate tonight too. I love chickpeas in all of its incarnations and chana is one of my favs.

  16. This is one of my very favourite things. If you add a bit of cilantro at the end, it really rounds out the flavours, freshening and brightening them even more. That’s how my favourite Indian take-away does it, and I’ve adopted it at home as well. Marvelous, thanks!

  17. Finally a use for that amchoor powder that I couldn’t resist on my excursion to the Indian grocery store. I was intrigued, but could never figure out what to do with it.

  18. Jules

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! Also, have you tried the Indian grocery on 1st between 5th and 6th for amchoor? I love that place and they seem to have pretty much every spice I’ve ever looked for.

  19. Thats exactly how I make my chana masala. (I am Indian)
    I squeeze lime if I dont find amchur powder as well.

    The other thing I have noticed is using dried chickpeas versus canned chickpead. of course the dried ones need to be soaked overnight but I think its more flavourful then using canned ones.
    Try it and see whether you can tell the difference.

    PS:The tea bag idea is brilliant. Try that as well.

  20. Aeshna

    Everyone who wants to make authentic Indian fare, please try The Wonderful World of Indian Cookery by Rohini Singh for absolutely perfect recipes that always deliver. Being an Indian, you should know that here we all refer to author Rohini Singh as the more upmarket, finer Indian cookbook writer. She’s def helped me become a better cook!

  21. I love chana masala, which is good because I have a tendency to hoard chickpeas. If you’re in NYC (or on the internet, which I presume everyone here is or, um, they wouldn’t be here) I woudl highly recommend buying Indian spices from Kalustyans. One of the things I miss most about living in Curry Hill.

  22. Adam

    This looks like a great, simple one pot dish. It also looks like tomorrow’s dinner. Does anyone have some serving suggestions?

    One of these days I’m going to try my had at homemade naan; though I’m not sure how to cook it, I don’t have access to a tandoor, I’m stuck with an electric range and an electric stove that has a pretty hard time getting to 500ºF when I cook pizza. I’ve read about doing it on the backyard grill but I live in an apartment and such grills are illegal in such dwellings here in Oregon.

    Any serving suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  23. David @ Green Kitchen Stories

    I am such a fan of indian food and make a cruel curry spiced lentil soup. But I’ve had similar problems finding the perfect Chana masala.
    Thanks for sharing!

  24. TD

    @ Adam: Even Indians don’t have access to tandoors in their homes these days! It used to be more common, but last I remember seeing one in my grandparents home was when I was 4! Try making plain wheat flour roti on the stove top – they are lighter, healthier and easier to make. Most Indian cookbooks have a recipe for roti.
    I make mine from estimates that only my sub-conscious mind knows in the presence of a bag of flour. Hope this helps.

  25. Erica

    Wow. I could not be happier to see this!! I love your blog + I loooove Chana Masala. What could be more perfect? Can’t wait to try it! I hope we see more Indian delights from you!

  26. ginger

    my husband and i are currently living (working) in Nepal and have been living on nothing but channa masala. just last night over, you guessed it channa masala, dear better half kept pestering me to find a recipe so when we get home i can cook it (he is indian by the way). karma is something because i popped in to check you out and what do i find? channa masala.

    namaste (can’t wait to make it for myself when i leave this land behind)

  27. Adam

    @TD: Thanks for the tip. I’d never heard of roti before today. If it works out for me I’m sure I’ll be making a ton more Indian food in the near future.

  28. wowww looks delicious!!

    i took the plunge on indian spices when I started dating my indian boyfriend 3 years ago (not much choice :-p!) and i am sooo happy I did. FIND AN INDIAN STORE! large bags of cumin/coriander seeds/fenugreek seeds/garam masala powder/turmeric = 3 dollars or less!

  29. I just buy the boxed masalas and follow the directions on the back. I never even knew you could make these masalas from scratch. And I’m Indian!
    Sheesh…my ancestors are probably rolling their graves right now :|

  30. Vidya

    My parents are Indian and while I have no idea what my mother’s recipe entails, it looks and sounds very similar and I know she uses amchoor powder in it. If I were you, I wouldn’t restrict myself to only eating Indian food in cold weather. India in general is a hot country, and while the heartier dishes such as these do come from the North where it is colder, there are countless other regional cuisines to be tried, and some are absolutely to die for in summer. Most restaurants only sell Punjabi food. Although some try to also sell Southern Indian cuisine, they usually fail. Southern Indian is known to be a little more finicky and irritating but definitely worth it.

  31. Shannon

    Using a combination of spices cooked with the dish and added just before serving really increases the depth and complexity of flavour and has made all the difference in my personal attempts to learn Indian cookery. I tried it for the first time after reading something written by an Indian woman remarking on how Indian-American cooks often add spices at the beginning while many in India and the UK add them at the end to a more intense flavour. I was sick of my bland, watery curries so I gave that tip a bit of a tweak by using spices before and after and used it to good effect. To serve I like to top Indian stews a small portion of the spices from the recipe that have been fried off in a tiny bit of oil. For this chana masala I would probably just use a small amount of all the the seasoning from the dish or, for ease, cumin seeds, cooked until they pop (I’m a cumin addict) and then garlic, green chilli, amchoor all fried for a few seconds before tipping over the stew. I also like to top with fresh ginger strips before serving.

  32. Jenn

    Any dessert suggestions to pair with Indian? A friend asked me to make something to bring to a huge feast… and I’m stumped. Thanks!

  33. One of my winter staples lately is a lamb rogan josh (Paris has been bitter cold this winter) so this chana masala will be a welcome change. I wonder if throwing in a little Greek yogurt (as I do for the rogan josh) may add that little sour note you were after.
    And thanks for all the great ideas from everyone; i,e, tea bags, etc. What a wealth of information this site has!

  34. CCL

    I’ve been lurking for a year and thought about commenting several times but this is the recipe that did it. A friend and I were just discussing the fact that we wanted to make indian food and here is the recipe. With more snow in the forecast this weekend I now know what I need to pick up at the store in order to make a warm delicious meal. Oh and I made you light wheat bread this past weekend and it was great, my first foray into home made bread.

    1. deb

      Cooking chickpeas — As I’ve been doing for all of my beans lately, I made them in the slow-cooker. In mine (which I have learned works faster than most) I did not presoak them, just put them covered with a couple inches of cold water on high for 3 to 4 hours. (I do smaller beans in 3 hour or less.) I store them in their cooking liquid since it is full of flavor.

      (My original pipe dream had been to create a slow-cooker chana masala and I tried to come up with a way to do it for weeks but in the end, I realized the best chana masalas are not slow-cooked and stewy but have the layers toasted and browned in a pan for maximum flavor, and not too long of a cooking time. Like you see here.)

      Sasa — Absolutely.

      Jules — Thank you. I will look out for it. I used to work 2 blocks from Kalustyans, so I’d go there all the time. Now it’s like a whole neighborhood north of me, the horror!

  35. CJ

    Like @Kate #16, I have to deal with an allergy to tomatoes and hope someone might chime in with ideas for a sub. Thanks for any ideas!

  36. I cook indian/pakistani good almost every day of my life after marrying a Pakistani. I had never even tasted indian food before meeting him. It’s been an adjustment, to say the least, but I’ve become pretty good at it if I do say so myself! My favorite channa recipe (it’s also called cholay sometimes) is here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cholay-Curried-Chickpeas/Detail.aspx

    Cholay is one of those things that’s a gamble on any menu – every cook’s got their own recipe for it and they vary so much. It’s hard when – like you describe – you have a preferred cholay style. I often get disappointed.

    On buying spices, you should google and locate your local indian grocery stores/bazaar. Spices are sold MUCH cheaper there, with greater variety and in larger quantity packages. A small bottle of cumin seed at the regular grocery store costs $4.99, but in an indian grocery store it will be sold in a larger baggie for $2.99.

  37. Yum. I’ve been using Brandon’s chana masala recipe from My Homemade Life for a while now and it is delicious but maybe time for some compare and contrast…

  38. Cam

    Oh my gosh! Deb, if this is anything like the chickpeas at the Kabob Palace (in Arlington VA if you are ever in the area – best ever) then I am going to owe you SO huge. I have been trying to figure out how to make it for years. Think you can figure out how to make the yogurt sauce too? I know it consists of yogurt, cilantro, jalapeno (maybe other stuff too) and it is delicious.

    1. Rachel Joy

      So this is a great recipe but nothing like the chickpeas at Kabob Palace, i just ate that deliciousness yesterday! Have you had any luck finding a recipe like theirs???

  39. Hello, this is my first time posting a comment on your website, though I read it often and have tried three recipes from it so far. It’s a little tricky to find ingredients because I live in Korea, but I usually try hard after I read your recipes and decide that I can’t live without rye bread or cranberry scones or what-have-you.

    Thank you for the delicious ideas!

    I just made channa masala this week, and I use a trick I learned in India, which is to fry the cumin seeds in the oil before adding the other spices and onion. It really smells wonderful this way, though you do get those little seeds in the food (as opposed to grinding them up).

  40. meg

    thank you for this recipe, i plan to try it on the weekend when i have time to assemble all the spices! chana masala is my favourite and i rank indian restaurants based on their version. i live in a very ethnic area of my town, so i am going to look for the amchoor powder.

    the next time you cook up an indian feast, try making your own yogurt naan. the dough is very easy (and quick) to make and you can quickly shape it and cook it on your pizza stone in the oven, or i like to cook it on top of the stove in my cast iron pan. then you can quickly cook to order (literally in minutes). fresh cooked naan with any curry is wonderful.

  41. I just made the worst chickpea curry last week. My house smelled of curry but it had absolutely no taste. I vowed to never make this again and just get it via carry out. I guess it’s in the stars that I try it again! Thank you!

  42. Deb, how did you know chana masala is my favorite indian food? And that my favorite local place to get it closed quietly last year, a victim of the recession? And that I’ve been craving it something fierce these last few weeks? Thank you for sharing this recipe, I feel like I can taste it from the picture!

    PS-If you’re ever in the mid-atlantic and need someone to watch that cutie, I’m there!

  43. Deb, it looks like you just hit another one out of the ballpark. Although I usually use pre-made Indian curry pastes for such things, I can only imagine how much of a richer flavor yours had. By the way, I made your broccoli slaw this weekend and it was absolutely fantastic!

  44. Em

    Also spices don’t have to be a huge investment. I buy in small quantities from the bulk bins at my local natural foods store. It’s MUCH cheaper than buying bottled spices from the grocery.

  45. This is exciting because I’ve never made a good chana masala at home–it always seems to taste vaguely of burnt spices, never nice. I will definitely try this recipe, especially since February is such a good time for chickpeas! And spices.

    The whole menu you suggest looks really, really sublimly warming. Perfect.

  46. brooklynite

    Indian food is the ultimate budget food…you can create a feast, as you did, with such humble ingredients like lentils, legumes and cauliflower.

  47. Eliz @FreeFoodBoston

    I just cooked a batch of chickpeas yesterday! This looks like the perfect use for them.
    Deb, one question. I’ve never used fresh green chili pepper. Is that different from something like a jalapeño? Would it be terrible if I omitted it (I’m a spiciness wimp) or substituted some red chili flakes instead?

  48. LeighB in ATL

    OMG, I’m almost hyperventilating. I used to date a Pakistani guy and one of the things I loved for him to cook was chana masala. That, and Chicken Jalfrezi (sp?). Plus, I have been thinking about the cauliflower and potatoes I have that need to be cooked, preferably in a wonderfully Indian way. You must have been reading my mind this week. SO! Excited!

  49. I make chana masala pretty frequently and I don’t use amchoor powder (I use it for a spiced potato dish) but I do stir in the smallest amount of tamarind paste at the end of cooking. Then I eat my chana with TONS of mango pickle and wrap it up in aloo paratha. So unhealthy but amazing.

  50. Oh yes! Yum! I have been craving Indian food something fierce. Just bought Monica Bhide’s cookbook and have yet to venture into the kitchen with it. MUST do this soon!

  51. Elana

    I love Indian food in all forms- so my standards are pretty low. I am quite happy with Trader Joe’s boxed Indian Food- their cholay is the spiciest I have had from an American market, but now I just might have to make this recipe. My kids favorite meal I serve is chicken tikka masala- and they are both under 4 years old- ya gotta start em early :)
    Do you have to toast and grind the cumin seeds yourself- or can you buy them that way?

  52. Cynthia K-R

    Hi Deb–Madhur Jeffrey is a legend up here in Canada. Watched her tv shows all the time. She has another GREAT cookbook, FAR EASTERN COOKERY. Look on page 224 for her “Noodles with Pork in Hot and Sour Soup” recipe. It is totally awesome. I make it all the time.

    Her recipes are wonderful – even though yes – there is a long list of spices.
    Thanks for the adaptation of her recipe for us all!!
    Darling, baby too, by the way. Bed-hair rocks!!

  53. Great advice to invest in the spices, I finally did last year, and my kitchen is a much better place for it! This appears to be the same list of ingredients in the version of chana masala that I usually make, less the mustard seeds. The amchoor powder is unique to this version and I am intrigued! I am almost certain I saw this at my local international grocer and had no clue what it was. Hip hip hooray for new spices to add to the collection!

  54. upma

    Deb, I love your blog and have stolen a few wonderful recipes from you. Thank you so much for that.
    I see in previous comments that other people have recommended some Indian cookbooks, and if i may be so bold, i second all of those recommendations. However before you look to any of those books, get Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni. It’s like the Joy of Cooking for Indian food, and if you prefer, there’s a vegetarian only version as well. Bittman mentions her a lot when he cooks Indian.
    Super kudos to you for instinctively knowing to substitute your lack of amchoor with lemon. Amchoor is one of the most wonderful spices on earth ever, and you can add it to your chaat dishes too! (sprinkle a little chaat masala and a dash of amcoor onto a sliced banana! you’ll love it).

    1. deb

      upma — Mmm, chaat. I have to make that next. Thanks for the tip.

      Eve — I also disagree that Indian food is heavy. It is some of the healthiest food I make, largely vegetables, beans and lentils simmered with many spices. I never see those slicks of excess oil in Indian home cooking that you get from cheaper restaurants. I always feel full but not weighted down after I finish a meal like this.

      Re, Crazy Hairs — That’s not even his bedhead. That’s just the way is hair is some days, poor kid. We dug out some of my old baby pictures — it turns out he’s only got his mama to blame for this.

  55. upma

    oh. and, i’m sorry to be a comments hog, but if Nutrition by Eve ever comes back to check in on these comments, i just wanted to let her know that most families who cook indian food at home do it in a much more healthful way than what you get at restaurants. it’s actually a very healthy cuisine.

  56. Neha

    A couple of people asked for tomato substitutes: tamarind paste works almost as well. It’s a little more sour so be careful how much you use. About a tablespoon or so dissolved in hot water should be a decent substitute for a couple of Roma tomatoes. You should be able to buy it at the Indian grocery store and it’s not expensive.

  57. I’m so excited to make this for a little dinner party I’m having Saturday night! I make your cauliflower/potato dish often (and have experimented with sweet potatoes in place of the yukon’s, delish!) and always order Chana Masala from Earthen Oven on the UWS so I’m excited to finally have a good recipe for it.
    Also, you have the most photogenic and darling baby boy! Love seeing the photo updates – keep them coming!

  58. Hi Deb, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time but this is the first time I’ve commented. This recipe looks great, but wow, a tablespoon of amchur? My husband is from India and chana masala is one that we make a lot. I’d say for the amount of chickpeas you’re using, we use more like a teaspoon, maybe 2 of amchur.

