Chana Masala

Chana Masala

This traditional, vegetarian Indian dish is made with chickpeas, onion, tomatoes, mustard seeds and other dried and fresh spices. If you will take the time to prepare it, your patience will be rewarded with a savory meal!


(Serves 4)

1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked in water to cover for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 Tsp asafoetida powder
2 Tbs. whole black mustard seeds
2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 large onion, chopped fine
3 Tbs. Garlic Ginger Paste (recipe below)

4 large fresh tomatoes, puréed to render 3 cups

1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. coriander powder

1/2 tsp. cumin powder

1/4 tsp. chili cayenne powder

1 Tbs. chili California powder

3/4 tsp. salt, divided
3 Tbs. finely-chopped cilantro



All ingredients need to be chopped, puréed and measured, and the Ginger Garlic Paste prepared, before cooking begins.


Place soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker and cover with water.

Add 1/2 tsp. salt and cook on high pressure for about 20-30 minutes. Do not overcook the chickpeas: They will continue cooking in the tomato sauce.
Drain the beans, reserving the cooking water.

In a nonstick pan over medium-high, heat up the oil.
Add asafoetida to the hot oil and immediately add the mustard seeds.
Listen for popping sounds (it takes about a minute), add cumin seeds and wait about 30 seconds.
Quickly add chopped onion to prevent the seeds from burning. This step is critical to the success of the dish: The seeds must not burn or they will add a bitter taste.
Lower the heat to medium and sauté the onion until it is softened and slightly browned. This takes about 10 minutes; please be patient.
Once the onion is soft and browning on the edges, add the Ginger Garlic paste (see recipe below).
Gently mixing, add the spices in this order: turmeric first, then coriander, cumin, cayenne, chili California and salt.
Mix together well and add the tomato purée. Cook uncovered over high heat for about 10-13 minutes.
Add the drained chickpeas, gently folding them into the sauce so they stay intact.
Gently stir in 1/2 cup of the water reserved from cooking the chickpeas
Cover, lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
Uncover the pan and cook until the sauce is thickened and reduced.
Add fresh cilantro for garnish and serve with flatbread or white rice.

Garlic Ginger Paste

2 Tbs minced fresh garlic
2 Tbs minced fresh ginger

Blend until combined.


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