Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)

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Indian Vegetarian Curry Chana Masala


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tspoon garam masala
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed but still wholeish
  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coriander roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 400g cans cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6-8 tablespoons plain unsweetened yoghurt, optional or
  • Lemon juice, optional



Cover the bottom of a heavy saucepan with oil, add the onion, and cook on a medium heat stirring frequently, until deeply caramelized and even charred in some spots. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic, stirring, add a bit more oil if the pan seems dry. Add the cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garam masala, and cardamom pods, and fry, stirring until fragrant and toasty, about 1 minute. Add ¼ cup water, and stir to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water has evaporated. Pour in the juice from the tin of tomatoes, followed by the tomatoes themselves, crush them in the pot and add the salt.

Raise the heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Then turn to low and add the coriander and cayenne and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Add the chickpeas, stirring well, and cook over low heat for about five minutes. Add a little water and cook for another five minutes till evaporated then add a little water, and cook again until evaporated, a few minutes more. This process of adding and cooking off water helps to concentrate the flavours and makes the chickpeas more tender. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Stir in the yoghurt, if you like, or as a dairy free option stir in lemon juice and coriander. Serve with rice.

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