    You should try making Punjabi chole next–they are flavored with black tea, which sounds weird but they are amazing! If you’re interested I can pass along our recipe, which we’ve taught at Indian cooking classes.

  59. Deb, I think you’ve finally convinced me to take my first foray into Indian cooking. I have 95% of the ingredients at home – can’t get more budget friendly than that! Thanks for the encouragement!

  60. Anna

    Can Chana Masala be made with chana dal instead of chickpeas? I have a big container of chana dal that I need to use — investigation says it can pretty much be substituted for chickpeas in anything — but I’m wondering if anyone has experience with actually making a curry with it. The size is so different (they’re like yellow split peas but apparently don’t get mushy when cooked).

  61. TD

    Hey Deb, thanks for that slow cooker idea for chick peas. I will try that next time.
    @Kate and CJ #16 and 54:
    Tips to make Chole tangy without tomatoes:
    Use tamarind paste or yogurt. If using yogurt, do not add it to a hot pan of chickpeas, it spoils the texture. Drop the temperature a bit, add yogurt right off the can without diluting with water, once mixed with the whole curry, add warm water to balance. Do not allow the temperature of the curry to drop too much at this point by using cold water…it changes the gravy texture. I also add sugar sometimes to balance the extra tartness of yogurt and tamarind. Tamarind can be bought in a glass jar in Indian stores. It is not as potent as the real thing, but enough for chole in my opinion. Also it stays unspoiled in the fridge for months…tamarind is so acidic that it’s kinda like vinegar…doesn’t allow bacteria to grow easily.
    @Those who grade Indian restaurants by their chole: Wow!! I wouldn’t have guessed that one. [:D]

  62. I live in Jackson Heights, so wonderful Indian food has always been so plentiful I never made my own until last week! Which is even worse since I live like 2 blocks from Patel Brothers, an amazing Indian supermarket, where I bought spices that came with their own little spoons in them. I was highly amused.

  63. Anna, you can cook that chana dal until it’s done in one pot–and in a separate skillet, heat some oil, add cumin seeds, then onion and green chile until translucent, then ginger-garlic paste, then tomatoes and similar spices to this recipe, and cook until oil starts to release from the edges of the tomato and it darkens. Then add in the chana dal and simmer, adjust seasonings, and serve with rice or chapatis.

  64. SW

    I have to agree with Upma – amchoor is an amazing spice! My mom makes fruit salad every summer with pears, apples and bananas and spices it with a little fresh lemon juice, salt and amchoor. Delicious!

    Deb, this is my first time ever commenting on a website – I love your blog! Thanks for the beautiful pictures and the wonderful recipes.

  65. Smita

    Sounds lovely! Deb – I have also had very good luck using dried pomegranate seed powder (anardana). The sourness develops over the next day. I imagine pomegranate molasses would also work but may add a little extra sweetness.

  66. tams

    I am without words. I am speechless. You have managed to post the greatest, most delicious, most satisfying Indian dish (to me!) EVER! I am over the moon with excitement and I cannot wait to have this… Love, The girl with the 10 burner 2 stove Vulcan – I know you remember me – Haha!

  67. I’m making chana masala tonight, but using Molly Wizenberg’s recipe. If for some reason I don’t like it, I’ll be sure to try this one. I’m also making bhatura–yum!

  68. If you add a little tamarind paste and sugar, it becomes an awesome snack/streetfood. The tea bag someone referred to above is to darken to chickpeas to nearly black (in the traditional version a sort of bouquet garni of tea tied up in cheese cloth is used). This version is cooked with a ton of ginger, the usual spices and no tomatoes. Often black chick peas are used for this prep. A iron wok (or cast iron pan) is a must to obtain that special flavor. Anardana (dried pomegranate seeds) are often added (the closest substitute for amchoor). Now, I am drooling. Will post some version on my blog soon.

  69. Debra Peoples Helmer

    Hi!

    Love the recipe…..tell me, where did you get you cayenne pepper? Several years ago I purchased some at a health food store that was exceptionally hot (180,000 BTU) but the kicker was…it also had flavor! Of course, the store is long gone and I just used the last up of it (I had to buy it by the pound!).

    Help, please?

    Thanks,

    Deb

  70. I just got back from a trip to India; the food that you get there is so different from what Indian restaurants in the U.S. typically serve. Like you, I’ve tried making chana masala several times at home and never got it right, so I’ll have to give your recipe a try.

    I’d also like to note, for the economically conscious, that Indian grocery stores sell big bags of spices for a fraction of what a tiny jar will cost at a regular grocery store. The tricky part is using them all up before they get stale; if you can find someone to split them with it’s even better.

    Cam: I know the chickpeas you speak of in Arlington, and that restaurant is not Indian, so I don’t think these would be quite the same. As I recall, those chickpeas have more of a sweet spice flavor (think cinnamon) and little or no tomato.

  71. KatSau

    YES, YES, YES!! You rock, Deb! Just had some chana masala at restaurant on Sunday and thought to myself I should make my own. Sometimes your cooking ESP scares me! Thanks!

  72. I have had the same exact problem for years now. I have tried over, and over, and over to get a thai or indian curry dish at home to taste like the ones made at the better restaurants, but I have as of yet been completely unsuccessful. I always hate the store bought curry powder, and have been searching for a homemade version. I am really looking forward to trying this. Thank you!

  73. NicM

    I love doing Indian night at home and it all started with chana masala. To me the best part is seeing my husband eat vegetarian dishes without complaining and even being happy about it! If you shop around online you can get good prices on spices, much better then the regular grocery store. The Natural Grocer by me sells bulk spices in little baggies for a fraction of the cost of jarred spices. You can easily make your own garam masala too. Like curry there are many versions but generally there’s pepper, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, ginger and bay leaves.

  74. Rebecca

    Now THIS looks like my kind of masala! Looks beautiful. And it looks rich and tomato-y without that excess cream I see in chicken tikka masala recipes. And I love new excuses to eat my veggies, can’t wait to try it out!

    And while I’m on the topic, does anyone have a good chicken tikka masala recipe without cream (or at least without the entire cup of heavy cream I seem to always find on google searches)? I swear that at my favorite indian restaurant it’s a bright deep red, creamy in texture, but without any actual cream at all. Am I missing something, or does anyone have any ideas?

  75. Pradeep

    Do you know chana masala is a street food in India, in New Delhi you can see vendors selling it even on bicycles, however its more salad like with lemon and green chillies. However its not hygienic as the one cocked at home. And each Indian spice has some therapeutic effect on body, for example turmeric has anti-inflammatory effect.

  76. April

    I actually have amchoor powder! Now I have a great reason to use it/keep storing it in my pantry! My husband will love this one! Can’t wait to look at the other Indian recipes in your arsenal – Thank you, thank you!

  77. Hi Deb! This looks really really good. I am indian and really am not a chana masala fan, never really have been but this looks really good! I learned all my indian cooking from my mom and have started to make new recipes out of stuff she taught me and our taste. My husband loves anything and everything indian. I have a bunch of recipes that are fairly easy and usually use the same ingredients if you would like me to send you some, feel free to email me!

    boopsnro@yahoo.com

    Thanks!

  78. Shawn K.

    This looks good! I’m married to an Indian and we cook a lot of Indian food. A great source of authentic recipes is Turmeric Trail. That cookbook has never failed to please! I’ve found that many of the Indian cook books seem to leave out some critical information. My husband says it’s a “taste” thing and you have to know what it’s supposed to taste like and then gussy your concoction up. I’ve been particularly disappointed in Jaffrey’s recipes as I always have to do a lot of changing to make them acceptable.

    Love the blog!

  79. Deb (not the author)

    I cannot believe its been a year since: One year ago: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes I’ve made these so many times, sometimes as a layer cake and they have never failed to impress. People, this is the BEST adult cake recipe out there! Last time I made the cake on Tuesday and kept it in the fridge until Saturday when I was able to make the bailey’s buttercream frosting and serve. It tasted just as moist and fantastic as the day I made it (I always sneak a taste – sue me). Thank you deb for the best chocolate cake recipe and ganache/frosting inspiration!!!!!!!

    ps – I’m obsessed with channa masala and will invest in spices for my next apt – right now I’m a subletter so I dont really want to have to squirrel them away in fear that someone will use all of my garam masala!

  80. Thanks so much for this great looking recipe. I have a question that may seem ridiculous. What kind of pepper, exactly, is your “hot, green chile pepper”? I never really know what to buy when it comes to hot peppers. Does it not matter as long as it is green and hot? There are so many different kinds of hot and green peppers. I will look forward to your advice. Thanks a million!!

    1. deb

      Heather — I am sure that some peppers are more traditional in Indian cooking than others but I don’t think it much matters. I had a jalapeno around, that’s what I used.

      Pradeep — Every time someone mentions Indian street food, I start drooling. I loved the beginning of The Namesake (movie) when the mother misses street chaat and tries to make it from rice krispies, hot sauces and a few other weird ingredients at home. Even THAT looked good to me.

  81. The sour note in my mom’s chana masala comes from anardana – dried and coarsely ground pomegranate seeds. We almost never use amchur in chana. But then, there are as many versions of this dish as there are the number of people cooking it!

  82. Kathleen

    This looks so good! I’ve recently gotten the bug to create good Indian food at home, but have been a bit intimidated. I got 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer, which is a beautiful book, but I haven’t attempted any of the recipes yet. I think I’ll start with yours!

  83. Tama

    Now we’re talking! I LOVE Indian food and this recipe looks great. I pulled out an old New York Times recipe for Naan a few weeks back and made it with Chicken Masala. I couldn’t believe how easy the Naan was and my son loved it too. I think I’ll be making another batch with this. Thanks!

  84. Selby

    Deb – we love Indian food but I cook it rarely at home because we also live in NYC and the curry smell in the apartment makes me feel like I am LIVING in Kalustyan’s. Especially when it comes to sauteing all the spices. Any tips?

    1. deb

      Selby — I actually find the scent of curry powder itself to be far more overpowering than most of the spices I put in Indian cooking. The apartment smells like it in the evening, but the smell is gone by the next day. We have a window in our kitchen and because our place is steam-heated and a veritable sauna all winter, however, our windows are always open.

      (And yes, I know curry powder is a blend of the above but for some reason, I find it especially pungent. Actually, I don’t really care for curry powder at all…)

  85. K

    I second all the Indian Aunty tricks other people have mentioned — tea bag in with the chickpeas, using dried chickpeas, etc. Another thing you might try if you can’t find amchur is to buy citric acid and use a small (small!) pinch of that. Or, with tomato-based dishes, my mom (an Indian Aunty!) and I both use the completely inauthentic but very helpful trick of adding a squeeze of ketchup if the finished dish ends up not being sour enough.

  86. Anthony

    I love Indian food, and have cooked quite a bit. This is definitely on my list now! And THANK YOU for writing that little note about the amchoor powder – I’m extremely allergic to mango, and would have used it without knowing!

  87. YUM, I can’t wait to try this. I have never cooked Indian food before but am an addict. It pains me to shell out $35 every time I want my chicken tikka and chana masala from my favorite place. Thanks!

  88. i make something similar but use lentils instead of chickpeas. why i never thought to use chickpeas instead baffles me. thanks for the recipe. we’ll be trying it next week!

  89. I swear you have an uncanny ability to know exactly what is in my cupboard that I’m looking to cobble into a dinner. I am totally making this tonight!!! Thank you!!!!!

  90. Pioneer woman gives a way to make garam masala if you can’t find it in your grocery store:

    “A good Garam Masala spice mix recipe is:

    1 tablespoon coriander; ground
    1 tablespoon cumin; ground
    1 tablespoon ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon cayenne pepper; ground
    1 tablespoon fennel seeds; ground
    1 tablespoon ginger; ground
    1 tablespoon cardamom; ground
    1 tablespoon nutmeg; ground
    1 TEASPOON cloves; ground”

  91. Elizabeth

    @Adam: I make naan in my oven, using a pizza stone. Just heat the stone at 500 degrees for at least half an hour, and you should have no problem at all getting a nice, bubbly effect in your bread. All my Indian family does this during the cold months when we don’t have access to a screaming hot outside grill.

  92. I wanted to second Upma’s recommendation of Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking. I spent six months in India and Nepal, and the dishes I have made from this cookbook are the most authentic I’ve been able to replicate in my kitchen thus far.

  93. Jordan

    I make this recipe all of the time! I love Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbooks. This recipe also works well if you add chicken breasts chopped into chunks. It’s one of my stand by one-pot wonders.

  94. This is perfect. I am on a huge Indian kick. All four on my kids love Indian food, so it is a good thing to make for them.

    I have been making all different dishes and making basmati rice and homemade naan to go with it. Pefect dinner.

    This will be on the menu for next week

  95. I love Indian. And I love Chana Masala. But I don’t like is the smell it leaves in my house after cooking it. It seems to permeate into the woodwork. But, this does look pretty tasty, so looks like the house is gonna smell of Indian food for the next week. Thanks for the recipe.

  96. Andrea

    I was just going to say that the sour note was likely amchar (green mango powder), but you beat me to it! Glad you found the flavour you were looking for. When in doubt, I always turn to Madhur :)

  97. Lori

    I LOVE Indian food and have been wanting to venture into cooking it for a long time. Discovered an Indian market that is on my way home from work. This has inspired me to stop in for ingredients.

    One question, though, this sounds like it would freeze well…does it? Or would it get too mushy. Is there such thing as too mushy in Indian food?

  98. I was planning on making Indian later this week, because I have some fried paneer patties leftover from last week and some chickpeas leftover from making hummus. This couldn’t come at a better time!

  99. I dont know if anyone else mentioned this, but Indian spices from the international food aisle of your supermarket (if you have a good one) or from a specialty store are INFINITELY less expensive than those in the spice aisle. I live in Jersey City where we have a really diverse population and I can buy bags of spices, in bigger quantities than your average McCormick, for a dollar a bag in my local ShopRite. they are always fresh, and tend to be spicier than average (1/4 tsp of cayenne in a giant pot of macaroni and cheese burns my mouth). But turmeric, ginger, etc? Deals to be had, people!

  100. I have never had or made Indian food. We live in the middle of nowhere! I’m a little bit intimiated about what it should taste like, so I’m not sure I would make this! We love spicy food, any hints about what to do??

  101. noaer

    made this today for lunch. very aromatic, delicious & flavorful. will definitely make again and check out your other indian recipes.

  102. Thank you for reading my mind – I hope it wasn’t too messy in there. I have been craving this dish with some nan and instead of looking up recipes I’ve gone out and spent $15 for it. Twice. And really, they don’t give me as much as I would like, at least at the Indian restaurants in my neighborhood couBaluchi’sgh.

  103. hooray channa masala! the food of my people! :) forgive me if I missed this in the comments already, but I often make mine in the slow cooker and find it benefits from the long simmering. also, for the North Indian version of the dish, we add anardhanna powder (made from ground, dried pomegranate seeds) instead of amchur. Same slightly sour, dark note. And all-around deliciousness.

  104. Just when I thought I couldn’t love your blog more, you post INDIAN FOOD. I’m always seeking good recipes for Indian – and I agree, most of them just don’t work out right. I trust you on this one, so I’ll give it a go before too long.

    One thing I don’t see is a good Saag Paneer, which is my all time favourite Indian dish ever. I can do a decent paneer, but the saag never comes out right – it’s always either too soupy or too bland or just not right. I’ve kind of given up on it. Have you ever had any luck with cooking that one at home?

