August 11, 2011

Chana Masala

by IsaChandra

Serves 8 to 10
Time: 1 hour || Active time: 30 minutes

Chana Masala

One of the very first dishes I ever tried to recreate at home was chana masala. This was before the invention of vegetables, so when I went out for Indian food in my neighborhood, it was usually chana masala, a samosa and basmati rice. I probably started out with a recipe from somewhere, but I would just adjust, adjust and adjust until it tasted like what I would get on Coney Island avenue. Spicy, tangy, and fragrant, almost perfumed, with sweet spices like cardamom and cinnamon. The jalapenos probably have no place in chana masala, but hey, tell that to me 20 years ago.

I use fresh tomatoes in Indian inspired meals when I can because the clunky canned ones can end up tasting like spaghetti sauce, and luckily my tomato plants have been incredibly generous this year! Let me have a proud tomato mama moment and show you:

And when chickpeas are the absolute star of the show I prefer to cook dried ones, rather than use canned. The taste is fresher and the texture is meatier.  I also find that coconut oil gives chana masala a richness that other oils lack, but since not everyone has coconut oil lying around, vegetable oil will be just fine! Same for subbing lime juice in place of tamarind concentrate.

This is one of those recipes that will help fine tune your taste buds. Look for the spicy, the sour, the salty, adjust until you’re thoroughly pleased. Even 20 years later and I’m still adding a little of this or that.

Spice blend:
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional, and more or less to taste)

For everything else:
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion, sliced in medium pieces
2 jalapenos, deseeded and thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced

1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 lbs tomatoes, diced
Fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or two cans, rinsed and drained) note: 2 cups dried will give you the right amount
1 teaspoon agave
Juice of one lime, or 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate

Preheat a large pan over medium heat. I prefer a pan to a pot, because it gets the tomatoes to cook down faster.

Meanwhile, mix together the spice blend in a small bowl.

When the pan is hot, saute the onion in the coconut oil for about 10 minutes, until nicely browned. While it’s sauteeing you can prep the rest of the veggies.

Add the jalapeno, garlic and ginger, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cilantro and saute until wilted. Add the spice blend and toss to coat the onions, letting the spices toast a bit (about a minute or so).

Add the tomatoes and mix well, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add salt and pepper, chickpeas and agave. Cover the pan and bring heat up a bit. The tomatoes should take about 10 minutes to breakdown and get saucy. Remove the lid, and cook for about 20 more minutes on low heat, so that the flavors meld and the sauce thickens. It shouldn’t be too thick (like a marinara), but it shouldn’t be watery, either.

Add lime juice or tamarind concentrate. Taste for seasoning, you might want to add a little of this or that. Let sit for 10 minutes or so off the heat before serving. Serve with basmati rice and garnished with extra cilantro, if you like!

  • August 11, 2011 at 10:31 pm: melody polakow: Vegan for 3.33 a day

    Yum!! I make variation after variation of this with so many different ingredients… and I just love it. Chana Masala is one of my fav foods ever.. and I totally agree about the coconut oil.. so good! I’ve been using my homemade coconut butter in place of the oil with GREAT results too.. and I think it out with chickpea cooking liquid..

  • August 11, 2011 at 10:32 pm: Basht

    ohh golly! do i ever need to make this

  • August 11, 2011 at 10:32 pm: melody polakow: Vegan for 3.33 a day

    BTW, I love the plate!

  • August 12, 2011 at 12:03 am: MikeyPod

    Can’t wait to try this! Out of curiosity. Do you have a favorite INdian place on CIA?

    • August 12, 2011 at 2:06 am: IsaChandra

      No, all the places I grew up with are long gone as far as I know.

  • August 12, 2011 at 12:24 am: BabelsNZ

    Im surely going to try this version and gives me another reason to play with naan (manjulaskitchen showed me how to make naan with her kinda-best-ya-can-do-without-a-tandoor method). happy tums.

  • August 12, 2011 at 1:57 am: Genevieve

    Yum! How timely. I just tried to make some chana masala in my crockpot and accidentally burnt the shenanigans out of it. After reading your recipe, I’m eager to try again and will definitely be trying a couple of your touches like the coconut oil and lime juice!

