Chana Masala. (Vansh A. Gupta/Siliconeer)

A staple of North Indian palate, that’s spicy, has a lot of protein, and is deceivingly delicious. Chef Sanjay Patel shows you how to make Chana Masala at home.


For Chana Masala

  • ¾ cup chana or chickpeas raw (or 2¼ cups soaked or canned)
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 pinch soda – (baking soda or cooking soda) skip if using canned 

For frying and blending

  • 1 tbsp. oil or as needed
  • 1½ cup onions (thinly sliced, about 2 to 3 medium)
  • ¾ to 1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1¼ to 1½ cup tomatoes (chopped, 2 medium)
  • ½ to ¾ tbsp. red chili powder (adjust as desired)
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric 
  • Salt as needed 

For Chana Masala gravy

  • 2 tbsp. oil or as needed
  • 1 small bay leaf 
  • 1inch cinnamon 
  • 2 to 3 cloves 
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms 
  • ½ cup onions 
  • 1 green chili slit
  • 1 to 1½ tsp garam masala 
  • 1½ tsp. coriander powder 
  • 1 tsp. dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 pinch amchur 
  • ¼ cup. cilantro chopped finely

Chana Masala: Wash chickpeas thoroughly and soak for 6 to 8 hours. Add them to a pot or pressure cooker. Pour 1½ cups water and add a pinch of soda. You can also cook them in a pot adding more water as needed.

Cook until soft for 2 to 3 whistles. When you bite the chana it must be soft and should not feel a bite.

Frying and blending: While the chana cooks, sauté onions until golden in 1 tbsp. oil. Sauté ginger garlic paste as well to remove the raw smell. Fry chopped tomatoes with salt. Make sure tomatoes turn soft and the raw smell goes away. Sauté again along with chili powder and turmeric till the raw smell goes off.

Blend once cooled to a smooth paste. Optional – You can also add 1 tbsp. cooked chana to the mixture and blend until smooth without water. This makes the gravy thick and delicious. 

Final preparation: Sauté cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and cardamom in 2 tbsp. oil. Optional – Add chopped onions and chilli. Fry until golden. Next transfer the blended paste. Stir well. Add garam masala powder, coriander powder and sauté until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.

Add the cooked chickpeas and then the stock (chana cooked water) as needed. You may need to use up all. If needed pour little more water to bring it to a consistency.

Bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency. Taste the gravy and add more garam masala and salt if needed. Cook further for another 2 to 3 mins.

Add fenugreek leaves and amchur. Stir and switch off. Add chopped coriander leaves. Cover and set aside until served.

Chana masala is ready to serve with rice, onion and lemon wedges.