  105. oo la la! i love to eat this, and I cook with Indian spices fairly regularly but I have never tried a chana masala before. I think the only thing I need to pick up is a spicy pepper. Would a jalapeno be best? I also hoard chickpeas… canned and dry! The tea bag idea sounds cool! your site is fantastic… love your inspiration

  106. This just happens to be my most favorite indian dish of all time. We also happen to be having “indian themed” meals this week so I may just have to sneak this one in somehow…

  107. *stepho*

    omg…the homemade chana masala and cauliflower dish sound HEAVENLY. we have a wonderful Indian restaurant nearby that delivers, so we tend to opt for that when an intense craving for Indian food strikes (is there a craving more intense than one for Indian food?), but i will have give these recipes a go. i’m going to pick up some of that incredible sounding dried mango powder and get busy with this curry! thanks, deb!

  108. Kelly

    We have also learned the hard way to not order a curry for delivery! It’s never been good! And it’s weird because the Brick Lane Curry House is really quite good dining in – but their takeaway is rubbish! I’ll definitely try this recipe!

  109. Francheska

    I showed this to mom, First thing she said was ”WHERES THE MEAT?” haha, Ive claimed to have made ”Indian food” just cause I sprinkle curry powder on chicken breasts…and I get away with it lol, Ill try the ”real thing”(Caribbean/Indian fusion restaurant) on Valentines, My bf and me are going to eat at this place called Tantra, If I like it ill give this a try even if im the only one that gets near the pot, My mom is so picky :D

  110. raveena

    another good substitute or addition for the ‘sour’ element would be anardana powder (dried pomegranate powder). I also use a tsp of readymade chana masala from the indian store and a 1tsp of tomato paste for an extra punch. Another trick is to add a teabag to the masala to give the chickpeas a darker color and it complement the rest of the flavors. try serving with diced onions, cilantro, and lemon juice on top. AMAZING

  111. Simone

    First off-I recently discovered your site and I LOVE it! I’m always looking for new ideas & your site is a great resource. I was surprised to discover that I have virtually all of the spices for this dish (& I’ve never even made Indian food before!) I do have a question regarding the cumin though. I only have ground cumin available. Can I increase the amount of ground cumin to make up for the missing cumin seeds in this recipe?

    1. deb

      Cumin seed questions — I toasted and ground it in a spice grinder/coffee grinder that I’ve repourposed. You can also use a mortar and pestle. I am sure you can also up the amount of ground cumin for a similar effect.

      Dried chickpeas — I used a 1 pound package. It yielded… more than 4 cups. Maybe 6. They’re sitting in the fridge, begging to be made into hummus.

  112. Wendy

    I am so excited that you have posted this, I am obssessed with finding the best Chana Masala recipes. I love it so much and I am making it tomorrow for sure! For sure get the amchoor powder it is that sour taste that you were looking for, but I am going to try the lemon too. Thanks so much Deb, your site is the best!

  113. Would you believe we have yet to find a good Indian restaurant in San Francisco? I mean, we’ve found good ones, just not GOOD ones. So this comes at a perfect time — and I already have most of the ingredients! Can’t wait to try it out.

  114. Robin

    Well, my 5 year old is going to have to change her opinion of chickpeas because I am making this very soon! Yum! It’s really hard to find good Indian food around here.

  115. Mindy

    Deb, it sounds like you need to meet everyone’s favorite Indian grandmother, Manjula: http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/

    Also, anyone lucky enough to live near a bulk spice shop should realize they can buy all the spices for just one dish for less than a dollar. Or stock up (keep the extras in a secondary sealed container, or your kitchen will continue to smell strongly of Indian food).

  116. S

    Deb, I cook chana masala from time to time from a recipe my mom gave me, and I noticed there’s quite a lot more cumin in your version, and more coriander too. But if it tasted good then that’s all that matters! Also, I’ve been told that after adding the masala to the onions/ginger/garlic, you should saute till you can see the oil and water separating. (And to prevent the masala sticking to the bottom of the pan, you can add a bit of water as needed.) The leftovers are great for taking to lunch the next day!

  117. Lyndsay

    I have almost all of this. I buy spices at a bulk food store and they are cheap there. I’m just wondering about the “cumin seeds, toasted and ground”. Do you toast and ground those yourself? How do you do that?
    Also, I know it’s hard to say but would you say this is very spicy? It looks like a lot of spices. I was thinking of trying this but using half of each spice. I can handle some spice but not way too much.

  118. Melinda

    Amchur is a good sour note to include in northern Indian recipes. Also try tamarind. This is put to great use in southern Indian cooking. Try “Savoring the Spice Coast of India” by Maya Kaimal. As a woman married to a southern Indian man, I can vouch for it being one of the best southern Indian cookbooks out there.

  119. Debby

    Another pepper question: since you say you used what you had around, can I substitute a portion of a regular green pepper (if so, what amount?) or just leave it out? I just went to the grocery store today, and, of course, have every ingredient on hand but this one.

  120. dev

    Such a beautiful blog (amazing pictures) and I’m inspired by the good-natured, well-informed, adventurous spirit of your cooking. I have failed miserably in my attempts to make Indian dishes, even with the assistance of a lovely couple who took the time to introduce me to amchur as a key component to their home cooking and proceeded to step me through the preparation of one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Even with my scribbled notes my attempts were still miserable. But with your addition, here, and the encouraging comments I shall rally for another try! Onward! (fyi: amchur is a light-brown powder, slightly sticky like brown sugar so it tends to clump. Hunting in the Indian spice section of the local Asian store is always fun. Cupboard smells amazing even if I can’t cook with ’em! My sad collection: black sea salt, fenugreek leaves, whole nutmeg, tandoori spice, ajwan seeds, ground coriander, white poppy seeds, black cardamon, fennel. fenugreek seeds, cardamon pods, cumin seeds, whole cloves, cumin powder, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, probably some more…)

    1. deb

      ariana — It serves 4 to 6. I was hesitant to put that in because it depends on whether it is your only main (then maybe just 4) or if it were being served with other dishes/curries or rice, naan, etc. But now I will, thanks.

      Debby — You could skip it or swap it with a couple tablespoons of minced green pepper and an extra pinch of cayenne.

  121. Sorry if I’m repeating advice…had to comment and don’t have the time to scroll at work. Longtime lurker, and total fangirl, so thrilled to see choley up here.

    One thing we love doing is adding tamarind-date chutney to choley, and one nice substitute for aamchur ir tamarind paste. I suggest you get whole tamarind and soak and grind your paste at home because the store bought ones I found in the US are really too sweet and gooey.

    There’s always garam masala which can go in anything, for people who don’t have the budget/space to get all the spices. Available in an Indian store. I recommend Everest as a brand.

  122. shev

    Recipe looks awesome though not quite as awesome as Jacob, who is, well, edible :)

    For those who asked about raita: Maddhur Jaffrey’s recipe for raita is outstanding.

  123. Anna

    I found this on the recipezaar site in November and made it for a vegetarian Thanksgiving! And then I made it again. Definitely a recipe worthy of a spot on Smitten Kitchen.

  124. Mary

    I can’t wait to make this! I’m in the heated beginning of my love affair with Indian cooking, and this just looks so nourishing. I already can’t get enough of your rajmah recipe, and the cauliflower and potatoes are also killer. I haven’t had an extremely high success rate when I venture to other Indian recipe sources, so this new addition is a treat!

    If you’re still looking for a great homemade naan, I’ve become pretty happy with the main entry on allrecipes.com. The trick is to make sure it’s super-thin! Instead of grilling, I read on another recipe to brown the bottom in a cast iron skillet, then move them under the broiler to finish. This has worked well for me, but next time I’m going to see if I can simplify and just bake at high heat with similar results.

  125. Sharon

    Thanks for answering, the jalapeno, amchoor, and garam masala (I’m out of it) are going on the shopping list for next week. This looks wonderful

  126. wes

    wow. I have almost all the spices and a bag of dried chick peas in the pantry. I’ll have to pick up the other spices and make this soon. My daughter and I have been trying chick pea stews and this sounds like a perfect winter meal.

  127. i’ve been making orangette/molly’s/brandon’s chana masala since her book came out. last night, i gave this a test-run and found it to be much cleaner tasting. that tanginess is really prominent, just the way i like! so, thank you.

    funny bit: i read the post and just skimmed over Crazy Hairs, thinking you had somehow gotten that new movie Crazy Horse. hours later, i was like…”ahem, where was jacob today?” then, it all clicked. Not Crazy Horse, Crazy Hairs = Jacob and a magnificent ‘do.

  128. i have all ingredients on hand… i have tried Orangettes version too and now i want to make yours – i have no idea what i will serve along or if i just keep it vegan… thanks so much for you great post and pictures!

  129. Ashley

    I made this last night for dinner. It was delicious, perfectly spiced, and very filling! Thank you so much for the recipe.

    @Ariana (#174): I got about 4 hearty servings of chana masala and rice – dinner for two last night, plus lunch today.

  130. I love chickpeas and also love Indian food so this is a definite must for me to try. We have one Indian restaurant here in RIverdale. We ordered from there only one time. Once was enough. Can’t wait to try it!

  131. Patsy

    This is my absolute favorite dish in the whole world. I’m so glad you’re bringing it to the masses. It’s also wonderful served as an appetizer with little poori’s or on top of sev (little crispy noodles) or a split open samosa. One note about the amchoor, I’ve started using ground pomegranate seed instead — the flavor is subtle yet amazing, without the slight bitterness of amchoor. I’ve also heard you can make it by bunging all the ingredients in the crock pot, but I’ve not tried this.

  132. JK

    Hi Deb,

    I must congratulate you on your very authentic Indian chana masala!! Looks absolutely delicious…something I might churn out in my own kitchen:) Being an Indian myself, I like to believe I can recognize the real stuff.

    A couple of tricks I picked up from a friend who hails from North India, the home of the chana masala, and who’s a wonderful cook herself:
    1. While cooking the soaked chickpeas, add half a teaspoon of grated ginger, a tiny bit of minced green chillies and a bit of salt. This way the chickpeas absorb the flavor as they cook.
    2. Most Indians use the store bought Chana/Chole Masala mix and add a couple of teaspoons of this in addition to the coriander, cumin powders, amchoor, turmeric and cayenne powders. The Chana Masala mix contains a ready made blend of spices such as caraway, pomegranate seeds, dry fenugreek, etc. that are typically used in preparing chana masala. My favorites are the ‘MDH’ brand and the ‘Everest’ Brand – both easily available in Indian grocery stores and cost less than $2. Might be worth stocking up only if you make chana masala often enough.

    And last but not the least, I absolutely love this blog. Its become my ‘go to’ place for so many recipes now, especially the baked goods…yummy!! My family, friends and co-workers are pretty impressed:) Thank you so much!

  133. Hi Deb! I’m also a long-time-lurker who is losing my comment virginity right now – I had to write after I made this recipe last night immediately after seeing it…..GAH! It’s absolutely delicious. I think I had the OPPOSITE problem of everyone else — being the international food lover that I am (particularly INDIAN) – I have ALLLL of the spices……..and just NEVER know how to use them correctly! I’ve looked for an indian cooking class. I’ve read recipe after recipe and still somehow it never comes out right. But THIS recipe was the light at the end of the tunnel – PERFECT, simple, no time spent having to puree things or do a million steps. AMEN! Thanks for my delicious dinner (turned lunch today) :-)

  134. Jenn

    Ooooooh, we’re on the same wavelength–I am totally obsessed with chick peas right now, too! Last week (and last night) I made the Pasta e Cecci recipe from Rachel Eats– Yum. I’ll put this on board next….

  135. Val

    Mmmmmm…. this has really put me in the mood for some Indian food! I normally wait until I’m back in London for some authentic Indian food but this Chana Masala looks like the real deal and something I will have to make this week :-)

  136. There is a wonderful Indian cookbook that comes from a Vancouver Indian restaurant called Vij’s. Wonderful, wonderful food. This recipe looks stellar. I love all the spiced used…perfect for warming us up this time of year.

  137. Kate

    Deb, I love your site! When I visit, you always have the EXACT THING that I am craving for any meal. I have some canned sauce on the lineup tonight and am definitely going to forget it and go with your recipe instead.

  138. emily d

    For our Lost dinner party last night, I had already planned to make chicken tikka masala with naan and basmati, but then I came across this recipe! So I add this chana masala to the menu last minute, and it was a hit! I’m actually eating it for an early lunch right now- very very good. I find this dish really flavorful and light. I appreciate that it’s not cream based too. This will become a regular in my food repertoire. Thanks!

  139. rockdoc

    I have recently been craving chana masala. I used to eat it a lot in med school and really miss it. I have most of MJ’s cook books, even some written for her early British audience and love both her vegetarian and meat dishes. Thanks for the nudge.

  140. Jacob

    Hi Deb, once again you have hit just the right recipe! Just one question. I have a block of tamarind that has sat in my pantry for what seems like eternity. Do you think I could replace the lemon juice with some of the diluted tamarind? Also any tips on how to dilute said block? As always I am grateful for your gorgeous blog. It seriously is always one of the first things I look at when I log online. Thanks so much..

  141. Natalie

    delish!! :)

    i know this is totally off-topic, but how about a recipe for a great paella? am i allowed to request things like this? ;)

    ps: your bebe is completely adorable.

  142. Saima

    in pakistan we always make this with tamarind !! it adds an incredibly sweet/sour flavour and really takes it to the next level …

  143. ameeta

    I always make Channa Masala in an oven safe pot and then leave the fully prepared dish in a low (300 degree) oven for two hours to cook and the flavors marinate. If serving to a non vegetarian crowd I add chicken or beef stock instead of water. Also for the last half hour in the oven I turn on the broiler to add some rich color to the channas! Also cook it the day before serving, it tastes much better!

    1. deb

      KC — Yes, that is just fine.

      Eliz — You can absolutely omit it. I use a jalapeno because I had one around. A mild one, even. (They’re all over the map in terms of spiciness…)

  144. Anne

    To Kate and CJ, Another suggestion for tomato substitutions:

    I live with a man who also cannot eat tomatoes and I have found two wonderful recipes for tomato paste and tomato sauce substitutions. Here is the link to make tomato paste:http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4980190.html. I made this, measured it into tablespoons, put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer then when hard, transferred to a baggie. Now I have one tablespoon of “tomato paste” pre-measured ready to put in the (so many) recipes that call for it. This totally brought back fun and flexibility to my cooking! For this recipe, you could stop the cooking earlier, when the sauce looks like crushed tomatoes instead of cooking it down to paste consistency.
    Here is the recipe for tomato sauce, this is great! http://www.cookingallergyfree.com/recipes/show/536

  145. Ooooh…. Patak Paneer’s on the menu for tomorrow night, now I’m thinking a little double date with some Chana Masala. Happy to enjoy the fruits of your labor, stewing up The One. Thanks!

  146. Karen

    I’m really looking forward to making this, because I love chickpeas generally and chana masala especially. By the way, I made your Indian spiced potatoes and cauliflower (for, like, the third or fourth time) just the other night. With that, I have taken to adding up to a cup of frozen peas right at the end of cooking, which adds nice color and flavor as well as another serving of veggies.

  147. Wonderful post, wonderful dish! I’ve been making the Moosewood version for a few years and will try tweaking it with some of these ideas! In fact, I was just about to blog about it when I saw your post. There’s just something about good Indian food… comfort with a kick!

  148. Thanks for the recipe. I just had some frozen chana masala from Trader Joe’s and was thinking it would be a lot better made at home. And then you posted this. I loved it! I used a different curry powder and couldn’t find any toasted cumin seeds, but it was still fabulous. I had it with white rice and Trader Joe’s naan.

