Chana Masala

I’ve wanted to test out Indian food for a while now. I’ve experimented with all sorts of cuisines far away from my comfort zone, but Indian is one thing I reserve for restaurants. Until now, that is. If you were anything like me, it’s time to go spice shopping, because this is a great introduction to Indian cooking!

Chana masala is a Northern Indian chickpea-and-tomato stew with lots of spices and aromatics. I actually had most of the spices already. Cumin? We use it in Middle Eastern cooking all the time. Cayenne pepper? Paprika? Pantry staples. I ground my whole coriander seeds that came with my spice rack. I did have to buy garam masala, and I traded Jessica half of that for half of her turmeric.

Once you stock up on the spices, they last forever a while, and you can cook this up for dinner, without going shopping, in 30 minutes.

If you’re sensitive to heat, reduce the cayenne pepper – I put a lot, since I like spicy foods and I didn’t have the fresh chili pepper that the original recipe called for. I did have some red peppers, so I added that, which was totally unnecessary.

Chana Masala, adapted from smitten kitchen who adapted from who adapted from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe
serves 2


  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 red pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, paprika and garam masala.
  3. Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan.
  4. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in salt and lemon juice.
  6. Serve over rice.