Skip to main content

Chana Masala Recipe

I've written about Chana Masala before. It's a delicious way to enjoy garbanzo beans by cooking them in a traditional Indian masala sauce. Costco once carried Tasty Bite's Channa Masala packets that were quite good that I would heat up at work and enjoy for a quick lunch. But for some reason, they've stopped selling them at my Costco.

So now I'm experimenting with recipes to see if I can come close to replicating it. My recipe will never be truly authentic because it takes a lot of different fresh spices and ingredients to pull it off right. But I do want to see if I can come close enough using traditional dried spices that I typically have in my own cupboard.

Like some other recipes in this blog, this will be a work in progress and I will continue to update it as I cook and refine it. If you have any suggestions of your own, please leave them in the comments section.


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 fresh jalapeno diced (optional)
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger grated or 1 tsp ground dried ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves minced or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala Blend (try mine using the link or buy premixed from the grocery store or spice store)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 of a 14oz can of crushed tomatoes (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cans chickpeas drained


  • Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent.
  • Add the jalapeno, garlic, and ginger and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the spices and allow to bloom for a minute in the heat.
  • Add the wet ingredients (tomatoes, water, lemon juice, and chickpeas) and bring to a simmer.
  • Ready to serve when heated through or continue to simmer for 30-60 minutes for the flavors to meld.
America's Test Kitchen Version

1 small red onion, quartered, divided
10 sprigs fresh cilantro, stems and leaves separated
1 (1½-inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped coarse
2 garlic cloves, chopped coarse
2 serrano chiles, stemmed, halved, seeded, and sliced thin crosswise, divided
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder (sub 1/2 tsp paprika and 1/2 tsp cayenne)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, undrained
1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon table salt
Lime wedges

Chop three-quarters of onion coarse; reserve remaining quarter for garnish. Cut cilantro stems into 1-inch lengths. Process chopped onion, cilantro stems, ginger, garlic, and half of serranos in food processor until finely chopped, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, about 20 seconds. Combine onion mixture and oil in large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until onion is fully softened and beginning to stick to saucepan, 5 to 7 minutes.

While onion mixture cooks, process tomatoes and their juice in now-empty food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add chile powder, cumin, turmeric, and fennel seeds to onion mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chickpeas and their liquid and processed tomatoes and bring to boil. Adjust heat to maintain simmer, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. While mixture cooks, chop reserved onion fine.

Stir garam masala and salt into chickpea mixture and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are softened and sauce is thickened, 8 to 12 minutes longer. Season with salt to taste. Transfer to wide, shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with chopped onion, remaining serranos, and cilantro leaves and serve, passing lime wedges separately.