  • August 12, 2011 at 4:24 am: dana @ my little celebration

    This sounds fantastic. I’m semi new to vegetarianism and Indian food, so this will be a challenge. BUT, I am excited about it nonetheless.

    Love your site by the way. Found it through Zen Habits and am thoroughly enjoying it so far.

  • August 12, 2011 at 4:28 am: Cadry

    This looks wonderful! I can’t wait to try it!

  • August 12, 2011 at 5:39 am: Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Mmmm I love a good chana masala. So healthy!

  • August 12, 2011 at 8:29 am: Jeshua Lack

    I made this tonight and it came out awesome mine came out a little mushier because I used some overcooked chickpeas. My next project is gonna be the Romesco Pizza which should be a hit cause my roommate and I love Chickpeas Romesco.

  • August 12, 2011 at 10:37 am: veganmim

    looks wonderful, i am on a diet and want to know if there is a way to make it without the oil?

    • August 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm: IsaChandra

      Sure, you can water saute, or just use a much smaller amount. I would recommend 2 teaspoons oil, since it is 10 serving, that won’t be very much and you can still get all the necessary browning.

  • August 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm: Russell

    This looks awesome! Going to make this soon.

    You wouldn’t happen to have a recipe for Chana Saag? That’s my favorite Indian dish.

  • August 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm: Sanpaku

    Amchur/amchoor (powdered green mango) is another good substitute for the lime or tamarind. Start at a tsp and adjust.

  • August 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm: Abby Bean

    I first read this as “Chandra” Masala & I think that’s just fine.

  • August 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm: true indigo

    I am in the midst of making my first batch of CHANDRA Masala (thanks @AbbyBean) and had to cough like crazy at the deglazing point! So excited for my supper noms!

  • August 13, 2011 at 6:02 am: Alex

    Question: Is the spice blend similar to garam masala? Could you substitute it with that? Thanks, looks delish!

  • August 13, 2011 at 10:53 am: Caitlyn Smith

    One of my all time favourite Indian dishes!

  • August 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm: Sara (The Veggie Eco-Life)

    Looooooove this! I love Indian food, really.

  • August 14, 2011 at 9:25 am: Rebekah

    I made this tonight, it was amazing, I didn’t have jalapenos but I did have 2 Big Red Chillies, i cut them up seeds and all–that makes the dish have a warning for those that may be pregnant or have heart problems–it was deliciously hot. I also realized halfway through that I didn’t have any minced ginger, or agave syrup, so i chopped up some crystalized ginger that I happened to have on hand, which added the gingery flavor i needed as well as a touch of sweetness. I also used whatever tomatoes I had on hand, between 1/4 pound of cherry tomatoes, 1 big regular tomato and some diced canned variety it worked out. Definitely going to try again and maybe only one small red chilli instead of 2 big ones.

  • August 14, 2011 at 6:32 pm: Sam (Quantum Vegan)

    This is exactly the sort of thing I love when it comes to Indian food. Heavily spiced with lots of chickpeas and that telltale turmeric color…mmm!

  • August 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm: Katie @ ktmade blog

    Yum to the yum. This looks flipping amazing. Is it weird that I think I can smell it? We make a lot of coconut curry indian-spiced stir fries, but I’m always scared of making chana masala. This is going to be my inspiration!

  • August 15, 2011 at 11:02 pm: Amanda

    I was told this is the best meal I’ve ever cooked. Thank you. “And it’s VEGAN!” is what he said.

  • August 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm: sharon

    made this tonight! Yummy!served it with chapati.

  • August 17, 2011 at 6:32 am: kate

    This was so delicious! Thank you!!!

  • August 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm: Sam @ H.V.R.

    I’m doing the recipe this weekend! :) I love anything with tomatoes, so thanks for sharing!

  • August 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm: Becky

    Ooooh, I just went on a spice splurge and have been looking for a great Indian recipe that includes cardomom and coriander. I can’t WAIT to make this! Looks amazing!

  • August 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm: Ana Mayer

    did it the day before yesterday and I STILL can´t get over the delicious awesomeness!

  • August 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm: Frederic

    This recipe was full of win! A big plus was that it made great use of our garden’s bumper crop of tomatoes. It thickened beautifully over night too so the leftover are even better!

