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Chana masala - chickpea curry

Written By Reena on 10 Sept 2010 | 05:00

I remember the first time I tasted this dish.  I must have been five years old and my parents had taken me to visit some family friends.  They served it with a soft, fluffy bread called bhatura.  I remember loving the mellow flavours and the soft texture of the chickpeas.  I also remember all of the adults being astounded that I was eating.

Yes, it is hard to believe that as a child I didn't eat.  I don't think I was a fussy eater I simply wasn't interested in food.  It just seemed like such a waste of time when you could be reading an Enid Blyton book instead.  Now I spend all of my time thinking about my last meal, my next meal or (when I can smell something particularly delicious) someone else's meal.  There are times (e.g. when I'm trying to fit into a slinky dress) that I wish I could turn off my love of food and return to the days when I could obtain all of my nutrition from the Famous Five (although this may explain why I am only 5 foot tall when both my parents are above average height) but mostly I just continue rummaging in the kitchen while deciding what to eat next.

Serves 2-3 as a main course

  • 1 tablespoon light tasting vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 1 green chilli - finely chopped
  • 5 grams ginger - peeled and grated
  • 227 grams canned chopped tomatoes
  • 410 grams canned chick peas - drained (drained weight: 240 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander-cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
To garnish
  • A handful of chopped coriander
  • Chopped onion - to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a pan.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and fry for a minute or so.
  3. Add the chopped onion and let it cook on a lowish heat until very soft.  This will take in the region of 15 minutes.  Stir the onions occasionally to prevent them from colouring too much as the flavour will change.  The aim here is just to remove the crunchiness of the onion.
  4. Now add the garlic, green chilli and ginger.  Stir and let everything cook for a minute or two.
  5. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, yoghurt, chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala,  coriander-cumin powder and salt. Stir well.
  6. Place a lid on the pan and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  7. Garnish with coriander and chopped onion and serve with bread, naan or bhatura.

About Reena


  1. Thank you for this recipe, I've been trying different Channa Masala recipes trying to get this dish perfect, this is one of my favorite foods, I can honestly survive on this alone for a few days.

  2. Hi Kemi. Thank you for the comment - I hope this recipe lives up to your expectations! Reena

  3. Really want to try this recipe! Chickpeas are one of my fav go to dishes, easy and taste yummy with very minimal effort, thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Chai. Lovely to hear from you. The majority of my dishes are minimal effort and very easy - I think people just think they look difficult because of the long ingredient list! Hope you give it a twirl. Reena