Chana Masala

Sunday was pretty much a perfect day. It included a 16 mile run, a few hours at the beach, a visit to the grocery store, and homemade Indian food for dinner. There’s a lot to be said for having low standards, and I think if that’s all I need to have a fabulous weekend, my life will be pretty easy.

I used to be incredibly intimidated by cooking Indian food at home. It seemed like no matter what I did, the results never came close to my favorite dishes from a restaurant, and that frustrated the crap out of me. I wasn’t willing to give up, though. I got a couple cookbooks, paid a visit to an Indian grocery store, and immersed myself in sambar, a whole bunch of different types of dal, and spices I’d never used before like fenugreek seeds and fresh curry leaves.

If you’re not quite ready to invest in a whole new pantry full of spices, flours, and legumes, this is a perfect recipe for you. It’s the best chana masala I’ve ever made, and I’ve tried quite a few recipes. You probably have everything you need right now, but if you don’t, you can probably find it all at your average grocery store. The best part? It is incredibly quick and easy, which is perfect for those lazy Sundays when you don’t get home from the beach until the sun is going down.

(adapted from RecipeZaar via Daily Unadventures in Cooking)

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large Roma tomato, seeded and chopped
1 15oz can chickpeas – do not drain (or about 2 cups cooked beans with liquid)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger

Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium high heat, then add the onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown (5-7 minutes)
Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cumin seeds, and curry powder, and let cook for about a minute. Stir in the tomato and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Add the chickpeas and their liquid, turn the head down to medium, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until it has thickened slightly. Stir in the fresh ginger, taste and add salt if necessary, then serve.

3 Responses to “Chana Masala”

  1. 1 Julie (Bananas for Bourbon) June 9, 2010 at 10:32 am

    I love chana masala! I used to be intimidated by Indian food as well, but there are definitely certain dishes that can be made pretty easily. The ingredient list is always long, but usually half of it is spices I already have in my cupboard, and the other half is fresh vegetables, legumes, or meat. What’s not to like? Hehe.

    So far I’ve only tried the chana masala recipe from Orangette. I really enjoyed it, but I’ll have to give this one a go too and compare. Thanks!

  2. 2 Amber Shea @Almost Vegan June 23, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Way to go on your 16 miles! Marathon season is gearing up for me too. I always crave salty, savory food after a double-digit-miles run…this would be perfect! I’m a huge chana fan.

  3. 3 Priya July 2, 2011 at 1:18 am

    Hey, don’t know if you’ve ever heard of everest masalaas. they have a variety of readymade masalas that you have to just use in specific dishes; they give out a pretty authentic flavouring and saves you the trouble of stocking 50-60 indian spices! love your enthu for food, adn you have inspired me to at least start walking on a regular basis if not run!

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