  • August 22, 2011 at 1:15 am: Lisa

    I’ve been in search of an easyish chana masala recipe for YEARS (and years), so I’m so grateful to you for this. I can find all of these ingredients at my co-op, and I don’t need a pressure cooker or a zillion steps or a day and a half to prepare it. Thank you! Thanks, too, for tips about tasting for the salty, spicy, and sour and adjusting. Advice like that has made me a better cook, because it gives me skills I can use with other dishes.

    So, I’ve made this twice, half batches both times, because I’m cooking for one and with 8 to 10 servings I would’ve been eating it every day for a week. I found the recipe not quite as spicy as I like, maybe because I’m used to spice-inflated versions at the restaurants I go to, so the second time instead of halving the original amount, I used 2/3 (for the salt and lime juice too) and left out the agave altogether. Just right! Yum. Also, my portion sizes may be off (when I eat chana masala, i don’t mess around), but my half-batches gave me only three moderate entree-size portions. If I were serving this for four people, I definitely would not halve it, especially because I assume most people would want seconds, because it’s delicious.

  • August 22, 2011 at 3:57 am: Amelia

    Ahhhhh…..I cooked this tonight, and my husband says it’s the most authentic, yummy dish he’s had since we lived in India! Thank you…and mmmm.

  • August 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm: Pat

    I made this last night with naan and rice. The combination of spices with coconut oil and fresh lime juice was amazing. I agree that the recipe makes a huge amount but I froze half and will see how that works out in a couple of weeks.

  • August 23, 2011 at 1:52 am: dragonssister

    I made this and was a little overwhelmed by dicing 3 lbs of tomatoes, but I got through it. I don’t like fennel seed so left it out. I could not find cardamom so I had to use a garam masala spice mix I had with cardamom as the main ingredient. My grocery store also didn’t have coconut oil the one time I went to go buy it… can you believe my luck? I put some coconut milk because I like my curries that way and I could adjust the consistancy to my liking very easily.

    This is a forgiving recipe that is easy to modify to your taste or ingredients.

    When I thaw the extra I have I’m adding more cayenne, and making some naan to go alongside.

  • August 23, 2011 at 6:08 pm: Ry

    This was so good. We used the left overs as “taco” filling inside a corn shell the next night. Amazing!

  • August 24, 2011 at 2:14 am: rachel

    Man, thanks so much. I enjoy your inventions (innovations!) so much. this one and the mac and shews have really turned me on to how great it can be to take part in *vegan cuisine*. I’ve been vegetarian at least for 8 years, and of course I’ve looked through different resources and websites; i’ve found yours as one of the most reliable, reasonable, and exciting resources. I guess I also enjoy the name :) Thanks for all your work here (!!)

  • August 28, 2011 at 12:23 am: Jen

    Sampled this in the pan and wasn’t entirely sold. Then I got it on the rice and nearly died of joy. Thank you for providing an even-tastier version of my takeout favorite.

  • August 30, 2011 at 7:45 pm: Irene @ H.V.R.

    Looks tasty! I have always been fond of Indian foods and thanks to this blog I can now get a taste of Indian foods.

  • August 31, 2011 at 2:40 am: Melissa

    This didn’t really work for me. The coconut oil was overwhelming and it seemed under-spiced. At least now I have a base, though because the spice combination is excellent.

  • September 7, 2011 at 2:06 am: Katherine

    I made this tonight and it was really delicious. It could have been spicier but I put a little bit less pepper than required. I would also put a little bit less lime.

  • September 10, 2011 at 2:59 pm: Drew

    Made this the other night — delightful, rich and worthwhile. CAUTION: Do not touch raw jalapeno seeds!! My hands are still on fire and it’s been like 4 days! I even got a little in my eye :-(

  • September 11, 2011 at 12:30 pm: Fenice

    That gorgeous burst of scents when I added the spice mix to the pan made me smile in anticipation and the deliciousness of the finished dish lived up to that glorious smell.

  • September 13, 2011 at 12:30 am: rebecca

    made this tonight for dinner… yum yum yum. definitely going in the rotation.

  • September 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm: juan

    finally got around to making this. apart from having to soak and cook the chickpeas (which i did the day before, and was well worth the effort for someone used to using canned beans!), this was surprisingly easy. and so delicious. thanks again, isa. this and the cashew korma are so good, and make me feel accomplished!