  149. Sonya Posmentier

    My punjabi mother’s recipe is virtually the same as this one. She adds about a tablespoon of tamarind paste (in which case you should forgo the amchoor and lemon juice), which makes it sour and dark. Yum!

  150. What variety of rice is served with Indian food? I always love it, but it’s clearly something other than plain old long grain white rice. Seems to be a slimmer grain, and maybe not as dense…

    1. deb

      Gale — I want to say basmati, however, I’m learning from these comments that there are many, many Indian readers out there so I am hoping one will chime in and tell me if I am correct. If you’re shopping, just look for a long, thin grained rice.

  151. kate

    this is the kind of recipe that can accommodate what you happen to have around, so i’m glad to add it to the arsenal. i used what spices i had, added lemon zest and ginger powder to punch up the sourness, and it was great! though i wish i’d thought of the tamarind sitting just under my nose.

  152. K

    Gale: Deb is right, you’re definitely talking about basmati. It’s longer and slimmer than plain long-grain rice, and has a distinct and prized aroma. You can buy it in 10-lb bags from an Indian market (look for a burlap bag with a zip on top) for not too much $$.

  153. Alissia

    I am so excited to try this recipe! I randomly came across another site’s versions on youtube (who knew?) and can’t wait to try yours as well! The two recipes are somewhat comparable from what I can see, except that I think yours makes more and she doesn’t cook with garlic or onions and used a few less spices. But, on that note, I definitely agree that stocking up on the spices is WELL worth it. We used to just doctor up the boxed curry cubes, but it’s amazing what we’ve been able to make ourselves since we took the plunge. Also, have you tried making naan? If not, you definitely should! I ended up finding a recipe on that same website, Manjulas Kitchen, and it was super easy to make in our oven. They were browned and crunchy, but still puffy and didn’t just taste like bread rolls. Manjula also has videos for each recipe, which is helpful when trying to learn how to do something new in the kitchen.

  154. Carol

    Wow… what a wonderful recipe! I had most of the spices in my pantry, but I really wanted the amchoor powder and didn’t want to drive to Queens to get it. Guess what? It turns out that there are two… not one… but two Indian grocery stores right in Danbury, CT!!! Who knew?

  155. Jennifer Rose

    I hate canned chickpeas, but think everything is better stewed with tomatoes. Conflict!! I scooped up a big bag full of fresh chickpeas at the local mexican market yesterday and gave this a shot. It was really good with dinner last night, so i planned on keeping the recipe around. Then I had it for lunch this afternoon and it was like the skies opened up and angels sang. Next time i’m doubling the recipe so there arent fights over who gets to take it for lunch the next day.

  156. I demand that after you reading this, you give your beau a smashing kiss because his photos are gorgeous! I realized that even in the most brilliant cook book you would never get to see this many photos for each recipe.
    Needless to say, I loved this recipe. And felt very accomplished when I realized I had all the ingredients save the amchoor powder. Which I found at the Indian grocer, it had a slightly different name: Amchur Powder- poudre de mangue. It has turned out wonderfully. Thank you!

  157. Amy

    I just made this for dinner, and I am IN LOVE. I live in a wasteland of remotely decent Indian food so a delicious, homemade curry is fantastic :)

  158. Ankita

    I think a key thing to keep in mind for this recipe is slow cooking (a good 25-30 min) the tomatoes and onions in oil first then add the spices (let that cooking until the oil separates) then finally add the chickpeas. I know that’s a really long time, but I’ve realized that’s when the flavor really comes out. Otherwise, the whole mixture just tends to be soupy.

  159. Miri

    chana masala is one of my favorite Indian dishes. I, like others, was taught to make it by a former Indian coworker of mine. Lately I’ve been making it with roti, since roti is darn quick to make. And of course, you have to eat with a dollop of plain yogurt on top.
    sooo much yum.

  160. Jai in UK

    it was great to see this recipe on the smitten kitchen blog. what you could also do is aromatize the oil, this is done traditionally in north indian cooking, – you heat the oil add, a few cloves,a few black peppercorns,1 peice of cassia bark, and a few green cardomom pods opened slighly. After you have heated these dry dry spices in the cooking oil for a few minutes on moderate heat, a wonderful aroma will infuse your kitchen, after this add the onion and continue with the recipe. I always add fresh corriander to garnish this dish gives lots of flavour and tastes good.

  161. Hi Deb – can’t tell you how excited I was to see your post on chana masala – an Indian recipe on your amazing repertoire – and how can another Indian be calm!! It was getting all too personal and so I just emailed you some of my gaga – :P :) ;)

    Just wanted to say – we normally call this recipe ‘Chole’ with an ‘ay’ sound at the end and it’s wonderful with naan (leavened bread) or bhature (leavened and deep fried)… The actual chana masala is cooked with grams.. probably would try to share some pics of how it looks..

    Someone in the comments section mentioned Chana Masala – that’s a short cut spice mix and works quite well – but I personally think all readymade spice mixes are somewhat repelling … nothing like fresh ingredients.

    Congrats for this new entry :)

  162. Sue

    Hi. No Indian grocery stores in my neck of the woods, but I buy all my spices (and lentils and beans) at the natural food store. You can purchase an ounce or more at a time and it’s probably 25 percent the cost at the regular the grocery store.

  163. Erin L Rojas

    I have been lucky enough to have discoverd this exact recipe of Jaffreys years ago. It is a wonderful recipe. I actually like this recipe cold or room temperature. It is wonderful …

  164. Katie

    Bless you Deb for putting up a recipe of my favorite dish ever. And bless Kalustyan’s for having everything I need to make it.

  165. CCL

    Can’t wait to make this. Looks like I will be snowed in for the weekend and this should definitely hit the spot. I was lucky to find a lovely little Indian grocery that had all the spices I needed for dirt cheap.

  166. TracyOle

    I make something very similar to this, but with more Garam Masala (about a TBSP) and a ‘tweak’ of my own- CINNAMON! It adds a whole new dimension to it. Best to use a stick if you can, if not, a big pinch of powder will do.

  167. Anne

    Hey! I’m new(er) to your site, and this was the first recipe of yours I’ve tried. It was great– we used no lemon juice because we had the amchoor powder, and you hit it right with the ‘sour’ note. Thanks for sharing– I’ve been craving Indian food for a while now, and this hit the spot.

  168. Rae G

    I made this last night and it was great. The sour accent really makes the dish. I used the full 1/2 tsp of cayenne, though and it was really hot. We just put lots of raita on it and it was delicious. Also, served it with the indian spiced potatoes and cauliflower which was the perfect accompaniment.

  169. Jonathan

    I made this the other night and found the chickpeas hard (I had to use canned ones due to a lack of availability of groceries as I live in South Korea). Should I be soaking these before cooking them? Or boil them? I’ll give the tea bag recommendation a try.

    Also, I saw rye bread as an accompaniment, and tried some wheat pitas for myself…. any other ideas? Anyone have a easy roti or nan recipe without requiring a outdoor oven?

  170. Teresa

    About dried chickpeas, they are definetely worth the effort. The canned ones just taste slimy to me, even when well disguised in other food.

    1 pound or half kilo of dried beans will grow a lot during soaking (always soak in a big big bowl) and after cooking. At home we freeze soaked beans, it´s really convenient! Just defreeze it in the microwave before boiling (or the water will take ages to boil), toss it in a pot and boil. I think it even decreases the time necessary for the beans to cook. We do that with all type of beans.

  171. breathingmylife

    Hi Deb, long time reader here…about your intention to cook chana masala in a slow cooker…I imagine if you do the ‘masala’ bit in a normal pan (browning onions, adding spices, tomatoes and cooking till saucy consistency) and then dump in uncooked chickpeas, water and transfer to slow cooker….it might just work! Whatdyathink?

    1. deb

      breathingmylife — I had considered doing it exactly that way. I ended up talking myself out of it because I was concerned that the acidity from the tomatoes and lemon might prevent the chickpeas from getting soft. But please let me know it if you give it a spin; I really really really wanted to make this in a slow-cooker, but ended up not having the nerve to.

  172. Craig W

    Hey Deb, loved this recipe! It was my first foray into Indian food. I cut my cayenne in half also and still found it had quite a kick when I was finished. I actually took 1/2 the finished recipe and put it in an emersion blender and added it back to the pan. It really mellowed the pepper, and brought a lot of other flavors to the forefront. Not sure if I committed an unforgivable sin in Indian cooking by doing that, but thought the final result was fantastic. Definitely want to give it a try again with the amchoor.

  173. jmk

    This is delicious. I made it today, and served it with some brown rice. I am sharing it with a pregnant friend of mine, so I did not use the full measure of cayenne. Yummy, easy, and I will make it again.

  174. Reena

    Indian reader here… yeah, definitely basmati rice is what we use. Some would argue Jasmine but I’ve found Basmati to be the best. Otherwise, great recipe. Am surprised by how close it is to my mom’s way (minus all the measurements of course!). A little tidbit, this same base case be used for so many Indian dishes. Sub in kidney beans instead of chickpeas for example.

    The other little “trick” is, before adding the chickpeas and liquid, add a little bit of Indian style yogurt (different than regular yogurt; we call it dhai) and a little bit of mint paste (hard to find so this can be omitted) and you get a little thicker and more authentic taste.

  175. OMG! I just pulled out my Indian cookbook this afternoon and decided to make this… So, I cooked the beans… that’s as far as I got so far!!!
    Your dish looks D-Lish!!! YUM!!

  176. Jaime

    Last night I made this Chana Masala along with two other recipes from your site…Red Split Lentils With Cabbage and Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash. I had tried (and loved!) the spaghetti squash before and knew it would compliment these Indian dishes even though its “Moroccan”.
    This Chana really did have more depth to the flavour than any previous at home curry I’ve tried…it was great and quick to prepare…lovely. Now the lentil and cabbage dish was out of this world!! So good! Longer prep time but sooo worth it! The spaghetti squash worked perfectly and with the addition of some fresh Naan this was the best at home Indian meal I have ever made.
    I love, love, love your site! I have made a ton of your recipes with great success…I always tell people if Deb says something is good…its gonna be really good!!

  177. tara

    omg, thank you for this recipe. I probably should have used a quarter teaspoon of my cayenne also- it’s pushing my heat comfort threshold- but it’s awesome!

  178. My wife is due any day now, and she’s been craving curry and Indian food – last night was daal, a few nights ago was Chicken Curry. I’ll try this tomorrow if we’re still waiting for the birth!

  179. Yum, made this last night and then I proceed to throw away the other three or four print outs of other chana masalas I have tried. You’re right, this was as close to the best restaurant versions as I have gotten. and so easy! No hour long simmers, etc. We ate it with pita bread, some rice and a side of a new episode of Lost and it was a great pre-blizzard night :)

  180. kat

    just made this tonight and it was delish- a perfect dish for a blustery, snowy day. it was my first foray into dried beans and it went better than expected – now please post some inspiring chickpea recipes for the other 2+ cups of cooked chickpeas i have in my fridge! next time i’ll plan better…

    deb (and other nyc people) – Commodities in the EV (1st ave and 10th) has not only bulk granola/beans/nuts/etc, but also a bulk spice section- very handy if you want small amounts, as the spiciness of spices doesn’t last too long.

  181. Cynthia C

    I checked my cupboard as soon as I read this recipe, and everything I needed was there, except the amchoor powder. Lemon juice added a nice kick. I served this with garlic naan, a cucumber raita and a plain rice pilau. So very good! Now you’ve inspired me to start seeking out a good source for Indian spices.

  182. Ooooh that looks divine! I am such a big Indian food fan and totally agree with you on the affordability of it. The spices are an initial investment yes, but a very good one with a high rate of return!

  183. Channa Masala is one of my favorite dishes. I make it probably three times a month and typically serve it with a cinnamon raisin basmati brown rice and plenty of garlic naan. It’s the best type of comfort food, comfort food with flavor. I’m glad you share a love for making indian food too!

  184. Love your blog! This is the second recipe of yours I’ve tried since I found smittenkitchen mentioned last weekend on Cake Wrecks (congrats on your food blog nomination!!)… And THIS WAS DELICIOUS! I am going to be making this a lot! It’s seems simpler to make than the Madhur Jaffery dishes w/ chickpeas that I browsed through in “World Vegetarian” (My favorite and only vegetarian cookbook). I did a 90 minute yoga session while the chick peas were simmering away. Then it was done in just 10 minutes and it hit the spot! Thanks for inspiring me to cook vegetarian again!! (And my husband thanks you too, he has been eating spoonfuls out of the pot all day….)

  185. Sara

    Absolutely loved this, thanks so much for the recipe. This was my first attempt at cooking Indian food despite years of loving to eat it. I was so thrilled about the results that I took some into my office for an Indian gentleman that works with me, and he very much approved. I made the Indian-Spiced Cauliflower & Potatoes to go with it, and loved that too. Love the website and I look forward to every new post, keep it up!

  186. Huh. It’s not in my Madhur Jaffrey cookbook either! Why is that? Where’s the love?

    I am now extra soupy glad that you posted this. I’m trying it on Monday on my day off. Putting the shopping list together now. Mmmmmm. Indian food at home. Yum!

  187. Deb! You’re a genius with the beans-in-the-Crock-Pot thing! No having to think about pre-soaking, just plunking ’em in there with some water and a flick o’ the wrist to “high.” I’ve done it three times now and can say that older beans (maybe because they’re dryer? I donnoe) take a bit longer. What convenience though! And you’re right — they store great in their own cooking liquid. Genius!!

  188. Emmylou

    The best part was visiting the Indian shops in the market for the amchoor powder. Made it last night and it was yum. My 5 year old who usually needs a lot of coaxing, ate his whole serving.

  189. MadHenMama

    I am pleased as punch to say that I found and made this recipe some time ago. (I am glad to have it’s goodness validated here). I, too, swapped more lemon for the amchoor powder and cut the cayenne considerably (mine is Penzey’s and way hot, too). It is so delicious and my kids love it too. We can’t get enough.

  190. I made this the other night and am eating the leftovers for lunch now… still delicious! I didn’t have amchoor powder either, and actually couldn’t even find garam masala at the grocery store, so I’m looking forward to getting to an Indian grocery store asap! I also used a jalapeno instead of one of those smaller green chile peppers (only available in a pack of like 20??) and my boyfriend’s overall analysis was that it need more spicyness. Next time I’ll add more cayenne probably… I’m sure the stuff I have is weak… But thanks for the delicious recipe! We thought it would be tasty also with some plain yogurt… :)

  191. SnowedIn

    We loved this recipe too! What a gift to working parents: fast, easy, yet complex and delicious Indian food. In the absence of amchoor powder we ended up using all the juice of 1 small lemon, to our surprise. (We don’t like things that taste lemony, but here the lemon mysteriously sank in and made the whole dish amazing, just as you said it would.) It was a bit too spicy for my taste so next time I think we’ll take it a bit easy on the cayenne. Thank you for a GREAT addition to our list of Indian dishes!!!

  192. Hi Deb: Made this yesterday afternoon for lunch, and absolutely loved it. Substituted lime juice for lemon, since I live in Mexico City and lemons are hard to come by. Also used ground ginger instead of fresh for the same reasons. Contrary to what the commenter said earlier, I thought the spiciness was right on, and that it could have been hotter, actually. (To each his own.) I may add another serrano chile next time. To Craig, #276: I plan to keep mine in the fridge for about a week. In my experience curries are fine that long.

