Chana Masala is a classic vegetarian curry that’s as filling as it is delicious. Serve as a main or as part of a bigger Indian feast! Get the recipe below.
Whether they are being blitzed to make velvety hummus, mashed to make vegan egg salad or stewed in a rich sauce, chickpeas are a staple of any vegetarian diet. So it’s probably no surprise then that they feature in a wide range of different Indian dishes like this. Chana Masala is one of the most common vegetarian curries made up of tender chickpeas in a spicy, tomato sauce.
Now I won’t pretend to know the ins and outs of every variation of Chana Masala originating from as far as Indian or as close as the Indian takeaway just round the corner from my house. There are tonnes of recipes floating around on the internet – some made with coconut, others with added potatoes. Mine is a riff off of the Chana Masala served at one of my favourite Indian restaurants. Along with Saag Paneer and Tharka Daal, the Chana Masala is part of their signature thali.
Whether you decide to make this dish part of a bigger feast, or to serve it as a main course with rice and naan, this chickpea curry won’t disappoint.
Chana Masala is a staple in so many Indian restaurants and takeaways. It can be tricky to differentiate one recipe from another, but I’ve got two tweaks that make my recipe stand out from the rest.
The first is that once I’ve softened my onions and heated my spices, I blitz them together with a little water until I have a smooth mix. Onions are super important in curries. They are great at adding texture but they are also key to the flavour. That’s why half of the onion is blended down so that it incorporates seamlessly into the tomato sauce.
The second is that I add green beans. Now I love chickpeas as much as the next vegetarian but they aren’t exactly packed full of flavour. I like to add green beans for a little vibrancy in both colour and flavour. They add something fresh to the rich sauce and the earthy chickpeas. It might not be an authentic addition but it’s definitely a delicious one.
Chana Masala is a classic vegetarian curry that's as filling as it is delicious. Serve as a main or as part of a bigger Indian feast!
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 large onion half diced, half thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 0.5 inch root ginger minced
- 2 green chillies diced
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 0.5 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander ground
- 1 pinch cracked black pepper
- 0.25 tsp turmeric
- 0.75 tsp garam masala
- 1 tin tomatoes
- 1 tin chickpeas
- 1 handful green beans
- 1 handful coriander fresh
Heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a pan along with the diced onion and a pinch of salt. Cook on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes of until the onions have begun to soften.
Add the garlic, ginger, green chillies and other spices (except the garam masala) to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Transfer the onions and spices to a blender along with 50ml of water and blitz until smooth.
Add the onion/spice mix to a heavy bottomed sauce pan along with the garamasala, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and green beans: place on a low heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the remaining tbsp of sunflower oil in a pan along with the thinly sliced onions and another pinch of salt. Cook on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the onions have softened and begun to brown before adding to the chickpeas.
Immediately before serving stir through the fresh coriander.