Channa Masala

This is one of those great vegetarian dishes that can be dressed up or down according to need. Canned chickpeas make this a good store cupboard meal and it’s also simple enough to make as a week night meal. Served with a dollop of yogurt and some rice that’s dinner done. But add – a raita, a simple chopped salad and some naan and you’ve got a feast. If you need greens this Indian creamed spinach goes brilliantly with chickpeas. This is a quick and easy channa masala that has a great depth of flavor, with a few sides, some pickles and pappadums you’ll have the full feast and dinner party worthy spread. If you’ve got the energy and time to make your own naan try this super easy recipe from Rasa Malaysia. I cook the naans on my Webber barbecue which gets the mess out of the kitchen.  I’ve also used this naan recipe to make gozleme on the barbecue a feat of magical home cooking brilliance that totally impressed my son.

Notes on the recipe – The bicarb soda makes the onions soften and caramelise quicker. Grinding the garlic in lemon juice mellows the flavor while retaining its aroma.

Channa Masala

Adapted from Serious Eats

  • 4 medium cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 cm knob of ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1-6 green Thai green chillies (To taste) roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or ghee
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of bicarb soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of garam masala
  • 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 400g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup of coriander leaves, roughly chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  1. Combine garlic, ginger, chillies, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes in small bowl of a food processor and grind into a fine paste. You can also do this with a mortar and pestle.
  2. Heat oil or ghee in large pan over medium high heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and cumin, mustard seeds pop and are aromatic (10-15 seconds) add onion and bicarb soda. Cook stirring frequently begin to brown, add a couple of tablespoons of water after 4-5 minutes if needed and continue cooking until the onion are golden brown.
  3. Add garlic/ginger/chilli paste and stir. Add coriander, black pepper, tumeric and 1 teaspoon of garam masala. Stir until fragrant. Add finely chopped tomatoes and juice cook for a few minutes then add chickpeas, coriander and about half a cup of water.
  4. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and with lid slightly ajar cook, stirring occasionally for at least half an hour until sauce has thickened.
  5. Add salt to taste, lemon juice and a half teaspoon of garam masala. Serve with rice, naan or chapatis.


  1. Excellent recipe. While traveling through India we learned to perfect this dish. Your spice combination and ingredients are wonderful. Thank you for sharing your recipe. Oh, and your picture is mouth watering.

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