  • September 24, 2011 at 11:40 pm: Dillon

    Does anyone know if the tomatoes should be seeded?

    • September 25, 2011 at 3:57 am: IsaChandra

      Nope, just chop em!

  • September 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm: Fenice

    This was wicked good.

  • October 1, 2011 at 12:27 am: Amy

    I loved this. My non-vegan husband thought it was great too!

  • October 2, 2011 at 4:08 am: J.J.

    I think this should go into the Gluten Free section as well. Look sGluten Free to me unless I’m missing something.

  • October 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm: Maureen

    Looks soooo good, but I can’t eat tomatoes. Any ideas?

  • October 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm: B'klynHeart

    The story goes like this. When you first posted this, I made it a few days later. DH and I enjoyed it immensely, and lamented once it was gone. Yesterday, I made another batch. Afterward, though we currently have leftovers, I set another batch of chickpeas to soak. It’s that good.

    :) Thank you for all you share and do. I think I have nearly all of your cookbooks at this point and have already enjoyed several recipes, though this one certainly would be on the shortlist of “And your last meal will be?” I look forward to cooking and enjoying more of your recipes, you’ve made my transition to vegan a most delicious one.

    • October 2, 2011 at 10:42 pm: IsaChandra

      Thank you so much for letting me know! It’s stuff like this that keeps me inspired.

  • October 5, 2011 at 6:13 pm: Kristin

    Oh man is this stuff good! I mean is there any type of food that Isa can’t help me make! I have struggled with all types of indian cuisine forever, I even bought a cookbook with just vegan Indian recipes but still could mnage anything worthy of seconds. This recipe however came out perfect! I love it and I’m sure my partner will too ( she has been a good sport about all my other attempts) I can’t wait for her to be pleasantly surprised by it’s deliciousness. :)

  • October 10, 2011 at 10:45 pm: Jeannie

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It is my go-to recipe for my lunch meals. I make a batch on Sunday, and it’s my lunch M-F. So far, I haven’t gotten tired of it. As we come to the end of fresh tomato season, I’m kind of dreading making this with canned tomatoes. Any tips? My main concern is that canned tomatoes don’t break down the way fresh tomatoes do. Maybe start with whole canned tomatoes and dice them up small? Help! Thanks!!

    • October 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm: IsaChandra

      Yeah, just dice them, it will be good! I sometimes just squish them into small pieces with my hands if I’m feeling lazy.

  • October 25, 2011 at 9:55 am: pentabarf

    Stupid question: I’m not a native speaker and my dictionary translates cilantro and coriander as the same thing. Is there a difference other than that one is fresh and the other is dried? Thanks a lot for your help, I will try this tonight!

    • October 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm: IsaChandra

      When I say coriander it’s referring to the dried seed and cilantro is the fresh leaf.

  • October 29, 2011 at 8:55 am: pentabarf

    This turned out great! I didn’t have agave, so I used molasses instead to add some sweetness. Thank you for this fantastic recipe.

  • November 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm: AmandaM

    It’s so comforting to see that like-minded individuals are also searching for a chana masala recipe now that it is fall! I’ve been craving this and had a very strong feeling that if I looked on PPK a great recipe would be awaiting. (haven’t yet tried it but will this week)

  • November 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm: Leslie

    I am looking forward to making this tonight. I soaked the dried garbano beans overnight. About how long do I cook them and what should the texture be like? Thanks for guidance on this.

    • November 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm: IsaChandra

      It varies depending on how old the beans are and other factors (like water temp, how long they soaked) but you should cover and bring to a boil, then immediately bring to a simmer, leaving the lid askew so that some steam can escape. Check in about an hour and just cook until they are soft enough to eat!

  • November 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm: Deborah

    Made this last night and it was AMAZING! I love the heat it packs too… And was so easy so I think it’ll be a new staple in my vegan recipe repertoire. Thanks!!

  • November 17, 2011 at 12:58 am: lily wolf

    I started using the PPK as a reference recently after seeing the movie Forks over Knives. I’ve been a foodie for years and have better-than-average cooking skills, however I’ve always had some difficulty finding good, simple, satisfying vegan staples. This was the third PPK recipe I’ve used that gave me magnificent results! I am officially in love with the PPK and I don’t care who knows it!!! Thank you from the bottom of my extremely healthy heart:)

    (BTW the first two recipes I tried that also rocked thoroughly were the pizza w/ romesco and the goin back to cali rolls)

    • November 17, 2011 at 3:41 am: IsaChandra

      Thanks so much!

