Chana Masala | Curried Chickpeas

Chana Masala | Curried Chickpeas


Healthy chickpeas are added to slowly-cooked onions, tomatoes and freshly-ground spices. Finished with lemon, coconut milk "yogurt" and cilantro, this tangy and pleasantly-spicy curry dish makes a perfect side or main course.
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Active Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Views: 66,267
  • Success Rating: 98% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Cooking the Onions

• 2 large onions
• 5 tbsp coconut oil
• 1/4 tsp sea salt


To start, first finely dice the onions. Then heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat and add the oil. Once melted, add the onions followed by the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until soft and golden.

*Note: If desired, omit the oil and sweat the onions with a bit of vegetable stock or water.

Meanwhile, prepare the rest of your mise en place.

Step 2: Preparing Your Mise en Place

• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 1/2" -inch piece ginger
• 2 green chilies
• 3 large ripe tomatoes (approx. 3 cups)
• 1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
• 1/8 tsp Kashmiri powder (Indian chili powder)*
• 1/2 tsp turmeric
• 2 - 19 oz cans chickpeas*


To prepare your mise en place, first crush the garlic into a paste. Finely chop the ginger and mince the chilies. Depending on how spicy you like your curry, you may want to remove some of the ribs and seeds. Next, core and dice the tomatoes into medium dice. Drain and rinse the chickpeas under cold water and set aside.

*Note: For the best flavor and results, soak and cook about 1 cup or so of dried chickpeas from scratch. Using canned chickpeas is faster but the flavor and texture of the dish is not as good as it could be.

Remember to stir the onions occasionally and adjust the heat downward, if necessary. They need to cook slowly until they become a nice, even golden color.

Next, using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, finely grind the coriander followed by the cumin. Lastly measure out the cayenne, turmeric and Kashmiri powder.

*Kashmiri powder can be substituted with regular chili powder.

Step 3: Cooking the Dish

• 1/3 cup water
• 1 tsp sea salt


Once the onions are soft and golden, add the garlic, ginger and chilies. Stir to coat with the oil and let cook for a minute or so until they release their aroma. Then add the spices and fry just until they release their fragrance.

Next, turn the heat up to medium, add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Then add the salt and cook until the tomatoes start to break down and soften, about 10 minutes. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the chickpeas and water. Stir to coat with the onions and spices. Bring the mixture to a quick boil and then turn down the heat to low. Cover but leave the lid slightly ajar. This will allow the moisture to evaporate very slowly, while the chickpeas cook. Let this simmer and cook for about 20 minutes in total, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing is sticking. After about 10 minutes, check to see how much moisture remains. You want it to reduce and thicken, but still have some liquid.

Meanwhile, you can prepare the garnish.

Step 4: Finishing the Dish

• 1 lemon
• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
• 3/4 cup non-dairy yogurt*


While the chickpeas cook, roll the lemon to release its juices and then cut in half. Roughly chop the cilantro and measure out the yogurt.

Check on the chickpeas. Once almost all of the liquid has evaporated, squeeze the lemon juice over top and let cook for another minute or so. To finish the dish, turn off the heat and stir in the yogurt.

NOTE: Either plain non-dairy yogurt, <a href=Cashew Cream or full-fat coconut milk work well in this recipe.

Just before serving, fold in the cilantro and test for seasoning.

Served with rice, this delicious vegetarian dish is hearty enough to be served as a main course. However, it’s also great served with a variety of other dishes such as dal and grilled pappadums.

Chef's Notes

Dried chickpeas that have been soaked and cooked can definitely be used for this dish. Canned chickpeas are much quicker and still produce great results.


