I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve gone for years without a solid Chana Masala recipe. I’ve had an ok-ish recipe in my repertoire that I’ve made a few times, but it’s reliant on canned tomatoes and it just doesn’t hit that oh-so-perfectly balanced spot of sweet, salty, and sour. It just wasn’t a recipe I really wanted to make that often because it was so “meh.” (And let’s be real, I get my chana masala fix often enough at the local Indian restaurants).
But, since my restaurant attendance lately is effectively zilch, I was having an intense craving, and therefore committed myself to the mission of developing my own Chana Masala recipe.
And guys, this one does NOT disappoint.
I obviously cannot really take credit for the recipe development, though. The Indian subcontinent has been making this dish for eons. But in my search a lot of the recipes I found call for pre-packaged “chana masala powder” and that’s a) not how I roll and b) it’s quaratine, so I’m not about to be making specialty grocery store trips right now (no matter how hard that is for my soul).
Therefore I researched and figured out how to make my own chana masala powder in bulk (because I intend to make this on repeat, but if you are not as committed to Indian food home cooking as I am, I include a recipe for the spice blend for one recipe).
Most of these spices are easy to find, except possibly the amchoor powder. All Indian grocers should have amchoor powder, and you can definitely locate it online, i.e. here or here. I really don’t recommend a substitution. Amchoor is basically a dried sour mango powder, and is a flavoring you’ll be familiar with if you’re an Indian food fan – its very common in chaats and of course in the classic Chana Masala!
Classic accompaniments are lime wedges (and yes, I squeeze lime juice generously… I am a sour flavor fiend!), and red onion slices. Cilantro/coriander leaves are also traditional, but we didn’t have any because… quarantine…
I think you’ll seriously enjoy this one! Dave and I could not stop eating it. Happy cooking!
Chana MasalaCourse: MainCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
2 15 oz. cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, diced small
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (or about 2 inch piece of ginger and 3-4 garlic cloves grated on microplane grater)
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons of channa masala powder (see below)
Salt, to taste
Red onion, sliced, and lime wedges for serving
- Chana Masala powder (for 1 recipe – makes 2 tablespoons)
1/2 tablespoon kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 tablespoon amchoor powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- To make Chana Masala powder (bulk – enough for about 6 recipes)
3 tablespoons kashmiri chili powder
3 tablespoons coriander powder
3 tablespoons amchoor powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large heavy bottom pot, add oil and onions and saute over medium heat until onions become soft and lightly browned.
- Add ginger garlic paste, and saute for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to preventing burning.
- Add diced tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of chana masala powder and season generously with salt.
- Saute curry mixture until tomatoes disintegrate and the oil begins to separate from the mixture.
- Add chickpeas and stir briefly to coat. Add about 1.5-2 cups of water. Mix well.
- Turn heat to low and cover, simmering for about 15 minutes or until chickpeas are soft and flavors have combined. (Note, if too liquidy simmer uncovered until reduced to your liking, and conversely if too dry, add a little extra water at this step).
- Taste and season with additional salt as needed.
- Serve with your choice of rice or indian bread (my favorites are puri or bhatura). Onion slices and lime wedges are great on the side.