  • November 17, 2011 at 6:36 pm: Meenakshi

    I stumbled onto your site via the Melie Bianco blog. Your chana masala looks great! I can almost smell the cilantro. The tamarind and jalapenos are bound to give it an extra kick. Must try it out. I really appreciate cooks who take the trouble to mix their own spices…alas, in India, we are spoilt by ready-mixed packaged masalas for every kind of curry we cook! Love the look and feel of your blog, I’ll be sure visit regularly!

  • November 23, 2011 at 1:24 am: Jessica

    OMG! I made this tonight for my mother-in-law who said: “This is the best thing i’ve ever put in my mouth!” I concur. This recipe is gorgeous. It is far better than any chana masala I’ve had in a restaurant. The flavors were so “alive”. I servied it with brown basmati rice and mango chutney, sweet-hot pickles and a little plain soy yogurt to cool it down. Sooooooooo good. I will definitely be making this time and time again. Thanks Isa!

  • November 26, 2011 at 7:25 pm: Sarah

    This was the best curry I’ve ever cooked!

  • November 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm: Sarah

    Or tasted, I should add :).

  • November 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm: bharati_ shahida

    1. Kachumar makes a good accompaniment: Finely chop onion pieces or rings, rub with a little salt, red cayenne, black pepper. Add tiny bits of cucumber and tomato. Mix everything well with lemon juice. Add finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves). Or leave out the lemon juice and add sour soy yogurt. Eat!

    2. Adding cubed potatoes to cook along with the already cooked chick peas is also good.

  • December 8, 2011 at 3:36 am: Lisa B.R.

    Made this tonight and it was awesome! We couldn’t stop eating it! I amped up the salt and the tamarind, but other than that followed everything else to the tee (or should I say to the t as in tsp, Tbsp?). Thanks for yet another great recipe to add to our family dinner repertoire!

  • December 13, 2011 at 1:34 am: B'klynHeart

    Made this for what might be the 1000K time tonight. Each time it is special and tonight Actually been feasting on Isa fare all week (from AFR, Veganomicon, Brunch, Cookies, etc.) but could not declare the week complete without our absolute favorite dish (and let me say it has some pretty stiff competition).

    Isa, I want to say thank you again and again. I’m only 6 months vegan, and my husband hasn’t declared anything… but he has been absolutely enchanted by the dishes that I make that you wrote or co-wrote. I know I said thank you before (probably on this particular thread, LOL!) but I wanted to say it one more time… THANK YOU! Much love from a fellow Brooklynite!

  • December 30, 2011 at 4:37 pm: Sferd

    I just wanted to double-check the chickpea amount…it seems that 2 cups dried will produce quite a bit more than 3.5 cups.

    • December 30, 2011 at 9:56 pm: IsaChandra

      It probably depends on what kind of chickpeas you use, but they should be between 3.5 and 4 cups.

  • January 3, 2012 at 1:18 am: janet @ the taste space

    Made this with 28 oz of canned tomatoes and it still turned out wonderfully. Thanks Isa! :)

  • January 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm: Sferd

    Cooking 2 cups of dried garbanzo beans, I ended up with over 5 cups of cooked beans. So, I used 4 cups for the recipe as I didn’t want the flavor to be diluted. I made the recipe exactly as stated except using 1/2 organic diced tomatoes since I didn’t have enough fresh (it IS Winter!). I loved the nuances of all the various spices and the tamarind gives an amazing dimension to the dish. My only complaint is that it was not spicy enough, so next time I will increase the cayenne and add one or two more chiles (perhaps serranos) to ‘kick it up a notch.’

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  • January 8, 2012 at 2:24 am: Laura Brooke Allen

    I just made this, and “My life just got so much better!” flew through my mouth. THANK YOU!

  • January 22, 2012 at 10:56 pm: Angie B.

    Just made this and had it for lunch. I can’t wait until dinner. <3 SO GOOD. Great diet food too.

  • January 22, 2012 at 10:57 pm: Angie B.

    I should also mention that my new favorite smell is that of onions sauteing in coconut oil. MMMM.