  • Stefania S
    Stefania S
    I often try to prepare Indian recipes. Chickpeas are a classic in their cuisine. Your recipe is very well presented and prepared. Also the ginger-garlic paste is wonderfully done. So, thanks for sharing with us this dish!!!
  • Angie S
    Angie S
    Chickpeas have never tasted so good! I used thick greek yogurt and it really brought the dish together. Leftover were super yummy too.
  • Jenny M
    Jenny M
    what a great dish!! I made it last night and wish I would've made the whole recipe. I made half 'cause I thought it would be enough for just the two of us but today I wish I had leftovers!! I skipped the chilies though, for my son, and he loved the chickpeas, he kept saying hmm hmmm =D Thank you for this delicious dish
  • Lucas H
    Lucas H
    I think the dish was very good, but one entire lemon is to much acid for this dish. The next time I will drop the lemon.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Just happen to have all of the ingredients in the fridge, so I decided to make this for lunch...super! Instead of fresh tomatoes, I used a can of whole tomatoes (juice and all) that I had opened. The color was just a bit more red, but the dish was nice with the extra "tomato gravy".
  • Cristian H
    Cristian H
    Me quedaron buenos los garbanzos. Lo único que no seguí al pie de la letra fue lo de comprar los garbanzos en conserva, los compré secos y sin piel ya que me salieron más baratos :) tuve que dejar remojando un poco los garbanzos y sirvió igual. Todo lo demás lo seguí como dijeron y todo perfecto. Gracias!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    The peas came out great. The only thing I didn't do was buy the canned peas, instead I got the dry ones because they're cheaper :) I just soaked them for a little bit and it was all the same. For everything else I followed your instructions step by step and came out perfect. Thanks!
  • Payam P
    Payam P
    I made this the other night and I received the best compliment I think a person could give, an Indian friend told me it was better than what his mom made... Wonderful recipe, thank you.
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    Try this one next if you haven't already. It's a great dish:
  • Lynn W
    Lynn W
    I made the Chana Masala based on your recipe and it was fabulous - better than many Indian Restaurants I've been to. I made an omelet this morning using techniques I learned in your cooking school and it turned out just like the picture - man, I love this place!!!
  • Daniel S
    Daniel S
    This dish was better than I've had in most Indian Restaurants! I served it simply with some Naan and rice. My girlfriend thought it was the best Chana Masala she's ever eaten. I personally loved it, but to make it I cut down on the amount of onion in the beginning and only used half a lemon, but it came out perfectly for our tastes. Simply superb!
  • Liz S
    Liz S
    This is an amazing recipe. I have an East Indian friend who used to teach Indian cooking and she often brings me wonderful samples of her food. Unfortunately we had no leftovers but I can't wait to make it again so I can bring her some. I am certain she will be impressed:) I did leave out the cayenne though and found the chili powder and chillies gave it the right amount of heat for our tastes.
  • Alvin B
    Alvin B
    The most helpful thing about all of these video recipes (for me) is showing the "not right" or "not quite done" phase. This really helps me conceptualize the progression of the cooking process and increases my success. I also want to emphasize how excellent this is. I have enjoyed Indian food for several years but have never felt confident/comfortable enough in attempting my own. That has all changed with this foray. Many thanks to Kimberly S.
  • Piashantee S
    Piashantee S
    I have had my fair share of horrible, lavendery, perfumy and/or heavy ginger on Sushi and Chinese food and have developed an aversion to it now. An unexpected dose of it - especially if it's strong - can actually make me nauseous. Is there something to substitute for ginger? Or can you eliminate it altogether? Will it make a huge difference? I would probably like using no ginger at all - in anything.
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    No problem dropping the ginger altogether for this dish.
  • Esther G
    Esther G
    Last sunday I made this recipe for dinner and I had fun cooking it and it was wonderful to eat! Thanx for putting it on your website, I enjoy watching all the videos and getting inspiration along the way ... ;-) Groeten uit Holland
  • Joann B
    Joann B
    Hello, Can this be made the day before and reheated in either a pot or a bane marie? You guys are the best thank you JoAnn
