Enjoy this DELICIOUS and Easy Indian Chana Masala tonight! Made in just one pot in under 30 minutes, everyone will love this vegan and gluten-free dinner. Serve with rice or vegan naan.
I don’t know if you know this, but I LOVE Indian Food.
However, I don’t have a lot of Indian recipes on the blog. There are a few. You can find Vegan Tikka Masala, Palak Paneer, and Red Lentil and Cauliflower Curry, but in truth, I don’t always feel confident in my ability to make AMAZING Indian food and so when the craving hits, I tend to go out for Indian food.
There are some exceptions, of course. For example, I love the recipes above and do make at least one of them once a month. But my go-to homemade Indian dish is this Easy Chana Masala recipe. I’ve been making this Chana Masala recipe for over 13 years when I first went vegan and bought The Asian Vegan Cookbook (an AMAZING resource if you love Asian food). Over the decade+ I’ve adapted and changed the Chana Masala recipe to make it my own and today, 13 years later, I am finally sharing it with you all!
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
What is Chana Masala?
Literally meaning mix-spiced small-chickpeas, Chana Masala is a chickpea curry that originated in India as common street food. Chickpeas, onions, and tomatoes are stewed together in a rich curry sauce that is spiced with garam masala, coriander, cumin, and turmeric and it is served over rice or with flatbread for a super delicious and super simple meal.
Chana Masala is naturally vegan and gluten-free, making this one of my go-to orders at Indian restaurants.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Chana Masala is super simple to make. It can be made in two simple steps, in just one pot, and in about 30 minutes!
Here is everything you need.
- Oil- I recommend coconut oil but any high heat oil will do.
- Fresh Ginger
- Spices – Chana Masala requires 5 core spices: cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne Pepper, and Garam Masala. Garam Masala is a spice blend made up of about 10 different spices and is essential for Indian cooking. You should be able to find Garam Masala at most well stocked grocery stores or you can pick some up online.
- Chickpeas – This recipe calls for canned chickpeas. If you would rather use dried chickpeas, you need about 1 1/2 cups.
- Diced Tomatoes (Canned)
- Lemon Juice
- Fresh Cilantro
Step One – Sauté the Onions
Heat oil in the bottom of the soup pot and add onions. Sauté them until they are fragrant. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for another minute until the aroma of the ginger and garlic fill your kitchen.
Stir in the spices to coat the onions.
Step Two: Add Remaining Ingredients
Once the onions are coated in spiced, add the tomatoes, chickpeas, lemon juice, and water.
Bring the curry to a light simmer and simmer for 20-25 minutes until tomatoes and chickpeas are cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the garam masala and cilantro and remove from heat.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
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Serving and Storing
Serving – Serve over rice, cauliflower rice, or vegan naan. Top it with fresh cilantro.
Storing – Store uneaten curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. To serve, pull it out of the freezer the night before to thaw. Gently reheat over low heat on the stovetop.
Tips and Tricks
- Use fresh ginger and garlic. Rather than powdered spices, fresh ginger and garlic add so much additional flavor to this dish.
- If you want to use dried chickpeas, use about 1 1/2 cups. Soak them for 8 hours prior to boiling them.
- For a grain-free alternative, serve this curry dish over cauliflower rice
Frequently Asked Questions
For sure! Oftentimes curry is better on day two, after the flavors have been able to marinate for a bit. You can prepare this curry up to 3 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. However, do not make the rice until you are ready to serve.
Not typically but if you would like to add additional spice, feel free to add extra cayenne powder. Likewise, to reduce the spice, you can omit it altogether.
Garam masala is essential for this dish but it can be hard to find. It is a spice blend made up of about 10 different spices. You should be able to find Garam Masala at most well stocked grocery stores, make your own, or pick some up online.
Yes! Chana Masala is naturally vegan and gluten-free!
More Vegan Curry Recipes
- Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry
- Eggplant and Chickpea Curry
- Thai Sweet Potato Curry
- Thai Green Curry
- Pumpkin Peanut Curry with Tofu
Check out all my vegan curry recipes for some easy vegan dinner inspiration.
Vegan Chana Masala
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. coriander
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 (14 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
- 1 cup uncooked rice, (optional)
- If using, cook the rice according to package instructions. This will differ depending on what kind of rice you choose.
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until onions are fragrant and translucent. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute.
- Stir in the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and salt, stirring to coat the garlic/onion mixture.
- Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, lemon juice, and water. Bring to a light simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes until tomatoes and chickpeas are cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in garam masala and fresh cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Remove from heat and serve over rice or vegan naan.
- Is chana masala spicy? Not typically but if you would like to add additional spice, feel free to add extra cayenne powder. Likewise, to reduce the spice, you can omit it altogether.
- When can I find garam masala? Garam masala is essential for this dish but it can be hard to find. It is a spice blend made up of about 10 different spices. You should be able to find Garam Masala at most well stocked grocery stores, make your own, or pick some up online.