Chana Masala

Chole, AKA: Chana Masala is a chickpea dish cooked in a spicy tomato sauce.
Edits by Jimi – Based on a recipe by Manjula, who I can’t recommend highly enough for Indian cuisine.

RTFM: refer to Foot Notes that correspond to the superscripted numbers

Serves 2 – 4.


  • At least a 4qt pot with lid
    • Splatter screen couldn’t hurt
  • Blender or Immersion Blender (or mortar and pestle if you want to get really old-school)
  • Microplane is nice
  • A sharp knife 🙂


  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas (aka: kable chana, Garbanzo beans, chick peas)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Pinch of asafetida (AKA: Hing – substitute with 1 small white onion and 1 cloves of minced garlic) 1
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon gram flour
    • (aka: Besan, Garbanzo bean or chick pea flour )
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala 2
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro (aka: Green coriander)
  • 1 large tomato (or 28 oz can of tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste 3
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies


  1. Drain the water out of the can of chickpeas and wash the chickpeas well.
  2. Blend the tomatoes, garlic, green chilies and ginger to make a puree.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the onions and cumin seeds.
  4. After the onions are lightly browned, add the gram flour and stir-fry for a minute.
  5. Add the tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder and cook for about 4 minutes on medium heat.
  6. The mixture will separate and will reduce by about half
  7. Add the chickpeas and a half cup of water and let it cook for 7 to 8 minutes on medium heat, covered.
  8. Mash about ¼ of the chickpeas against the side of the pan to thicken the sauce.
    • Add more water as needed to adjust the consistency, and let it cook for few more minutes on low heat. More water added = more salt needed.
  9. Add the garam masala and cilantro. Let it cook for another minute.
  10. Serve garnished with cilantro leaf (coriander) and/or minced red onion. 4
    • With some naan, and/or basmati, of course.


  1. Hing is also known as Devil’s Dung, because before fully cooked, it smells like Satan walked in, took a massive shit in the middle of your kitchen, without breaking eye-contact, and then invited himself to dinner. So… maybe sub for the onion and garlic 🙂
  2. Garam Masala is also found at organic shops/ethnic food markets. World Market also carries it. Update: I have even recently seen it at Publix.
  3. You can use a garlic/ginger paste, which is easy to make and useful to keep on hand: equal-parts shredded and mixed with a little neutral oil (refined safflower is excellent), and keep refrigerated for about 1-2 weeks.
  4. I usually double this recipe. It freezes/reheats well.

There are several kinds of Masala (even variants of Garam Masala). It’s sort of like Ras El Hanout, which is the “top-shelf” selection of a spice shop, mixed. Experiment and find your favorites.

Love, Jimi

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