    To #243, Jonathan, who found the chickpeas hard: You gotta keep cooking ’em! I didn’t soak mine, and I’m at a high altitude (10k feet-plus), and it took mine about 3 1/2 hours to finish cooking. This is also about how long it takes when I soak them overnight, so I’ve given up soaking. A pressure cooker would solve your worries. Also, I ended up making chapatis with this and they turned out beautifully. Used about 1 c. whole wheat flour and 3/4 c. white; added water to form a soft, not-too-wet dough; parceled dough out into small balls; dunked each in whole-wheat flour; rolled ’em out into thin discs; heated them in a hot iron skillet, and drizzled the top of each with oil. They’re done when they’ve got dark-golden spots on them.

  193. Hannah

    Absolutely WONDERFUL!!! I had a glut of cooked chickpeas in my kitchen after cooking a big bag in the slow-cooker. Chana masala = a way to use four cups? Great!! I froze the rest (another chickpea curry must be made soon!!). I recently found and tried out a recipe for a Quick Chickpea Curry on another food blog but we unanimously decided this was WAY better; not only was it EVEN quicker, it was chock-a-block full of yummy spices, was more tomatoey (using canned tomatoes instead of ketchup, which was just fine with me!!) and had an absolutely authentic sour snap at the end. We ate it with fresh, thick, homemade yogurt stirred in and hot, long-grain rice. I think I overdid the cayenne though and will cut that down a bit next time, as well as adding some fresh coriander (or cilantro). I had all the spices, except amchoor powder (will definitely look out for that at the store next time I shop) and used the juice of 2 lemons instead as the lemons over here are very small & hard. The heated left-overs worked deliciously for lunch today; I added about half a cup of thick coconut milk. Dreamy…

  194. Hannah

    ooh and I also didn’t have a jalepeno (or hot green pepper) so I used a little chilli powder which was probably why it was so hot!! I prefer ‘mild’ Indian curries =)

  195. Kirsten

    I love that you posted a new indian recipe. I’m a recent follower, but also lived in India for a year and LONG the cuisine. I tested your reciped (which was very similar to the indian auntie I lived with) but have one suggestion– try pureeing about 1/4 of the chana to add at the end, much thicker and easier to eat with your kulcha!

  196. Erich

    Great recipe. I have to say it’s the closest to authentic Indian tasting food I’ve made at home. After sitting in the fridge for the few days, the flavors meld and get even better.

    I deviated somewhat from the recipe a bit with positive results.

    – used ghee rather than oil
    – once adding the spices to the onions, I really, really cooked them down for several minutes. I find when cooking Indian food, a little fond buildup can go a long way in terms of flavor enhancement
    – let simmer for roughly 20-25 minutes. “Home cooked” Indian with a tomato base always has too much of a fresh tomato taste that you don’t find in restaurants because of the simmer factor
    – added just a touch of sugar at the end (~1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) to combat acidity of tomatoes

  197. Larry

    Loved this recipe. You never disappoint. I added some baby spinach because i thought it was begging more more color.

    Thanks for being here for us. I read the comments and am amazed by the depth and breath of people you inspire to become better cooks. Or just cook.

  198. Yaara in Tel Aviv

    Made this the other day – one of my first *really* good attempts at Indian food – brilliant! We have amchur powder at home, but we usually use it only for pickling (cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, chili peppers, dill, celery leaves and garlic + amchur and salt in water for a few days to a week = spicy salty soury yum).

    Had it with whole grain rice and some yogurt to take the edge off the spice explosion and was PERFECT. Next time will try that tea-bag tip mentioned above, sounds interesting…

    Definitely adding it to my repertoire. Thanks!

  199. Kate

    I think I’m the only one who didn’t like this.

    I made this last night and I’m so disappointed. No doubt it was all my fault. It came out way too hot and it just didn’t have the depth of flavor I was expecting.

    I am going to have to try again some other time.

  200. in response to Kate, when i first made this i, too, thought it was too hot and i could not finish my serving (talk about being depressed). however, i modified the heat (eliminating the pepper and reducing the cayenne to 1/8 teaspoon) and not only did it become more manageable, heat-wise, but i was able to taste the depth of amazing flavors in this dish. i highly recommend trying it again, modifying it to what you think your tongue can handle because after adjustingthe heat, my boyfriend and i have prepared this once a week ever since it was posted. Deb, this is DELICIOUS. thank you so much for sharing this incredible recipe!

  201. M

    This was really good but mine also turned out WAY too hot. Luckily I served it with some rice, and the cauliflower/potatoes and raita from this site, which helped immensely. I have a hard time regulating spice in dishes like this since peppers can all turn out so differently. anyone have good pointers?

    1. deb

      M — I always vote for using less than suggested and taste, taste, tasting along the way. You can always increase it if it needs more pop.

  202. Me_inChicago

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I LOVE cooking Indian food, and this was a nice and easy one to prepare. I did not have the amchoor, but will invest in it as soon as I get back to the store. What I loved most about this dish is that it lacked the greasy/heavy feel that comes with most Indian dishes from Indian restaurants. When I finished making the dish, it was a tad on the spicy side, but served with a little yogurt to cut the pepper. Perfection!

  203. Kate

    Thanks Melissa, I do plan on trying it again as I LOVE chana masala and I know it’s got to be my doing. I also haven’t met a recipe on SmittenKitchen that I didn’t like.

    Thanks for the tips, I’m so cutting back on the cayenne next time.

  204. AY

    I can see you have covered a few Indian dishes, but could not find any Paneer dish. Most of your dishes are North Indian, and we North Indian simply love Paneer. I hope you cover a Paneer dish soon.

  205. Courtney

    I tried this dish last night – I cut out the pepper and reduced the cayenne, and it still had a kick. I also ordered the amchoor powder and waited for it to arrive before I made this – definitely worth the investment and the wait time! Can’t wait for leftovers tonight!

  206. RTS

    Made this last night. Very tasty indeed. Didn’t have amchoor powder so I added a little bit of tamarind paste at the end, which a number of commenters recommended. That gave it a sour tang. Also added cubed boneless chicken thighs. We had some of it last night and put the remainder in the freezer for future munching.

  207. JS

    My best friend in college is from Northern India and this tasted just like the channa masala she would make when I went to her place for dinner. I am so glad to finally have the recipe.

  208. Rachel

    Deb~
    LONG time lurker, but first time poster. I’m currently in Vietnam and suffering from intense cravings for good Indian food. To that end, I’ve been slowly accumulating the items needed to make your Chana Masala and tonight I finally made it. I served it with your Indian spiced cauliflower and potates and a cilantro chutney. Given where I’m at, I had to make some small changes, but it was incredible. My dinner guests were curry and chickpea virgins and they loved both of the dishes. So, thanks!
    Ps. I have been bookmarking your recipes like crazy to cook when I’m back in the States for two months this summer. :)

  209. Billie

    I made this today and it’s delicious. Served it with basmati rice. I found the amchoor at Kalustyan’s, along with the smoked paprika for your spinach and chickpea recipe. That one is next, as soon as my massive order from Rancho Gordo arrives at the end of this week (I had to use canned beans for this one, sigh). So thanks for directing me to that site, and yum!

  210. Shawna

    I saw this recipe a long time ago and have been dying to try it but haven’t been able to find garam masala. I finally found something today at the grocery store called Garam Masala curry paste. Was yours a paste or a spice? If it was a spice, do you think the paste would work?

  211. Isabel

    I just stumbled upon this site today and decided to take a whack at the chana masala. It was great! I’ve never attempted Indian cooking and all I can say is that there will be a lot more happening in my kitchen.

  212. Tara

    Amchoor powder is great… in addition to the Indian recipes, you can also use it in any spice mixture where you want that puckery tang. I particularly like it in a sweet-sour-spicy mix on roasted nuts or sweet potatoes.

  213. Omar

    This was so tasty and a definite keeper for regular dinner rotation! I went out and got the Amchoor powder and am happy to have it in my cupboard now.

  214. Prasanna

    Wow. I am from India and the sheer number of comments on this blog is astonishing. I didn’t know the humble Chana Masala would be such a huge hit! However, this particular dish is made in many different ways all across the country. I live in western India, in the state of Maharashtra and here we make Chana Masala with smaller chick peas (dunno if you call them that) they’re dark brown in colour with a slightly course texture and have to be soaked overnight. Also, we add coconut and jaggery to it so it is slightly sweeter and not sour.

    Best thing about the dish is that you can actually make a completely new dish from the leftover chana masala! Just add a little yogurt, some fresh corriander, finely chopped onions and tomatoes, some crunchy namkeen or sev, mix it together and serve it with chai! that’s instant chaat for you guys!

  215. Dawn

    Hi Deb,
    Your chana masala dish is something to write home about, but I confess that I made the following changes. Sauteed about 3/4 Tablespoon of cumin seeds in oil until they began popping prior to adding the onion, garlic, and ginger. I have all of the necessary Indian spices in my cupboard, but I find it so much easier to use my chana masala spice packet (readily available at supermarkets here in Vancouver, BC) which includes the addition of the mango powder. I’ve never used lemon juice in my final dish previously but found it to impart a nice “perk” of flavor.

    Do you have any advice on how to get my basmati rice to turn out so perfectly as it does in restaurants? It’s light, fluffy and each grain is nicely separated. Mine, on the other hand, is always stuck together and never quite has the right texture.

    1. deb

      Dawn — I don’t have an answer for you, as I have no skills in the rice department, however I was JUST reading a post yesterday about how seriously perfectly cooked basmati rice is taken in Afghan cooking over on this new-to-me blog. I was fascinated!

  216. ruma

    hey dawn m an indian and i can tell u that basmati rice is taken very seriously here in india. U need to soak the rice atleast 30 before cooking it. Now there are two methods. first if you were to make it in a pan then the simple method is heat some oil add a bit of cumin seeds. Let is pop. then add the rice. Let it cook for a min on high heat. Now This is the trick. If you were to make 1cup rice then you need to add two cups of water. cook it on high heat till the first boil. Once you get the first boil turn it back to slow and let it cook for 8-10 min. Check the rice once or twice but not ofter. Once cooked keep it covered. Or you can pep it up with a fork. I hope this works. We cook it the same way and even the neighbours can smell the rice cooking

  217. Sara J

    Very good recipe – I made it last night using a huge can of chickpeas, tripling the recipe. Fortunately I had amchoor powder on hand. The amount and blend of spices seemed just right. At the end, after tasting, I added a few pinches of brown sugar and some fresh cilantro as garnish. My husband said the dish was “restaurant quality”, which given that I have no experience with Indian home cooking, I will take as a compliment. Thanks for sharing!

  218. Ashlei Michelle

    Oh…oh my. I’m having this right now for dinner, and it is fantastic! I’ve been pining for it since I saw the recipe posted, and finally had everything in place to make it, and it is so worth it! Thanks!

  219. Hannah

    this is fantastic and so easy! the cooking time was a little longer for me than what is listed here…did anyone else have that experience?

  220. Katie in DC

    Made this ages ago and it was delicious then. Froze the leftovers and just enjoyed it again over spinach for an awesome lunch. So in case you were wondering: Freezes well!

  221. lafoodist

    Just made this chana masala recipe and it was fantastic. I haven’t had the best luck cooking Indian food in the past, but this was definitely a winner. Can’t wait to attack the leftovers.

  222. I just made homemade naan tonight- the first hit on ‘allrecipes’. The recipe called for cooking it on an outdoor grill, but I used a grill pan on top of the stove and it turned out pretty well. I made it without garlic, but it was pretty bland, so I would recommend not omitting it.

  223. Marian

    This is a great recipe – very simple, and I had almost all of the ingredients (including all the spices, except amchoor and cumin seeds) in my pantry already. This has definitely busted the myth that it’s impossible to cook good Indian food at home. Thanks Deb!

  224. Riha

    Hey Deb,
    I’m an Indian and your recipe sounds very close to the one I’ve grown up loving. I just have a little modification to suggest.Add the cumin seeds to hot oil and when they start crackling, continue with the recipe as written. This releases the cumin flavor better as against adding the cumin seeds together with the other spices.

  225. martone

    This is a great recipe! Although I didn’t have cumin seeds or amchoor powder. I used Canola oil, 1 1/2 red onions, and at the end added some chopped cilantro and a tsp of sugar. I wonder if I could add a 3rd can of chickpeas as the onion to chickpea ratio seems a little off? May add a minced cayenne pepper next time instead of powder as I like it Hot. Reena’s Dhai suggestion above sounds like it would make a big difference! Thanks!

  226. Elizabeth

    This dish was a huge hit in our house! We only had one can of chickpeas in the pantry so we substituted the other with a can of cannellini beans. It worked perfectly and gave the dish even more differing textures. Delicious!

  227. Lisa

    Delicious!!! This was my first try at Indian food and the recipe was super easy to follow and tastes as good as a restaurant. Thanks so much for sharing!

  228. Kat

    I am a little disappointed when cooking this recipe at home. I’ve had similar experiences with many other Indian cookbooks and authors. There’s something lost in transmission between carryout and the cookbook, I think. The carryout in my area is rich and distinctive, but when I make it at home, it seems bland and thin in comparison (though delicious-looking). The Indian at home lacks a certain amount of umami, and I’m not sure how to achieve it. Any advice?

  229. It has been a personal goal of mine to make a curry (I love all curries – Japanese, Indian, Thai) from scratch. Normally I use Patak’s, which is super delicious, but this time I rounded up the spices and made your chana recipe. It was delightful – more aromatic than I’m used to (I think it was the garam masala – it smelled strongly of cloves and cinnamon). I served it with basmati rice and a few sprigs of fresh cilantro. Thanks for the encouragement to buy the spices and try it myself!

  230. I just made this twenty minutes ago and it was delicious. My best friend, who is Indian, moved at the beginning of this summer and I’ve been craving Indian food ever since then. It’s odd, because she doesn’t even like Indian food and we rarely ate it together, but I guess its my stomach’s way of expressing how much I miss her? Either way, I love Chana Masala and this hit the spot. I couldn’t find garam masala at my grocery store so I tried to look up the ingredients. I just added what I had on hand (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, cardamom, and a bay leaf) but I definitely am making a mental note to keep my eye out for it in the future.

  231. Shalz

    I am Indian and for the first time my Chana masala cam out perfect after trying out your recipe (I’ve had perfect chana masalas by fluke before. Not deliberately) :)

    Cant wait to try out your other recipes. Thanks!

  232. Katie

    Ok, tried this again and OMG!! It’s awesome. I hated it the first time, but this time, I skipped the cayenne until everything was together so I could judge how much it needed and just used a pinch. I also didn’t skip the lemon like I did last time and everything came together so much better.

    I love this dish.

  233. Cate

    I am currently eating a lot of chana in between 2 smallish rotis and topped with tamarind sauce. Called ‘doubles’ in Trinidad – I am addicted!

  234. sharon

    I just made this and it turned out fabulously! It’s as good as any I’ve had in Indian restaurants or made by Indian friends. I will be making this a lot this fall and winter.

  235. Anna

    Wow — I made the call for a good cookie recipe on Facebook and someone directed me here, and now I’m lost in a land of cauliflower pies and (be still my beating heart) artichoke ravioli! I’m drooling in my pyjamas, I really am.

    I’ve been making Madhur Jaffrey’s Very Spicy Delicious Chickpeas for decades, and always add half the recommended chickpeas (so, increasing the tomato ratio, like you). I came across her discussing this recipe once, too, and she recommended using a whole lime instead of the amchoor powder in a pinch. The whole lime, minus the peel, that is. (Pulp and juice.) I’ve done this and it’s great. The white citrus lining gives a yummy every so slightly bitter quality that works well.

