Chana masala recipe

Indian staple. Modified from a recipe I found in a cookbook my sister had, the details of which we now can’t find. Serve with homemade roti, or basmati rice with coriander seeds, made like this.


  • Two tins (cans) of chickpeas
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Fresh (or frozen) green chilli
  • Oil
  • Two onions
  • Three tomatoes (or a tin/can of chopped tomatoes)
  • One tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste
  • One teaspoon of garam masala
  • One teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • Half teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • Salt
  • Coriander (cilantro)


Dry-roast the cumin seeds, watching them like a heron to make sure they don’t burn. When they’re browned, grind them to a powder (bhuna jeera).

Meanwhile, slice the onions thinly and put them and some oil in a large frying pain on a medium heat. Cook the hell out of them, stirring frequently, until they’re soft, golden brown, and much reduced in volume — at least ten minutes.

While you’re doing that, blend the tomatoes to a purée (or open the tin). Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Grate some ginger (no need to peel) and several cloves of garlic. De-seed the chilli and chop it finely.

To the frying pan containing the onions, add the ginger, garlic, and chilli, and cook for another minute or two. Then add the tomato purée and tomato paste, stir to mix, and cook for another ten minutes until rich and thick.

Add the garam masala, at least a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of turmeric, and the roast cumin powder (bhuna jeera) you made, and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the chickpeas, and water to loosen.

Cook for another five minutes, adjusting any seasoning as needed. Chana masala benefits from a generous dose of salt.

Serve with a handful of chopped coriander (cilantro) and, if you like, a little chopped raw onion.