  • February 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm: Maria

    I made this tonight! I’m a new vegan and the most challenging thing so far has been finding new/easy recipes. I absolutely LOVE Indian food and I have plenty of Indian spices so it was easy to make… It was DELICIOUS!!
    I didn’t have a few of the ingredients (agave, jalapenos, lime)… but no biggy – it was great!

  • February 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm: Lauren

    You are truly the best. I’ve been vegan since September and have tried a ton of recipes but I am always utterly impressed with everything I make of yours. I am having some non-vegans over tomorrow and I can’t wait to watch them eat this! Thank you for everything!

    • February 12, 2012 at 5:45 am: IsaChandra

      Thank you kindly!

  • February 21, 2012 at 2:51 am: Abigail

    so good! I couldn’t believe how this tasted exactly like a local restaurant’s chana masala. Thank you for all your research and delivering us the best recipes!

  • March 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm: Chris

    This is a great recipe. Thanks for sharing!!

  • March 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm: Sarah

    Being the incredibly lazy person I am, last night I attempted to make this dish without a much needed trip to the grocery store. I subbed canned tomatoes and pickled jalapenos for the fresh stuff, and left out the cilantro. And miraculously, it still turned out amazingly. I’ll definitely be making *Chandra* Masala again; hopefully the official version is as tasty as my pantry/lazy version!

  • April 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm: Leah

    Just made this last night and it was fantastic! Thanks for the recipe!

  • April 22, 2012 at 5:34 am: Tikva

    After becoming Veg about 2 months ago, I had tried a number of different Curry Recipes, and all were dismal failures – until this one!!!! Have made it twice in the last week, and even my daughter who doesn’t like Curries thinks it’s delicious, as has a number of meat eaters who have tried it. Thank you SO much for sharing this ‘keeper’ recipe!

  • April 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm: Robin F.

    I made this last night and it was definitely restaurant quality….I’m not sure if it’s authentic Indian as I have never been to India ;)

  • April 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm: Robin F.

    Oh, and I forgot to add that I felt that using the tamarind concentrate was a MUST in this dish. It gave it the tanginess and it helped with the sauce consistency too :)

  • May 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm: Lily J

    Thanks for the great recipe! It was delicious!

  • May 27, 2012 at 1:09 am: Andy

    Fantastic! Even though I used (28oz) canned tomatoes and canned chickpeas. Really, really tasty.

  • May 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm: MIchele

    I have cardamom pods. Does cardamom also come in a powder (and would that be prefereable? Thanks!

  • May 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm: Michele


  • July 1, 2012 at 11:51 am: Marick

    Delicious. I did a few different things for this recipe — spinach instead of cilantro, half a cubed potato, a touch of garam masala and mango powder. It’s one of those dishes that can be spiced up to one’s liking. Just wonderful, ah!
    PS: Nice tomatoes!

  • July 16, 2012 at 2:13 am: Rachel

    DELICIOUS. Thank you!

  • July 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm: Sid

    This is the best chana masala recipe I have used yet. Thank you :)

  • July 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm: EnneirB

    Made this yesterday. It is a wonderful recipe! I used the coconut oil and it worked great. Directions worked perfectly. Thank you for posting this. Everything on here looks great and I can’t wait to make something else.

  • August 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm: Snowblind

    Just when I was tasting and thinking to myself it is missing a little something, along came lime joice and added the final dot to my chana i. I did go a bit overboard with ginger (but I adore ginger and it is good for me so no biggy), skipped the alien jalopeno and added the alien pineapple instead and now my only concern is how to stop eating in time to keep the bowl! Too good!

  • September 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm: Hannah

    This became one of my go to recipes. It is delicious and it’s easy to add some frozen chopped spinach a little before you stop cooking it.

  • October 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm: Jean

    I could not agree more that fresh home-grown/organic/heirloom toms really take this dish to the higher level.

  • October 29, 2012 at 11:16 pm: Adele

    This is simmering on my stove as we wait for Hurricane Sandy to blow our yard apart, and all I have is a tamarind paste (puck?). How can I incorporate this into the recipe? So far I’ve got a bit soaking in a bowl with some hot water to loosen it, and have pulled out the seeds. Should I strain it, or just throw it in pulp and all? And thanks for all the awesome recipes!