  236. Making this for the second time right now, so I thought I’d drop a note to say thanks. The investment in spices is definitely worth it – was able to find the amchoor powder with the rest of these, and it is definitely worth the trip to the spice store (a treat in itself). Now inspired to blend my own Garam Masala based on a few sites online…so we’ll see where this goes.

    thanks again! :)

  237. Sidrah

    You saved my chickpeas! The first time I tried making this, I had used my mom’s recipe. Well.. she doesn’t explain measurements too well, so my first batch of chickpeas ended up burning. I had your recipe in the back of my mind as a backup and it definitely helped. Thanks so much for this wonderful gem. :)

  238. thomas

    Lovely website, great pictures and recipes, and like yourself, I do a ton of cooking and baking in spite of my tiny NYC kitchen. (Also like yourself, I do most of my cooking on the cheap.) I was surprised to see you referencing Kalustyans – while it’s a fun place to look around and get ideas, their prices are pretty ridiculous. You can pretty much pick any product on their website and do a quick google search and be amazed at how much they charge and how much every place else sells the same item for. An example at random – Savoy Coconut Cream in a 14 oz. can – average price online is $1.99. At Kalustyans it’s $7.99! Pretty much everything they sell is on par with that mark up. The better places to go are grocery stores in Queens, that little indian grocery store in the East Village on 1st ave, or random little indian grocery stores in Murray (Curry) Hill. Queens is the best bet – cheapest, and fun to hit up some authentic restaurants while you’re out there too…

  239. Judith

    Excellent recipe. I was lamenting that I didn’t have amchoor powder on hand, (and may yet pick some up for the next time), but liked the dish using the suggestion of extra lemon juice. Served with butter chicken, basmati rice, and, puchased samosas and pakoras. I will certainly be making this again. Thank you, Deb.

  240. Kat

    Made this for a dinner party over the weekend and it was delightful! I have perpetually tardy friends, so dishes that can hold for a bit are a must. I cooked it in my dutch oven on the stove top and kept the lid on until we were ready to eat. I served it with basmati rice and naan cooked on my George Forman grill and it served five with enough left over for me to have some for Sunday lunch.

  241. We love this recipe! I just made it for the second time for our vegetarian friends who were visiting. Turns out chana masala is their favorite and they order it often at their local Indian restaurant. They loved it! Thanks for putting it out there.

  242. Treacle-pie

    My mum and I are veggie and lactose intolerant fans of all things chickpea in origin, especially chana masala, so I’m super pleased to find you’ve penned this cracking recipe that tastes as I hoped it would (nice and rounded and tasty without ghee!)

    I only had half a sad lemon in the house when I made mine last night, so decided to grate 1/2 its zest in at the ‘adding tomatoes’ stage to up the sourness and you know, it worked like a charm. It was so good I just had a big bowl of leftovers for breakfast! I also snipped a tiny amount of fresh coriander onto the top and it really lifted the flavour to a new place. Many thanks to my Canadian colleague for recommending your site, you have a new fan in London.

  243. Bunny

    I rarely ever leave comments, but I had to for this recipe because it’s JUST. THAT. GOOD. Oh god is it good. Even my bf – who has a crappy undeveloped palate and generally doesn’t like foreign food – loves this recipe. This is my go-to, one-pot, quick fix healthy meal. I’m on my way to memorizing this recipe… that’s how much I love it.

    I don’t always have naan in the house to eat with this, but toasted bread works just fine. I keep cans of chickpeas in the pantry just for this recipe. And I recommend getting the amchoor powder.

  244. MOnique

    I just tried this recipe tonight, after I discovered my ginger had gone off. And so I had to make it sans ginger, and it is still absolutely amazing! I love Indian food, but for a long time, I got discouraged from making it because I just couldn’t get the timing and balance of spices right. This recipe rekindled my love of playing with Indian food again, so thank you so much!

    Much love,
    Monique

  245. Kristiina

    Made this yesterday! It was delicious…however, I did not heed Smitten’s warning and used the full 1/2 tsp. of cayanne peper. Holy mother of pearls was that some spicy stew. Next time I will definitely cut it down :)

  246. Jillian

    I made this tonight after wanting to make it for sometime and it was delicious. I did not have any cumin seeds, so i added one teaspoon of ground cumin in it’s place. I thought it tasted a bit too cumin-y, so I might just go for a 1/4 tsp next time. It was a bit spicy, but delish. And served with some frozen naan from trader joe’s, a perfect meal! Thanks for another awesome recipe!

  247. Franimal

    This was AMAZING!! My first indian dish came out beautifully. The only thing I did differently was taste it and decide, More Ginger! So I sauteed about two more tablespoons of chopped and another tablespoon of minced ginger. (I like ginger a lot.) It was delicious!

  248. Danimal

    This is the perfect recipe; just follow the instructions and you have an incredibly delicious indian dish. I do recommend this addition to the recipe – chop some fresh cilantro, dice some vidalia onions and tomatoes and sprinkle these three items on top of this dish when you serve it. This minor addition adds an incredible amount of flavor and texture to an already awesome dish (this is how they serve it at my local Indian restuarant and for good reason).

  249. Angelica

    I am absolutely making this tonight! I found some amchoor but not the powder kind. Should I just blend in my Vitamix to make the powder or cook them in the stew and remove when done?

  250. Kayvie

    I made this toinght – I also didn’t have any mango powder (though have cooked with it before and it is awesome) and added a little extra lemon and some tamarind paste which was lovely. A really great recipe. Thanks, from England! xx

  251. div

    Hi,
    I am Indian and my family loves this dish. We add potatoes in it and that tastes really good too. Instead of buying all these powders and spices (which we already have) we just buy a spice blend mixture for chana masala at our indian store. It’s pretty cheap and it goes a long way. I also recommend topping it with a splash of lemon juice and some cut up raw onions. its delicious!

  252. Mary Ann

    My house smells so great from making this and my meat and potato hubby is loving the look and scent of this. So yummy. Love your site so much.

  253. Made this tonight, along with Fennel Basmati rice, stewed kale, lentils, and hummus. The first time my mom and sis ever experienced Indian inspired food and they were IMPRESSED. Such a tasty recipe and I will keep this in my folder. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!

  254. Need your advice! Do you have a go to recipe for chicken tikka masala?
    I am completely obsessed with your site after coming across it about a week ago, about to make the lemon and cranberry scones! :)

  255. Kristina

    Wow. This recipe is so great! I’ve made it several times. I was able to locate an Indian grocery very close to home and nearly had a conniption when I found amchur powder. I mean, the whole store did that to me, but the amchur powder esp. Do try to get some, it really does something great to this dish that the lemon juice can’t do on its own. Takes it to whole ‘nother level.

    And btw this is excellent with dilled yogurt cheese (just strained whole milk plain yogurt with salt and dill).

  256. Jennifer

    Yum! Easy, quick and, being that I already had all the spices on hand, a terrific pantry meal! Full of flavor, nice heat – I am often disappointed with curry dishes that smell amazing but don’t taste so great. This one is terrific!

  257. AZA

    I just wonder…why is cumin 2x on the list of ingredients?
    i mean…
    2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
    AND
    2 teaspoons ground cumin ???
    Wouldnt it be easier just add 4 toasted and ground teaspoons of cumin seeds?
    Thanks

  258. Homer

    Hello, I make channa masala almost the same way as you listed – with the following modifications. Thought I’d share them!

    1) I saute finely chopped garlic and ginger first in a little bit of oil before adding the onions. This mellows and changes the flavour wonderfully. You can also add a 1/4 teaspoon of asafoetida at this point to the oil
    2) After adding tomatoes, I cook the mixture with the onions and other spices very well until it is close to dryness and is close to oozing out oil. Cook on a slow flame to avoid burning your mixture. This ensures a more homogeneous sauce, and one where the spices do not taste raw.
    3) I make sure that the chickpeas are very well cooked (they should be easily crush-able with a light squeeze of two fingers) before adding them to the water and the sauce prepared above. A power user tip is to add some tea leaves (any normal tea leaf, such as Ceylon, orange pekoe, whatever) and some dried “amla” (Indian gooseberry – available at any ethnic Indian store) in a little cheesecloth pouch and put it in the pot while boiling the soaked chickpeas. Discard the leaves once you’re done, before cooking the chickpeas in the sauce. They will add a deep brown/red colour to your chickpeas and a hint of unique sourness – most good Indian restaurants do this!
    4) Adding some chopped cilantro at the end, immediately before serving, will add an extra punch of flavor.

  259. bell

    This turned out really nicely. I made a fig batch and put it in the fridge, hoping that my family would heat it up and have some nice meals during the week. No such luck. It disappeared in the blink of an eye – thanks Deb!

  260. Allie Pyper

    I made this and it turned out amazing! So did the spiced cauliflower and potatoes and the raita, definitely a winner!

  261. Courtney C

    Yummmm we absolutely loved this recipe!! We just had it last night again for left overs with a cucumber raita on the side and grilled tortillas (we didn’t have any Naan) and I just know it’s going to be a good staple. My husband isn’t the biggest fan of vegetarian meals but this is just so hearty! I also love that this can be a pantry meal mostly if you haven’t been to the grocery store in awhile. I threw fresh cilantro in at the end (we are cilantro fanatics) but other than that I made it true to your recipe. Thanks again!!

  262. This looks like a great recipe for chole/chana. I have my own favorite that uses a yogurt sauce but I’ll definitely have to give this a try. I completely agree on investing in the Indian spices! So many people are afraid of Indian cooking because of the spices and they think they can make a dish with less spices. But it’s all the great spices which give it that amazing taste. I’m so glad to see you trying Indian food! Thanks for sharing.

  263. Sarah J.

    Courtney C.-I just made this recipe today, and had also thrown in some cilantro, as well as some fennel seed. Since I use Minute Made lemon juice (found in the frozen juice section of your grocery), I opted to use half the lemon Deb listed after tasting it before the final stir in of salt and lemon and it was plenty sour, and I love a tangy bite to my food. I had been mulling over how to incorporate yogurt into the recipe, as I had a large container just sitting in the fridge. When I eat the leftovers tomorrow, I plan to copy your idea of a cucumber raita to accompany it. Thanks for the idea!

  264. Kimberly

    Yum!! I am making this for the second time. The first time, I did it stove top and it was fantastic. This time, I am trying it in the crock pot. I cooked the garbanzos last night in the crock pot and drained and rinsed them this morning and put the masala together this afternoon to cook for 5 hours in the crock pot.

    For the person who mentioned adding yogurt, you can add a few tbsp. of yogurt or cream to mellow it out. The yogurt will add a bit of tart flavor.

  265. Lauren

    So excited about this recipe, thank you! New Yorkers – Dual Specialty Store on 1st and 6th is the best place to get your spices. Super NY affordable, and a hidden gem if you ask me. :) – Lauren

  266. Sonia

    In one of the earlier comments, her husband was allergic to tomatoes, and was looking for a substitube…you can use yogurt in place of tomatoes…work the same!

  267. littleG

    It’s really great to see that some of you guys have mastered the art of cooking channa masala and have still kept the taste from it’s Indian ingredients. Enjoy!!

  268. Raphaelle

    So, I made this chana masala today, and it was indeed a tasty dish.

    I ran into a problem, however – when I added the spices to the pan, everyone in my house went into absurdly lengthy coughing fits, including those who were nowhere near the kitchen. So, what did I do wrong and how do I avoid inadvertently murdering my roommates in the future?

  269. Anne

    Raphaelle, my guess is that the cayenne you’re using is really hot (sometimes when I’m cooking with it it can be sinus clearing) and they’re responding to that, I’d try adding it when you add the water instead.

    Thanks for the recipe it turned out really well!

  270. Julie

    Made this tonight and am enjoying as we speak…. I made it exactly to the recipe (which I rarely do!) and it was perfect. I am a major indian-food lover and I thought this was delicious just as is! Will definitely be making again! (served with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro – makes much of the indian food I make at home “pop” in my opinion!)

  271. Morgan

    I just had this for dinner. Again. I threw a couple dinner options out to my husband, and he voted for this one. Just so you know, last time I made this (though I didn’t measure the spices, I tend to eyeball things) I gave some to a coworker who was celebrating Diwali, Indian New Year. She told me I make better Chana than she does. ;)

    As for the spiciness, I use whichever peppers I have on hand. Last time it was a single jalapeno. Far tamer than we usually go. This time it was 2 chilis, because “look, they’re so small!”

    Oh, and you got a mention on my Facebook wall tonight while I was in the midst of masala induced foodgasms: “Deb from Smittenkitchen is my goddess.”

  272. Freek

    I make this recipe regularly but after just getting a set of measuring spoons (and googling some after seeing how big they are) it turns out your american teaspoons are a whole 5 ml :o i estimate what i have been using was maybe 2.5 (official teaspoons in dutch recipes are defined as 3 ml but i just gambled something with a normal teaspoon before) – it’s gonna be weird if i make it again with the correct amounts.. i’m especially afraid it will be too much cumin… cumin can be a bit ‘grainy’ for me sometimes..

  273. Freek

    Tried it with the given amounts of spices, and it’s not that it’s too strongly spiced now, but the structure is not as nice anymore.. too grainy..

  274. oooooooooooohhh my, this was wonderful. i just had to post it on my blog, fregetariantimes.com. thanks so much for the delightfully spicy, garlicy, oniony, rich inspiration! mmmmmmmm mmmmm.

  275. siwaa

    Quite good – although I had to simmer it for at least an hour to soften the chick peas (used canned). Will definitely make it again but will increase the amt. of spices – missing just a bit of taste.

  276. Gary

    Someone, i believe craig on line 276-ish asked how long this will keep for in the refrigerator. No one had answered and i was wondering if anyone had any experiance with the refrigeration life of this.

    1. deb

      Hi Gary — I would expect it to keep for several days. I’d reheat it gently on the stove, possibly with a splash of water if it looks like the chickpeas had “drank” much of the sauce in the resting time.

  277. AllieIsSuperAwesome

    Hi! I just made this tonight for myself and my husband and it was AWESOME! I’m trying to serve one dinner a week that is completely vegan, and this fit the bill perfectly! I served it with coconut rice (which, if you haven’t tried it yet, you MUST! It was a bit of a revelation for me, actually). I got the coconut rice recipe (if you can call 4-ish ingredients a recipe) from a blog called Budget Bytes. I’m sure if you Google it, you can find it. Thanks so much for the flavorful, vegan recipe!

  278. cs

    Finally I made this and wish I made it sooner. It was lovely. I garnished with chopped sweet onion and cilantro and served over basmati rice w/garlic naan. I preferred it without the rice and with naan for a second helping. My fresh tomatoes were lackluster so I added a squeeze of ketchup as another blogger recommended. I think that the additional time on low heat between first serving and second that the flavors developed further. I’m betting that leftovers will be even better. Next time I will cook closer to 45 mins. Loved it. I may also try starting with dried beans rather than canned.

  279. raj

    i’m so happy about this recipe and couldn’t agree more with more tomatoes than Jaffrey calls for. i substituted about a half teaspoon of lime zest (not juice) for the amchur and added a bunch of fresh spinach leaves in the last two minutes (they wilt quickly and don’t change the dish’s flavor…just doing it for the greens). i will use dried beans next time as it’s so hard to rinse away that oddly sour canned chickpea taste. thank you!

