Classic Chana Masala Recipe

Classic Chana Masala Recipe

Posted on Mar 10, 2024

Tangy, Spicy, and Delicious Chana Masala Recipe for You!

Call it chana masala or chole masala; this dish brings the authentic flavours of North Indian cuisine to your table. White chickpeas made with a whole bunch of spices in the style of a Punjabi curry are bound to impress your taste buds. A bowl of chana masala with puffed Bhature, poori, naan, jeera rice, plain Basmati rice or any other main dish will be a hit for both lunch and dinner. On special days, chana masala can be placed in your breakfast spread or evening snacks as well!

While there are no second thoughts about this dish being a flavour bomb, the white chickpeas are protein-packed. What else? It can be completely vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. When the chana masala dish is creating such a buzz in the culinary world, how can we miss the chance to give you an easy recipe to make at home?

How to Make Chana Masala?

Chana masala has multiple versions. Some like it spicier, while others prefer it tangier. Keeping everything in mind, we have a recipe that combines authentic flavours. 

Ingredients for this Chana Masala Recipe

There are four sets of ingredients that you will need. 

For Chickpea Preparation: 
• Dried white chickpeas (kabuli chana, white chole, or garbanzo beans) - 1 cup or 200 grams
• Water - 3 cups (to soak the chickpeas) and 2.5 to 3 cups (to cook the chickpeas)
• Dried Indian gooseberry (amla) - 2 to 3 or black tea bag - 1 (optional)
• Salt - ½ teaspoon or to taste

For Chana Masala Powder:
• Cardamoms - 2 black
• Cinnamon - 1 inch
• Black peppercorns - 3 to 4
• Cloves - 2
• Indian bay leaf (tej patta) - 1 medium-sized
• Carom seeds (ajwain) - ¼ teaspoon
• Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
• Coriander seeds - 1 teaspoon
• Fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon
• Dry pomegranate seeds - ½ teaspoon
• Kashmiri dry red chillies - 1 to 2

For Chana Masala Gravy:
• Finely chopped onions - 1 medium-sized or ⅓ cup
• Finely chopped tomatoes - 1 medium-sized or ½ cup
• Ginger garlic paste ½ teaspoon or small garlic cloves - 2 to 3 and ginger - ½ inch (finely crushed)
• Turmeric powder - ¼ teaspoon
• Red chilli powder - ½ teaspoon
• Garam Masala - ¼ teaspoon (optional)
• Dry mango powder (amchur powder) - ¾ to 1 teaspoon (optional only when you are not adding dry pomegranate seeds)
• Slit green chillies - 2 to 3
• Stock from the chickpea boil or fresh water 1 to 1.25 cups
• Oil/Ghee - 1.5 to 2 tablespoons
• Salt - to taste

For Garnishing:
• Chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) - 2 to 3 tablespoons
• Ginger juliennes - ½ to 1 inch
• Sliced or chopped onion - 1 medium-sized
• Sliced or chopped tomato - 1 medium-sized
• Sliced or quartered lemon or lime - 1

The recipe will take around 45 minutes to complete, apart from soaking the chickpeas. With these measurements, you can serve 5. Adjust as per your requirement. 

Step 1: Preparing the Chickpeas

Rinse the chickpeas nicely with water a few times to remove any dirt. 
Soak for 8 to 9 hours or overnight. The chickpeas should double in size when soaked properly. 

Drain the water and put in a pressure cooker with fresh water. 
Throw in the dried amlas or the tea bag if you want the authentic dark colour in the dish.

Sprinkle salt and let it cook for 12 to 15 whistles or until it becomes soft. If you see any scum, remove it using a spoon. 

You should be able to mash it with a spatula or spoon. 

Take off the heat once cooked, remove the dried amla or tea bag, and keep aside. 

Step 2: Making the Chana Masala Powder

Heat a pan on low flame. Dry roast all the spices mentioned above in the list of ingredients for chana masala powder. 

Stir continuously to ensure the spices do not burn. Once they are aromatic, turn off the flame and let them cool down a bit. Make a powder in a mixer grinder

Step 3: Cooking the Chana Masala

Heat some oil in a pan or a kadhai

Saute the ginger garlic paste until the raw smell is gone. 

Add the chopped onions, followed by the tomatoes. 

Stir the mix until you see oil leaving the sides. 

Now, turn the heat to a low and add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and the dry chana masala powder you made previously. 

Then, add in the chickpeas. 

Sprinkle salt and add the stock or water. Stir everything nicely, taste and adjust the salt, cover, and let it boil for a while.

Reduce the gravy to your desired consistency. Sprinkle the dry mango powder if you do not have any pomegranate seeds in the dry powder. 

Step 4: Garnish and Serve

The very last step of this chickpea masala recipe is to garnish, where you are free to experiment. For the traditional version, squeeze some lemon juice, sprinkle the coriander leaves, and place a few ginger juliennes. 

Serve hot with your favourite bread or rice preparation. 

Important Tips!
The key flavours of the chana masala depend on the spices you are using. Try to find good quality whole spices to get the best aroma and flavour. 

If you are using store-bought chana masala powder, taste it and adjust the amount as you see fit. 

Adding a pinch of baking powder while boiling the chickpea will help to soften the chana nicely and quickly. 

If you do not have much time in hand or did not pre-soak the chickpeas, you can use canned chickpeas. Drain the excess liquid and use three cups of chickpeas.


Chana masala originated in Punjab and has made its way to many other regions over the years. Now, you can make this Punjab-special dish at home with some basic ingredients that are already present in your kitchen. Enjoy!


1. Can I skip the onion when making chana masala?

Onions add a bit of texture to the gravy. However, you can skip it.

2. What if I do not have any amchur powder or pomegranate seeds at home?

The two ingredients are added for the tangy taste. If you don't have any of them, use lemon juice to your taste. 

3. What should you do if the chana masala becomes too thick?

Add some hot water to the chana masala and boil for a few minutes. Add salt to adjust the taste.

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