    • October 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm: IsaChandra

      I usually blend the pulp with some of the soaking water.

  • November 24, 2012 at 9:28 am: anonymous

    My mom uses jalapenos in some of her curries; can’t remember if she puts it in this, but it’s perfectly fine in Indian dishes. :) There are many different versions of the same Indian dish depending on what part of india the cuisine is being prepared. I can’t recall where this dish is prominent, however I do remember my mom saying that a traditional way to make it involves tea bags. I haven’t looked it up, but I bet you could google it. I grew up eating it with sautéed onions, rather than the garlic and ginger (although that sounds delicious as well). We always throw a good amount of fresh cilantro on top of most dishes, rather than cooking it in. Another variation to make it more traditional would be to use ground paprika (the Indian version is pretty spicy!) in place of the cayenne and to omit the black pepper. I like different versions of the same dish and yours sounds tasty as well.

  • November 24, 2012 at 9:33 am: Anonymous

    Oh yeah, and garam masala is a spice I would definitely include in this dish.

  • January 4, 2013 at 11:49 pm: Linda

    Thank you so much for these recipes, your books are the reason myself, my husband our parents and friends in Ireland eat vegan.

  • January 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm: Lisa

    Making this for about the 100th time tonight. Having an Indian potluck and this dish is a winner! Everyone freaks out over it when I make it. Sometimes I throw in some mustard greens or spinach and it’s good like that too. Cannot get enough of it! (I am so grateful for the fresh tomatoes too). Just thought I’d tell you again. Your recipes rock.

    • January 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm: IsaChandra

      Great to know, thanks!!

  • January 24, 2013 at 1:16 am: Cara

    I made this a few nights ago and it is super yummy. It has the perfect amount of spiciness. It is one of my favorite dishes and will definitely be in my frequent recipe rotation.

  • February 9, 2013 at 12:19 am: Pat Frank

    Just made it – fantastic!

  • March 7, 2013 at 3:23 am: June

    Can you tell me if you start with the dried chickpeas, or already cooked chickpeas? If cooked, can you tell me how to prepare and cook them? Thanks!

    • March 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm: IsaChandra

      They are cooked (says so in the recipe!) It’s really easy to google “how to cook dry chickpeas”. Good luck!

  • March 7, 2013 at 8:34 pm: mike

    cook me

  • April 19, 2013 at 4:15 am: Naomi

    Hot damn! I have tried several channa masala recipes, and they have always come up short until now. This recipe was so frickin’ good! Thank you for giving us such a great balance of onion/ tomato/ chickpea and sweet/ sour/ salt/ spice. Delish.

    (Had to make a couple of minor subs – 1 T chili paste (Sambal Oelek) instead of jalapenos, candied ginger + a generous dash of ground ginger to replace the fresh ginger and the agave, 1 teaspoon amchoor powder instead of tamarind concentrate.)

  • April 23, 2013 at 3:21 pm: Jillian Krebsbach

    i’ve made chana masala a few times before but this is by far the BEST recipe. the agave and the lime juice really sets this version apart. I made this for a work event and everyone LOVED this dish. thanks again

  • May 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm: Bailey

    I was just referring to this recipe to make for the 8th million time and I just noticed it says it serves 8 to 10. People? Humans? Are you crazy? Have you tried this? It’s always been a solid 3-4 serving recipe for me. And that is controlling myself.

    • May 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm: IsaChandra

      Haha! Well, I usually make it with rice and a salad, so maybe that’s why.

  • June 9, 2013 at 11:15 pm: Ferula

    So good and authentic! Will make again and again!

  • July 1, 2013 at 7:12 pm: Spadge

    Thanks for this recipe I just made this today, it’s lummy lummingtons!

  • August 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm: Luvkimono

    This is a wonderful, very tasty recipe, but I wonder if you have rethought the use of coconut oil since writing your cookbook on reducing. I know that classic Chana Masala is often made with coconut or coconut oil, but I did not use either of them because of the high saturated fat content. Also, I reduced the oil to 1 tbsp. of canola oil and probably could have used just canola spray–the onions will still brown in a nonstick pan and the spice mixture will not stick to the pan. Thanks for your good work.