  280. missbee

    I have to say that I love Chana Masala. My question is: How on earth do you expect to brown the onion-garlic-giner-hot pepper mixture in five minutes? Any decent curry caramelizes over a very long time, at least 20 minutes depending on the size of the veg. I minced mine, as in your recipe, but to properly develop flavors you need to go low and slow. Just saying. I made this tonight and I’ve sautéed the veg for almost 30 minutes until it was caramelizing. Simmering longer at the end as well to break down the tomato. Five minutes would not give the color you show in your photos.

  281. Evie19

    I just tried this recipe, it’s excellent! It will become a part of my weekly repertoire.
    I made mine extra hot and increased the tomatoes and spices.

    Indian recipes make legumes/beans/veggies so much more fun to eat.

  282. Jenny

    HELP! What am I doing wrong? I cooked my dried chickpeas for hours, set in cold water in the fridge overnight…still not soft so I put them in my Chana Masala sauce for four hours today. They were edible but not perfect. Regardless, it was delicious. Thoughts? I would like to start using dried beans. What am I missing?

    1. deb

      They might have been older or stale beans? Hard for me to say from here, but those are usually the ones that either take forever to get soft or really never do.

  283. Ken

    I’m confused by the cumin specifications. The ingredients list calls for 2 tsp. of ground cumin, and 2 tsp. of cumin seeds (toasted and ground). I’m curious as to why both pre-ground and freshly-ground cumin are called for. Is some special flavor imparted that way? Would it work just as well to use 4 tsp. of toasted & ground cumin seeds?

  284. Jenny

    This has become a staple in my house…delicious! It is worth a trip to your local Indian market for the amchoor. Oh and make sure you make the Indian-spiced potatoes mentioned above. Amazing Indian meal. Thank you!

  285. Jena

    Made this for lunches this week and its fantastic and so easy! My husband has already requested that I make this for a carry in at his work next week. Thank you for once again providing a great recipe. Can’t wait for your cookbook!

  286. Amy

    Had this for lunch at Wegmans today & can’t wait to make it. So excited to see that I have almost all of the spices on hand already! Thanks so much!!!

  287. Shilpa

    Here’s a north Indian pro-tip that will take your chana masala over the top good: when you’re boiling/cooking your chickpeas, throw in a mesh bag with a couple teaspoons of Indian black tea-leaves (or just put in a tea-bag). Fish the tea-bag out when the peas are cooked, and just use the regular recipe from thereon. The tea-leaves impart a crazy-good earthy flavor to the chana!

  288. Tina E.

    Hello!

    So I made this last night and it turned out great! Not as good as what I get at my neighborhood Indian place but for homemade, this was top notch. I did not add cumin seeds or amchoor powder but the flavor was great all the same. The only thing I noticed was that it was missing a some depth, maybe I need to simmer this a while longer or maybe next time I’ll add some tomato paste to see how it turns out. I just wanted to thank you for this super easy recipe, we love Indian food so being able to make quasi Indian food at home is great!

  289. Morgan

    I gave my mom a copy of the recipe, and a bag with all the spices, because there was no way she’d be able to get garam masala, much less the amchoor.

    Now I’m under orders to buy her a bag of amchoor. She and my dad LOVED it. :)

  290. amy

    made this yesterday to go with some Oasis Naan that I was making for my “baking with Julia” project. It was delicious, and so easy! can’t wait to eat the leftovers for dinner tonight

  291. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for this recipe and for the exact measurements. I have made this dish three times now and it turns out perfectly each time.

  292. Swati

    I recently started following your blog and have to say I love it! I am Indian and have to say that your recipe is exact. Just some tips – instead of amchoor you can always add dried and ground pomegranate seeds ( anardana) tastes lovely. Also one tying that helps in thickening the curry ( if you only want to eat it with bread) is by taking a tablespoon of cooked chickpeas and smashing them with a spoon and then adding them back to the gravy. Don’t know if someone has mentioned these earlier ur due f to thru all the comments

  293. Meg

    This recipe has become a part of my rotation. Of course, my boyfriend never knows what it’s actually called, but loves it so much. Sometimes I throw in some cauliflower just to make it go a little further. So good!

  294. Tony

    So I made this, and between the lemon and the tomato it’s pretty “tart”, is there a way to tone that down a bit. It’s interesting, but tastes nothing like channa masala.

  295. Sarah

    This recipe is excellent! I’ve made this recipe a few times now and I made a few modifications that worked better for me :) I soaked the chickpeas overnight and then cooked them on low in the crockpot while I was at work. I also blended the gravy before adding the chickpeas- just a texture thing. I also added 2 bay leaves and about a tablespoon of kasuri methi leaves. Also, I’d recommend using Kashmiri Chili Powder rather than generic paprika; better color and flavor. This is hands down the best channa masala recipe I’ve found online, and I’ve tried several! Please post more Indian recipes!! :)

  296. Robin

    This recipe along with the cauliflower/potatoes and the yellow daal are absolutely and totally perfect recipes. I have used them numerous times and they are always great. Thank you for these~ my family loves them!

  297. Jori

    Amazing! Made this a few months ago for the first time without the amchoor powder, subbing in lemon juice. Thought is was fantastic then and definitely my favorite (& husband’s favorite) attempt at chana masala so far. That was until last night. Add amchoor powder and a hotter-than-jalapeno pepper found at the Indian store… !!!! Even I had a hard time believing it wasn’t fresh from our favorite local Indian place. Oh, Costco-quantities-of-chickpeas… you have something wonderful to look forward to! Thank you, Deb! I second Sarah’s comment… more Indian recipes, please! Any in the cookbook?

  298. Jenna

    Hi Deb and anyone else wondering about this turning out in the crock pot/slow cooker. I read comments 245 and 247 about the acidity concerns of doing this in the crock pot with dried chickpeas, but I figured it’s such a cheap meal I’d take the risk. (and I already had another meal for dinner so if it was a bust I was covered). I followed the recipe almost all the way through – browning the onions, adding the spices, and then adding the tomatoes (I used 2 cups fresh romas with about 1/2 cup tomato sauce). Simmered it for a couple minutes, then threw it in the crockpot with 1 3/4 cups dry chickpeas and increased the water to 3 3/4 cups. I DID add about 1 tsp baking soda, since that’s what I always do when making dried beans in the crock pot because I used to get hard beans but don’t anymore with the baking soda. I didn’t know if it would affect the taste or if it would help. Mixed everything up, set it to high and let it cook for 3 hours (which is what it normally takes to get my chickpeas soft when they’re by themselves). I added about 2tsp salt and the lemon juice after it had finished cooking.

    It turned out great and I will be making it this way from now on! I was so happy the chickpeas softened. I’ve made this recipe on the stovetop about 5 times before, and in the crockpot the flavors had a chance to meld and my tomatoes broke down more. I know it’s been a couple of years since the comments about using the crockpot were posted, but just thought I’d leave an update in case anyone else is wondering! Thank you for this awesome recipe! It’s one of our favorites!

  299. Theresa

    I recommend adding a small can of tomatoe sauce as it makes it more saucy which is the way we like it. This is a great recipe. Thanks.

  300. Ann

    INSANELY GOOD!
    accidentally put in 1 tsp instead of 1/2 tsp cayenne…. and 1 tsp of mango chutney when served…..absolutely fantastically delicious!

  301. Jenny

    Just okay. I put in everything but the amchoor powder and it tasted like just another average attempt at Indian food. I’m a huge fan of Madhur Jaffrey, but I felt the same way with her chickpea recipe in The Curry Bible. Still, I will buy amchoor powder and try it again, caramelizing the onions more and adding more green chili.

  302. rebecca

    I loved this recipe. I added a few drops of mint extract for a little extra zing. I also didn’t have whole cumin seeds (doh!) so I upped the ground cumin. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. Quite tasty!

  303. Kamasutra

    For great Indian food in NYC, try the Tiffin Wallah on 28th st- it’s mostly vegan too ! I used to live in the EV and most restaurants on 6th street are very low-end and their food is greasy and not very good.

  304. Rachel

    Don’t tell my mother-in-law, but I just used your recipe and it’s delicious. Hers is too, of course, but I couldn’t remember it. Thank goodness for google!

  305. Lori

    Today we creatively blended three recipes including yours as described above into a Chickpea Masala Spinach Salad. We made your recipe yesterday and had some left over so today we mixed it with a bag of baby spinach, a bag of Uncle Ben’s Basmati Rice (precooked), 4 oz toasted almond slivers, 1/2 cup of dried cranberries, 1/4 cup of blue cheese, and then to top it off add a 1/4 cup of a lime Cilantro Vinaigrette that you can find here ( http://m.myrecipes.com/details/searchR.rbml?id=10000000384479.xml&bcat=search&cat=Search+Result&fl=recipe%2Fcilantro-lime-vinaigrette-10000000384479%2F ) . Thank you for sharing your recipe. It’s definitely one we will cook again.

  306. Tricia

    Added about 1/4 tsp. mustard seeds and a 10 oz bag of fresh spinach and… oh, my! I let the mustard seeds and cumin seeds toast till the mustard seeds started to pop, then added the onion and proceeded per the recipe. My husband asked if this might be adapted for vegan guests and I realized it was already vegan. Thanks for another delicious recipe that lends itself to tweaking for those of us who can’t help ourselves!

  307. Sasha

    Madhur Jaffrey and Smitten Kitchen, can’t go wrong! I made this for a curry potluck and it was fantastic. A few tweaks: added salt with the spices. The more time salt gets to cook the better. It might be better to add the grated ginger at the end of cooking the onions, especially for us because we don’t have a proper ginger grater so we used a zester… that ginger tended to burn on the bottom of the pan, and therefore the onions were slightly undercooked. Spices needed more oil and/or water. Would rather have cooked the chickpeas for longer… though I often am convinced that legumes ought to be more tender than they are. Tasted so delicious!

  308. Damian

    Tried this last night. It was really amazing! I doubled the recipe so I can have extra and take some to work the next day! I didn’t use a chili but a good amount of cayenne and a little extra garlic. Wife and I didn’t leave anything on our plates!

  309. Zach

    Used a few squirts of rooster sauce since we didn’t have any peppers. Turns out I could have skipped it altogether since my god this is spicy. Yes, I’m a wuss, but “intensely spiced” is an understatement!
    Sinuses are now very, very clear.

  310. Sweta

    I tried making this to compare with my mother’s own chana, and let me tell you, she was impressed! Although I’ll have to be a good daughter and say my mom’s chhole (what we call it) is still my favorite, this is a fantastic recipe.

  311. This was delicious, but it was also probably the spiciest thing I’ve ever cooked (maybe a wimp, but seriously!). We added some sour cream to cut the spice, but the sourness was great with the flavor as well. Perhaps another substitute for amchoor powder?

  312. Alexa

    Made this tonight after tracking down some amchoor powder (spelled amchur where I bought it) and I have to say, I am mighty proud of myself for making my first Indian dish and it coming out so delicious! It has always seemed so daunting but come to find out its pretty easy! Thanks for the recipe!

  313. jeff

    Thanks for the recipe! Made it tonight and it was delicious! Forgot to add the ginger somehow, but it still tasted great. Thanks again!

  314. Jane

    Yum. Just thought I’d mention that I am eating this for the fourth (fifth?) meal this long weekend. I cannot get tired of it. delish.

  315. Hi! I made this for dinner tonight. I had sampled a taste here and there throughout and that last minute addition of lemon juice (I didn’t have Amchoor) was really the key. I’ve made Chana Masala before but hadn’t included acid (apart from the tomatoes) in it and it was, as you described, missing something. Your recipe was delicious! I agree with the other posters that it was spicy, but I like it a lot that way and the sour citrus cuts the spice. It was delicious heat that didn’t stay with me long after I finished. I did sub a jalapeno for a green chile pepper so mine may have been a little less spicy than everyone else’s. I also used butter instead of oil, as I think it goes well with Indian flavors. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll definitely make this again.

  316. Samantha

    I am the only one saying this I’m sure. But I’m sorry this just wasn’t very good. The lemon made it take the wrong turn and I feel it needed a sweet element. I love your pictures and full explanation however. Your directions were clear and easy to follow! Thanks for the try :)

  317. Jeni Pandey

    This recipe is not a true assessment of Channa Masala. It lacks taste and a proper Indian spice palette, if spices are not used correctly.

  318. Laurel

    Costco used to carry the Tasty Bite pouches of Chana Masala and I used them often for lunch at work. Then Costco stopped carrying the product. After a month I just couldn’t stand it anymore and did a google search for the recipe. There was your website and recipe. I should have expected it.Thanks very much. Smitten Kitchen has never let me down!

  319. One of my favorite Indian dishes is Punjabi style Chole – a high protein classic recipe with heady flavors. I love the texture and the combination of spices that go into its making. The addition of one of my favorite flavors, anardana, adds a tangy punch to the nuttiness of chickpeas. This recipe is adapted from Anita’s famous Punjabi Chole. Goes great with Bhatura, puri or rice.

  320. Emily

    I’ve made this several times before and loved it, but always left the chili pepper out because I’m a complete wuss. I just made this for dinner and got brave and included the chili pepper, and *surprise* it’s completely different meal but absolutely delicious. Thanks for the wonderful and easy recipe!

  321. Denise

    Thank you! I’ve been looking for a chana masala recipe worth making again and I finally found it here! I found amchoor powder at the halal store so I used that. I used your spices and a cooking technique from another site and put the two together. My Pakistani husband liked this recipe much.

  322. Stuart

    Mmm, yum-ball. Family really liked it too. Used dried chickpeas cooked in a pressure cooker, with husks on for added fibre. Also grated 1/2 a frozen lemon (u gotta try it – always keep a lemon or two frozen in the freezer) a really nice lemony sour note. This is definitely a keeper!

  323. Jess

    This was a fantastic recipe! I’d recommend the tinned tomatoes if you don’t have access to very ripe juicy ones. When you’re prepping it’ll seem like a lot of onions, but go with it! I’ll definitely be making this again!

  324. Erin

    When I don’t have amchoor, I add finely diced preserved lemon and extra fresh lemon or lime juice. Although preserved lemons aren’t usually used in Indian cooking, they give dishes like this that thing that is often “missing” when you make them at home.

  325. Ashley

    YUMMY! I just made this tonight and it was exactly what I needed! I recently moved from California where we had every type of restaurant possible in my town to Michigan where we have well, Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebees. So from this Indian food loving vegetarian to you, THANK YOU!!!! I had been craving masala (as it was one of my favorite dishes) and your recipe delivered! Much appreciated.

  326. Nina

    Made this last night – I used a can of diced tomatoes to save time (make sure to get the brand that dices them very small) – I found that the raw ingredients did not fuse together and were still too distinct once the cooking process was done, so I put the pot on very low & let it sit covered for about an hour (no boiling, just slight movement in the pot), put it in the fridge, took it out this morning & it was heaven. I’m a fan of foods I can make the night before when the family is asleep, this is a very easy, incredibly delicious & totally worth it recipe.

  327. Sara

    Made this without the amchoor powder a few weeks ago, and again today, this time with the amchoor powder, both times it turned out wonderful, but I deffinitly like the extra flavor the amchoor adds.

  328. Hi Deb, I have been an SK reader for a while and have made strawberry shortcake scones as well inspired from here. But I was quite stumped to see Chana Masala from SK in google (I was searching for my chana masala recipe ranking in google pages) and it made me read through over 400 comments. I am amazed to realize that there are so many lovers of Indian food as it is generally perceived – spicy, heavy on stomach, etc. I am totally stumped!!

    I am also glad to know that there are many who realize that not only home-cooked Indian food is healthy but pocket-friendly too.

