Easy Chana Masala Recipe

No, this isn’t an easy version of Chana Masala. As it turns out, the authentic version is easy all on its own!

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

 

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

I took my first stab at making Indian food just a few days ago. I was late to the Indian-food-love overall. I had my first taste (that I can remember at least) at age 27. Why I waited so long, I’ll never know. But I do know now that I indeed love Indian food.

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

After my love-at-first-taste experience with Indian food, I enjoyed eating it frequently. However, I dared not try making it on my own. Indian food seemed to me to be this exotic and impossible-to-reproduce food masterpiece. I thought it was best ordered at an authentic restaurant. But at the coaxing of one of my Indian friends, I finally gave her recipe a try. It was for one of my favorites – Chana Masala!

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

Indeed, it was delicious, wonderful, and the best part – incredibly simple to make. Or is the best part how insanely affordable this vegetarian dish (that my meat-loving husband enjoys) is? Either way…Hazzah! :)

Easy Chana Masala Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Talk about a 30 minute meal you’ll want to make ASAP. This easy recipe comes together in a cinch, uses few ingredients (but ok, lots of spices) and boasts an amazing and unique flavor. Chana Masala makes for a great (and easy-on-the-wallet) vegetarian main course or even side dish. Serve with rice and/or homemade naan (yes, homemade – it’s easy and really completes the meal)
Adapted from my friend Yamini’s recipe
*Vegetarian* *Vegan* (Possibly Gluten Free?)
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like your eats)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped, about ½ cup (or sub canned)
  • 1 – 1½ cup water
  • 2 15-ounce cans chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (should be available in most grocery stores)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper, if needed
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat a medium sauce pan to medium heat. Add oil to pan. Add onion and cook until onion is translucent and just browning, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute, or until garlic is fragrant.
  2. Stir in coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and salt.
  3. Stir in water and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender (or stand blender), blend tomato mixture until blended well. Add extra water, if needed.
  5. Add chick peas to tomato mixture and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Stir in garam masala and additional salt or pepper, to taste, if needed. Simmer chick peas and sauce for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve chana masala with rice and/or naan.
Notes
Serves 4 – But even if you’re only feeding less, make the whole batch – this makes for wonderful leftovers that re-heat great the next day.

If you have the time, homemade naan can’t be beaten. But, if you need a hand, Trader Joe’s has great frozen naan (tandoori and garlic) that heats up in only 1½ minutes in the oven.

Easy Chana Masala Recipe

Remember to check out this post for a link to a simple homemade naan recipe and video! It would go perfectly with this Easy Chana Masala Recipe. You can also buy naan at the store. I get mine from the frozen section at Trader Joe’s. I also recommend picking some up from your fave local Indian restaurant or trying the recipe out yourself. Don’t be a scaredy cat like me. Don’t fear the Indian cooking, embrace it! If I can do it, so can you! ;)

How old were you when you tried your first Indian food?

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Comments

  1. says

    I’ve only been cooking Indian food for a few months, but I’ve been loving it since I was 13! It really is a lot simpler than I anticipated, and you honestly only need to get a bunch of spices before you’re good to go.

    Thanks for the recipe and spreading the love of Indian food :)

  2. says

    Well apparently I am a LAME-O because I was 27 before I ever tried Indian food. Did you find the recipe to be very spicy? I have kids and well they complain as children tend to do! =)

    I can just pull back on the spices a bit if you think it will be too hot for them. Totally grabbinh naan at TJ’s tonight and making this over the weekend!

    • says

      I thought it was spicy in a flavor-way (not burns-your-tongue-spicy), but I bet you could cut the spices, like you said. Hope they like it!

