Chana Masala

We LOVE spicy indian food in our home. So I was thrilled when my friend Monica pointed me to this recipe for chana masala. I’ve made a few minor changes but for the most part, it’s dead-nuts-on. The flavors are very rich and plentiful and the dish is quite spicy, so if you can’t take the heat you might want to reduce the amount of cayenne pepper to 1/4 tsp or less. Me, I add one or two serrano chilis (diced) to the onion mixture to give it some oomph. It’s totally worth it.


  • 1 yellow onion, cut in half then sliced very thin
  • Olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • seeds from 3 cardamom pods, crushed (break open the pods with a mortar and pestle, separate the seeds and crush)
  • 28 oz canned tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 15oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • (optional) 1-2 serrano chiles, diced

The Method:

1. Over medium heat, saute onions in olive oil until charred. Reduce heat to low, add garlic (and serranos) and a bit more oil. Add cumin, coriander, ginger, garam masala and cardamom seeds. Fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add 1/4 cup of water, stir to scrape up bits, cook until water has evaporated.

3. Pour in juice from canned tomatoes, then the tomatoes. Add salt to taste.

4. Raise heat to medium, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then add cilantro and cayenne pepper, simmer until sauce thickents. Add chickpeas, stir for about 5 minutes.

5. Add 2 tbsp water, cook until absorbed. Repeat a couple of times. Serve and garnish with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

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