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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 cup diced onion (about 1/2 large onion) or sub 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste or chipotle in adobo (for extra heat)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried garlic or 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried ginger or 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 14oz can chickpeas drained
  • Optional
    • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (less or more depending on desired spice level)
    • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes (2 medium tomatoes or 1/2 of a 14oz can)
    • Chopped cilantro for garnish
    • Lime wedges for additional punch of flavor at the end


  • Heat the oil in a skillet or pot over medium heat and cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent.
  • Add tomato paste/chipotle and fresh garlic and ginger if using 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 (water, vinegar, chickpeas, and tomatoes if using) and bring to a simmer.
  • Ready to serve when heated through or continue to simmer for 30-60 minutes for the flavors to meld.
  • 40 Aprons Recipe -
  • Tasty Bite Chana Masala Ingredient List - water, chickpeas, tomato paste, sunflower oil, dried onion, coriander powder, salt, cumin, jaggery (brown cane sugar), dried garlic, spices, apple cider vinegar, chili peppers, dried ginger, turmeric, red chili pepper powder

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.