      You could also try making it for yourself for lunch and giving them a “taste” to see if you should serve it for dinner sometime. :)

  3. says

    I’ve never tried Chana Masala, but it looks and sound so delicious!! I think i was 24 when I first tried Indian food. I loved it so much! But I haven’t really eaten it since then and I don’t know why – it’s so yummy and many of the dishes are prepped with very healthy ingredients. I might have to hit up a restaurant soon :)

  4. says

    I adore Chana Masala – it is one my favorite recipes! I actually made tried Indian food and made it for the first time last year! I was instantly hooked!

  5. says

    Thanks for the recipe, I’m going to make this tonight! I have been stockpiling tins of chickpeas for way too long so time to use them up!!

  6. Laura says

    What a delightful dish! I tried it tonight (including the naan) and it was a home run! Thanks for tasking the time to put this one out here for everyone to try.

  7. Kayla says

    Loved this recipe! So easy and it tasted so genuine. I feel like I just made traditional Indian! :)
    This is a great blog. I will check it out again.

  8. Leslie says

    I love Indian food, and yet have always been intimidated to cook it because of it’s seemingly complex flavor profiles. I had all but given up hope on making my own chana masala, until I stumbled upon your site . . .

    This is it: the perfect recipe that is easy to make and tastes like it came straight from an authentic Indian restaurant. My intimidation has instead become enthusiasm, and my craving has thus been sated.

    I followed this recipe step by step until the end; rather than leave them whole, I mashed the chick peas to expose the peas to the full-flavors. I then allowed the chana masala to sit for about an hour before reheating and eating it over a bed of organic quinoa. Absolute perfection. Perhaps next time I’ll make some vegan naan to accompany it.

    Thank you for helping me conquer what I thought was once impossible.

    (Now, if you come up with an easy vegan palak paneer recipe, I’ll have officially arrived in heaven.)

    Thanks, Diana! I look forward to making more of your vegan recipes.

  9. Janet says

    We were recently in Sunnyvale,CA and had THE BEST EVER Channa Masala at “The Spice Hut”. My family adores Indian food but I’m a relative newbie making it. I vowed to try,try and try again to find a recipe to replicate the one from “The Spice Hut”. I had tried a few Channa Masala recipes in the past but they didn’t cut it. This recipe is SUPERB. We love it! Thank you so much for making my search so very easy. It rocks!

    • says

      Hi Janet, I’m so happy to hear that this recipe fit what you were looking for! :) If I’m ever in Sunnyvale, I’ll have to check out the Spice Hut. It sounds like a great restaurant.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Diana

  10. maerong says

    Hi Diana,

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I am actually writing about myths about Indian food and would love to share this article if you don’t mind.

    P.S. I just started liking corgis since my best friend has one. I was afraid of dogs for so many years!

  11. KittyS says

    I was raised on Indian food…while most children were obediently eating their porridge, I was eating daal and rice! I have never made it though…my Ma makes the best and I fully admit that I am spoilt!! However I will be giving this a try. If its a success, maybe I will make dinner for my parents!

  12. Seattle Steve says

    Just made this exactly as described. I’m a little torn, because it’s easy and does taste awesome. Just doesn’t taste like the chana masala from my favorite Indian place. (More tomato/acid maybe?) Ah well, thank a lot for posting this as it really is tasty!

    • says

      Hi Steve! Glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe, even though it wasn’t exactly what you were hoping for. I encourage you to keep tinkering with the recipe until you can get it to taste like your favorite Indian place. That’s one of my favorite things to do with recipes! Happy cooking!

  13. Erica says

    Hi,

    I just wanted to thank you for posting your Chana Masala Recipe. I love Chana Masala and I was craving it tonight but have never made it. I will try this recipe tonight, as I’m definitely looking forward to it.

    Thank you so much and blessings always,
    Erica

  14. Chloe says

    Hi. My husband is North Indian (Punjab region) where this dish is from and I have made chana masala before but it’s got so many ingredients that it took forever. This is easy and still tastes great although nothing can beat my mother in laws chana masala. It also goes well with rice roti or chapati. Thankyou. Will def be making it again.

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