  • September 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm: michi

    made this last night for the first time…what a great recipe! really fresh taste from the lime juice. i didn’t buy coconut oil, but maybe will splurge since i will be making this again. mine was a little watery, so maybe i should have simmered it longer or if it happens again i may make a roux or add tomato paste.

    thanks for another great recipe!

  • September 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm: Cherry

    The spice blend is good in this, but I found it quite strong, so I tempered it with a can of coconut milk, and about 500g of frozen spinach, it made it very tasty, substantial and rich. Didn’t use cilantro, substituted tinned tomatoes for fresh ( 2 cans), and didn’t use cloves as I didn’t have any. It was pretty good and I’ve made it twice since!

  • October 6, 2013 at 7:16 pm: Robin

    This was so delicious! I ate it all week and my husband (omnivore) really liked it too. Thank you so much; this is a hit! I will get a bit more heavy handed with the spices next time.

  • October 13, 2013 at 2:01 am: Sabrina

    Just made this and it’s amazing! I only put one jalapeno and it was perfect. Definitely making this again!

  • October 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm: Victoria

    Thank you for making this, and many other recipes, so big. I have a largish family and I’m always having to double recipes – but not yours!!

  • November 15, 2013 at 6:03 pm: KQ

    I make this all the time. Everyone loves it, and everyone can eat it. It’s a staple recipe for me at this point- so delicious!

  • November 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm: jennifer

    I made this last night for dinner and just had some for lunch. It is oh, so good. It’s just perfect. My mission for the winter is to try A LOT more Indian food. Thanks for the great start and the inspiration.

  • December 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm: Major7

    This looks great. I’ve tried so many chana recipes, but your blog is so compelling I will have to try this.

  • January 2, 2014 at 4:38 pm: Patrycja

    I found your website today and I just had to made something! I chose this as I had all the ingredients and it was AMAZING! Even my family who eat meat loved it. Thanks so much!

  • February 8, 2014 at 1:33 am: Shores

    I loved this. We added half a can of coconut milk to it and I couldn’t keep my son out of it.

  • February 24, 2014 at 12:15 am: Timm Fuller

    A great recipe. I’ve made it many times. All the flavors come together very well. I do change a few ingredients: water instead of oil, quinoa instead of rice and I double the cayenne-I like it spicy. Sometimes I add kale for the heck of it. Love the recipe Isa and hope you came back to Austin!!!

  • March 8, 2014 at 8:10 pm: Merris

    I have a chana masala spice mix. Can I use this instead of making the mix, if so how much would you start with?

  • April 3, 2014 at 9:22 pm: Kristen K.

    I’ve been trying versions of this for YEARS with bland results. Thank you! This is freakin’ rad. I love your recipes!

  • August 22, 2014 at 9:53 am: Las Vegas Appliance Service

    What’s up mates, how is all, and what you would like too say concerning this post, in my view its actrually amazing
    foor me.

  • October 11, 2014 at 6:50 pm: Mason

    Isa, God bless you for making this recipe- I make it regularly and it freezes wonderfully, which is good for me being the single college student. Just cause I’m curious any fun twists that could be put on this?

  • December 21, 2014 at 5:15 pm: Beth

    Usually I don’t read post on blogs, however
    I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do it!

    Your wwriting taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.

  • March 31, 2015 at 1:47 am: Ashley

    Yum! This was delicious, and even better the next day!! Here are the changes I made:

    -left out fennel seeds, cardamom, and jalapeno because I didn’t have
    -used honey instead of agave
    -unfortunately, I subbed some water and tomato paste for the tomatoes because I only had two small fresh tomatoes

    This turned out amazing, I loved the flavor, and with some rice, it makes a very satisfying meal.

  • August 3, 2015 at 6:09 am: Rosie

    Made this recipe tonight. First try at Indian entree. Went over very well with omni family. Great flavors and very flexible to adding in other veggies. Thanks for this do-able recipe that allowed me to cautiously venture into some new foods/flavors. Looking forward to my lunch of leftovers tomorrow…

  • January 25, 2016 at 5:46 pm: Shankar

    In the last but one para
    correction needed indtead of meld, it should be blend.
    Recipe is really goodE

  • April 17, 2016 at 5:17 pm: Christianne

    This has been my favourite version of Chana Masala for several years now, loved as a comfort food staple by my omni family!

  • July 21, 2016 at 2:02 am: Nick

    Curry so good I could cry :D