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    For sure this can be made the day before (in a pot on low over low heat or in a bain marie). Just be sure to wait on adding the cilantro. Once reheated then fold in the cilantro and enjoy!
  • Ali B
    Ali B
    Just licked the pot! It was better than I imagined it to be. I think I went a little overboard with adding a bit more ginger. It still tasted fantastic nonetheless.
  • Elizabeth N
    Elizabeth N
    I don't have a heavy bottom pot and I really want to make this soon. Do you think I can use a stainless steel pot instead or will it burn?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Keep an eye one it, control the heat and you should be fine, as long as your pot is not super thin, otherwise it could burn. Cheers!
  • Elizabeth N
    Elizabeth N
    Wow, this was such a delicious dish! I love the flavor that ghee gives to the masala, I was tasting it as I went and right before I added the yogurt I tasted it and thought that it wouldn't be good, but once added, the yogurt really combines the flavors together. I've made this twice since each time enjoying the yummy leftovers. Who knew vegetarian dishes tasted so great! Thanks!
  • Erin J
    Erin J
    I made this dish for the second time last night and it was delicious, again! I'm wondering where I can find 'green chillies.' Are there different varieties of peppers that I might use or might they be named differently? I can't seem to find just plain 'green chillies.' Secondly, could anyone explain how acid affects flavour? I tasted right before adding the lemon and then right after. The difference was incredible! The spicyness increased (or just became more apparent without being overpowering) and everything just popped. The only thing I'll change is to cut back on the yogurt just a bit. The yogurt flavour overpowered the dish just a bit for my tastes. Thanks for another great recipe!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Green chilies can be found in most Asian, Indian and also many larger grocery stores. If you cannot find them, you can substitute with jalapeno or Serrano peppers. As for your second question - the thing about lemon is that it is almost magical. Sour notes are used to brighten and enhance dishes (and sauces) and to balance out flavors. Ultimately, this is actually a bigger question and answer as most great dishes consist of the right balance of sweetness, saltiness, bitterness and sourness. In fact, there are entire books written about this. In the end it comes down to understanding the different components and the rolls they play and then adjusting the dish to your tastes (just like you intend to do with the yogurt next time). Hope this helps - Cheers!
  • Leslie H
    Leslie H
    I was totally excited about making this today but realized I only had margarine, canned chickpeas, canned tomatoes and low fat yogurt. Plus, my husband hates cilantro so I figured I'd proceed with really low expectations on how it would turn out. I followed the recipe using what I had but used a 50/50 mix of low fat yogurt with high fat sour cream. I finished with chopped green onion and mint. (why mint? who knows, it's green I guess). To my surprise, it turned out really well! I'm glad I didn't give up before I started.
  • Jonathan H
    Jonathan H
    A wonderful variety of fresh vibrant flavors. That's it, nothing more to say. Thanks Rouxbe for rocking my culinary world.
  • Jonathan H
    Jonathan H
    There is something more to say. I omitted the yogurt due to self-imposed dairy restrictions and subbed home-grown jalapeños for the chilies. Absolutely fantastic dish, I think this may have solidified Indian's lead as my new favorite cuisine.
  • Dave M
    Dave M
    I only made a couple changes to this recipe, and it was fantastic. Like someone else mentioned, I only used half a lemon, as the acidity was quite nice already. I also added a can of tomato paste and a little brown sugar. The depth of flavors was fantastic!
  • Laura C
    Laura C
    I am glad you have Indian Cuisine recipes. One of the suggestions is to serve the chickpeas with Dal. Do you have any Dal recipe that you can suggest? Thanks for your awsome selection of dishes.
  • Gail S
    Gail S
    This is very good. I'm too impatient to wait for the rice to cook so I'm eating it with a spoon right now! Thanks again Rouxbe!
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    Enjoy. Joe
  • Alexandre S
    Alexandre S
    After soaking the dried chickpeas, for how long should I precook them before starting the recipe?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    The chickpeas should be fully cooked before starting. For more information check out the lesson on "How to Cook Dried Legumes". Enjoy the dish, it's a good one. Cheers!