    Since I saw lot of discussion on amchoor (dry mango powder) on this recipe, I thought I might introduce another flavor here for chana masala – using dry pomegranate seeds. It lends the sour and tangy taste and at the same time it leaves the rustic looking and beautiful dark color. That’s how my mother makes it. She uses only 1-2 tomatoes.

    Oh and by the by I did read the ‘Comment Guidelines before chiming in’ and I hope I’ve not violated them :)

  329. I have one more suggestion to improve taste which we use in southern part of India..

    Fry some minced coconut till it becomes light brown and use it for seasoning. This will give an added flavour and taste.

  330. Chris Simha

    This is fairly close to a recipe I’ve developed with trial and error (though I use organic lime instead of lemon). I have an additional ingredient/variation you may want to try… I substitute the traditional ingredient of spinach in some variations with kale. Add toward the end, or before re-heating to serve (enough to wilt and make more digestible). I enjoy this addition as do many of my friends!

  331. Matt

    Okay. This is silly. But the recipe calls for a large skillet while the pictures show a large saucepan. Is it better to use one or the other or does it not really matter? I would prefer the sauce pan because less splatter-splatter.

    Or are you maybe supposed to transfer from skillet to sauce pan? I suppose that could be an option, too…

    Thanks!

    1. deb

      Matt — I actually don’t have the correct-sized skillet so I use a 12-inch saucepan with sides that are about 2 inches taller than a skillet. You can use either but a large surface area for sauteing (i.e. a wide saucepan) is best.

  332. Selim

    Great recipe which I am now going to try out. I have not been cooking Indian food long and I always find ‘garam masala’ like a big mysterious hole in any recipe containing it since there are dozens if not hundreds of recipes for this spice mixture which can vary greatly in terms of constituents, quantities and therefore flavour. What do you mean by ‘garam masala’ here? Are you buying it ready mixed or mixing it yourself? In either case, what are the ingredients and quantities? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Pre-mixed and I don’t have the ingredient list anymore. I wouldn’t stress over which one you use; use one you like. In the end, you need to like the taste of this dish.

  333. nikki

    I’ve made this twice now and I love it! I must say it’s good when it’s first cooked, but I find I like it even more the next day. All the flavor settles down into the garbanzos and it’s simply heaven. I think the amchoor powder is great, new secret ingredient.

  334. Rebecca

    Haven’t read all the comments, so forgive any repetition! I adapted this for a slow cooker by cooking the onion and spices as directed (I know those spices gotta get all happy and toasty together!) and then throwing the whole shebang, plus dried chickpeas, in the crock. Smells great already!
    As someone mentioned above, I added a bit of my favorite MDH-brand chana masala spice (their garam masala is great too) and also used Israeli coffee spice from Pereg instead of ginger, as I had none.
    Thanks, Deb!!

  335. Kim

    This is excellent. My only change was to add extra tomatoes to get more of a one-pot meal. As a family, we never had food like this so we had “Indian night” with naan and hummus, which I am not sure are Indian, but they were that night. All of my kids (all age 6 and under) ate it and loved it. My son (age 4) calls it “Chana My Salad.” Thank you for this excellent recipe. And it freezes well. And it is better day 2, after the flavor from the spices meld.

  336. Tim

    I’ve made this recipe a few times. I love the spiciness and sourness as the recipe is given here — it gets me sweating — but I toned it down for a party recently, doubling everything in the recipe except for the spices, and people loved it.

  337. Treacle Pie

    I’m not prone to commenting on such things, but I felt that as I have been making this chana masala for 4 years I should at least have the courtesy of saying thank you. It is a total favourite and I send friends and strangers alike to your blog citing this as the best recipe on it (except I read about your chocolate banana bread today which looks pretty awesome. I rue my gluten intolerance afresh!!)

  338. Kayla

    Yay! I married a Nepalese man having never really tried Indian food (which is basically the same as Nepalese food, he tells me) mainly because we live in deep east texas and Indian restaurants fail in the boonies. But we happened across a restaurant on our honeymoon and I absolutely fell in LOVE with Indian food. Unfortunately the closest acceptable Indian restaurant is an hour away. So I’ve been trying to learn as many recipes as possible. His favorite dish is chana masala, but I haven’t found a good recipe for it yet. I’m trying this one tonight! Thank you!

  339. Stephanie

    Hi Deb, this is so wonderful! I grew up in Sri Lanka and am getting married this August to a pretty fantastic Seattle boy who is equally as excited as I am to serve an indian dinner at our reception. Here is the kicker…I think we’re going to do all the cooking. Would you have a guess as to how many times I should multiply this recipe to feed 200ish people? Thanks!!

    1. deb

      Stephanie — 1. That’s awesome. 2. Whoa, I’d hardly know where to start. Well, a few ideas: First, make this as-is, make notes about anything you’d want to adjust. Then, figure out how many dishes you’re going to have. (I’ve been to Indian weddings, and I know a lot is served.) If this was half the meal (i.e. maybe everyone ate 1 to 1.5 cups of it), you’d need a lot more of it rather than if it were one of six or eight dishes (where everyone might be taking about 1/3 cup). And then, maybe this is the hugest cop-out, but I bet, someone in your family has scaled dishes for weddings before and might be able to make suggestions. I hope that helps.

  340. Allie

    My sister made this for me the other week and I have been CRAVING it since! I made it tonight for my husband and four year old daughter – we all had seconds! I didn’t have cumin seeds or garam masala but I was still determined to make it and it came out perfect! I dialed down the heat a little since I was serving it to my daughter but also added a bit of greek yogurt on hers to cool it down. We all loved it and it will be a go-to from now on :) Thanks!

  341. I picked up some ‘chana masala’ spice mix from the farmer’s market and was able to use the base recipe here with it! i only used 1 tbsp of it instead of the spices listed since i was testing it out. It turned out very nicely for my tastes.

  342. Tess

    I made this today, with amchoor powder, and it’s really lovely. I added butternut squash as well because it all started with the idea to make a butternut squash/chickpea curry.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  343. Aleks

    I stumbled upon your site a few months ago and absolutely love it! With this one I had to actively stop myself from eating the whole thing. Super delicious! And I may or may not (read: may) have made the smooth hummus three times this week. Chick pea heaven all around! Thank you so much :)

  344. immi

    Hey,
    You added cumin twice. Once regular and then once roasted and ground. Is that right? I just don’t want it overpowered with such a fragrant spice :/

  345. deb

    I did! It was suggested in the original recipe and I really liked it here. I think it’s less of an “added double” and more of a “use half from ground seeds and half powdered” because together they have such a more complex flavor. You can definitely just use one or the other if you’re nervous.

  346. Jennifer D

    Once again your site does not disappoint! I made this last night and it was a total hit. Loved the spices, most I had on hand; even managed to heat the spices before adding them in. I can’t handle too much heat so I only used 1/2 of the green chili and 1/2 of the cayenne. I also used the juice of one small lemon as my International store did not have the amchoor powder. I did purchase jarred whole cherry tomatoes from that store and just crushed them by hand instead of chopping them. Last, the final piece de resistance, I blended the left overs into hummus! I added a bit of the juice from the canned garbanzos and added a handful more (with pinched off skins). Thank you!

  347. Lisa

    I have been wanting to make this recipe for awhile and finally did. Yum! I halved the recipe using one can of chickpeas and it came out great. I added a half tsp of nigella seeds, 1 tsp of cumin seeds, and 1/4 tsp of asafoetida to the initial sauté with the onions. I omitted the chili and cayenne and opted for freshly cracked black pepper instead. I mashed a few chickpeas at the end to thicken the sauce, added a touch of sugar and topped it with some chopped parsley….I was out of fresh cilantro! We ate it over brown basmati rice. So good especially on a chilly fall evening like tonight. Thanks!

  348. Andrew

    This came recommended from a friend so I had a go last night. We had most of the spices except the cumin seeds and the amchoor powder. Substituted a few chopped sun dried tomatoes as I couldn’t find a tin (so when I looked at the food.com site version this morning I was interested to see they used fewer tomatoes anyway). Had to use some wine vinegar and some white wine for the sour too. I used one tin of chic peas, but kept all the spices as written. Made a perfect serving for the two of us, although I think we would both have eaten more if it was available.

    The result: the best Indian style curry I can remember making! I had never realized that sour was the key! I’ll be making more of this for sure, and filling in the spice gaps.

    Thanks ever so much.

    cheers,
    Andrew

  349. ccbath

    I agree with your previous writers, I have made this Jaffrey recipe before but modified it with some tamarind rather than the amchoor (which I have never seen in a UK shop). I should add that tamarind does vary, but I now buy the jars of tamarind which means that I don’t need to soak the paste or take out seeds and fibre. It isn’t quite as sour as “real” tamarind but you can add it to taste once the dish is cooked.

  350. Nicole

    Great recipe! A little toooo sour for me, but i think it was maybe due to the size of the lemon I used. I bought organic as well, so it might have been especially tart. To mellow out the dish I spooned in a couple tablespoon of butter and it did the trick and added a nice little bit of richness! Highly recommend. Thanks!

  351. Lisa

    YUM! One question – I do use dried chickpeas, soaked overnight…and I just can’t seem to get them cooked soft. Not total mush, but I keep ending up at “al dente” and even adding water & boiling a while longer doesn’t seem to help. Any suggestions? This is with both the desi & standard chickpeas btw – I understand they have different textures, but this is more like “not quite done” rice!

    1. deb

      Lisa — Are they old? Where are you getting them? How are they packaged? A lot of grocery stores sell dried beans in deli containers that have a plastic ring around them; I’m not crazy about the quality, usually, I don’t think these types of containers protect from air/getting stale.

  352. Lisa

    They were just in a (sealed) plastic bag, at a local Indian food store. The store seems to do a pretty brisk business, so I expect they were fresh then…but *I* put them into a glass jar w/gasket and didn’t use them for a few months. So I think you are probably right about the freshness. Thank you (& sorry to ask something that’s so obvious!)!

  353. Jenn

    Made this this weekend-it is a super cheap, healthy, and nutritious dish. I threw in potatoes in mine to extend the dish a bit more. Next time I would put in a bit less cumin as the dish was bit too tart. I ended up fixing this problem by throwing in a dash of sugar (or if you have it handy, some tamarind chutney as i also did). Thanks for the recipe!

  354. Kim

    To say this was phenomenal would be a gross understatement. I’ve made chana masala many times before and it is always a disappointment. This was a home run! Served it with a blend of basmati and wild rice and homemade raita to cut the spice.

  355. Swetha Ram

    I’m Indian and I’m always looking up the perfect channa recipe… I’ve tried multiple and none of th compare to yours! Best one ever!!

  356. Deepa

    Lisa: Im answering ur question regarding the dried chickpeas..i hope Deb doesn’t mind.We can buy dried chickpeas and keep them for months..all you need to use them is to soak them overnight and then boil them..in India we pressure cook them for 2 whisles…just boiling them in a pan will take at least an hour..in a pressure cooker, barely 10 minutes. Its easier just to buy canned chickpeas if you dont have a cooker.

  357. I cook A LOT of Indian food and have several very awesome Indian cookbooks and this is still probably my all time favorite chickpea recipe. I make it exactly as written (except I never have amchoor so I used tamarind) and it is perfect. The whole family loves it. Thank you!

  358. Erika

    Whoa. So clearly people love this recipe as the thread is miles of thumb swipes down. Well, I’m no different!! First, who cares about a slow cooker when this thing comes together in less than 20 min!! I did make a huge batch of garbanzos, however; their flavor difference is night/day. I felt compelled to say ONE WHOLE LEMON totally makes the dish. Came alive. Curious about the amchoor! Made some homemade naan –super easy, BTW– and flipping my bubbly, charred bread was the only hold up preventing me from eating 21 minutes later. This is gonna be in regular winter rotation.

  359. Haylee

    I used to stick to a different chana masala recipe but wanted to try something new, and this one is delicious! I didn’t have amchoor so I used extra lemon like you suggested, and the tang really offsets the heat from the pepper and cayenne nicely. Speaking of which, all I had were red mexican peppers, so I’m not sure how much that changed the flavor, but it came out delicious nonetheless! I’m sure this would be ten times better with fresh tomatoes but alas, all I had were canned. Next time though!

  360. Purnima

    Hi Deb – great recipe and very authentic on the ingredients! It’s a little short on the time spent cooking the spice mixture, though, which can make your dish taste “raw”. We usually pop the cumin seeds in the hot oil, then saute the onions for a good 5-10 mins *before* adding the ginger and garlic and then saute again for a good 5-10 mins before adding the tomatoes, spice powders, etc. Then keep stirring and scraping, and cook down the tomato+onion spice mixture for another 5-10 minutes until you see the oil “separating” from the mixture. This is when you know it’s truly ready to add in the chickpeas and the water to cook it. And cooking your onion mixture until the oil separates is absolutely key to good choley or really any good Punjabi food!

  361. Bruce

    Amchoor should be added right at the end of cooking just before serving. Like citrus it’ll die if exposed to prolonged heat.

    I imagine sumac would work in place of amchoor, or even a dash of apple cider vinegar perhaps. But amchoor is a more one dimensional flavour than either of these… it’s just sour. So add any substitute gradually to taste.

  362. Laura

    I made this tonight and it was a huge hit. I added the tea bag, as some commenters suggested. I also topped each serving with a big dollop of plain greek yogurt (I assume sour cream would work too). It cooled the dish down a bit. My husband and I stirred our greek yogurt in, it gave it a thicker sauce and we loved it.

    Question: I just added black english breakfast tea. Is there a typical type of tea bag that is added when the dish simmers?

  363. Dema

    This recipe is quick, easy and satisfies my craving for Indian food when I do not want to make the trek across the city for the real thing. Very happy to have this as an option.

  364. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful recipe. It turned out wonderfully. I added some brown sugar, especially because the tomatoes were fresh and not canned. Also added ghee (clarified butter) at the very end, which really did the trick – imbuing it with rich depth.

    Thanks for sharing all your delicious recipes over the years!

  365. Deb, I made this last night along with your roasted cauliflower and potatoes and some storebought naan and it was SUCH a yum dinner. It takes just a touch longer to make all of this than ordering from our favorite take-out place but tasted way healthier. And our teeny UWS apartment smells divine! xoxo

  366. Kris

    This was fantastic. I made it and there was enough to share, and the lucky ones I gave some to just raved about how tasty it was. Thank you.

  367. Dee Dee

    OMG, I love this recipe so much! I made it 3 times and decided it was a staple in my house. Due to staying healthy, I put it over Brown basmati rice.

    I premeasured 10 ziplock snack bags with all of the spices measured out andlabeled it “Chana Marsala Spices” with a Sharpie pen written on the top! I soaked all of my dry chickpeas to ensure I keep cooked beans frozen in the freezer at 4 cups per bag!

    thank you so much!!!!!

  368. Mindy

    The best recipe ever!! My son loves Indian food so I made this on Sunday with a dal and it was great. He found the amchoor powder at a local Indian market at a very low cost for what will probably be a lifetime supply, and it added a wonderful sourness. Definitely worth the effort to find it.

  369. Skye

    This was a good rendition, but the paprika was overpowering. I’d suggest using a half-teaspoon unless you want it to taste decidedly more goulash than masala.

  370. Laurie

    Thankyouthankyouthankyou!! I was hunting for a South Indian-style chana recipe but didn’t want to have to go on a wild goose chase for the likes of curry leaf, Indian bay leaf, black AND green cardamom pods, asafoetida, etc. If this recipe is anywhere near as good as the red lentil & cabbage dal one (which I confess to tweaking with the addition of extra spices and a squeeze of lemon juice), I know it’ll be fantastic!