  • Steve E
    Steve E
    The ultimate benchmark for success of a new dish around my table is if my kids will eat it. All mine tried this and liked it. One even went back for seconds. I call that a total win!
  • Franck C
    Franck C
    I soaked too much peas, how long can I keep them in the fridge? any chance letting them dry and use anytime later with unsoaked ones? (by the way, the almond coriander chicken recipe Joe linked above was superb!)
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    You could dry them again I suppose, by I would suggest just cooking them and then eating them. Chickpeas are great. One of my favorite ways to it eat them is to pulse them quickly in a food processor with a touch of dijon, sea salt, crushed black pepper and then add them to salad greens. Be sure to cook the chickpeas in salted water and just very quickly pulse them to break them up.
  • Franck C
    Franck C
    thanks Joe for the quick reply (I've just realized I wrote beans lol). I'll try your idea, sounds good.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Cooked chickpeas (and many other legumes) also freeze very well. Cheers!
  • Sue T
    Sue T
    I have made this several times. Absolutely delicious. Just make sure you cook the chickpeas long enough - last time I made it they were a little too crunchy. I shan't make that mistake again.
  • Joy A
    Joy A
    I have been wanting to make this dish, and when my vegan friends said they were coming over for lunch, this was the perfect opportunity. They absolutely loved it! Even my 12 year old son loved it! Please post more Indian recipes! It took me longer than 30 mins to get the onions to the same color as the video, but luckily I used that time to prep my other dishes.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Yeah! So glad that everyone liked the dish. I know it's a popular one here at Rouxbe as well. Cheers!
  • Andy N
    Andy N
    Embracing a plant-based lifestyle and not wanting to waste anything, I pulsed the leftovers in my food processor and created a delicious hummus like spread. Fantastic with flat-bread!
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Great thinking! It would also make a great dip or spread for a sandwich or wrap. ~Ken
  • Diana  S
    Diana S
    I soaked the chickpeas for more than 8 hours and came home to what appeared to be white foam in the water. What caused this? Do I throw out the chickpeas when this happens or do I was it off? I didn't want to take the chance so I discarded the chickpeas.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Diana- Sorry you tossed the chickpeas! That is completely normal after soaking beans. You just strain and rinse before adding fresh water to simmer and cook the beans. ~Ken
  • Lisa D
    Lisa D
    This was amazing! I was so happy with the way the chickpeas turned out. Nobody in my family likes spicy foods so for me it is always about getting a good balance of flavor but without the spiciness. Therefore, I omitted the chilies and used 1/4 teaspoon regular chili powder instead of the ground cayenne and Kashmiri powder. I also used only half a lemon and full-fat coconut milk. Everything was perfect!
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Great to hear, Lisa! Way to take control of the recipe! This is when cooking becomes really fun...
  • Nikos K
    Nikos K
    Great recepie. Thank you so much! I would apretiate more recepies like this one. (o:
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Thanks for the feedback, Nikos! You might consider this recipe with a different legume or the addition of a vegetable, such as cauliflower, to make your own version.
  • Daniel W
    Daniel W
    Fantastic recipe!
  • Donna M
    Donna M
    I really enjoyed this recipe, which I chose to make with no-oil. Thank you, Eric W, for answering my question about this in your open office hours. I slowly sweated the finely diced onions in a bit of vegetable broth, on medium-low, stirring frequently. It took just over an hour for the texture of the onions to become very soft (as in the video). The onions did become a light golden color (&amp; I did deglaze the pan with a bit more vegetable broth later in the process--which helped deepen the color a little) but it didn't seem they would reach the same darker golden color as seen with the oil (in the video). I served it over fluffy white basmati rice. I used canned chickpeas this time but I'd like to try this recipe with dry/soaked/cooked chickpeas next time to experience the difference in texture. Juice of the whole lemon balanced out just right as well. The recipe was beautifully colorful &amp; delicious.

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