Chana Masala - Easy Spicy Chickpea Curry
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
This recipe for chana masala, a spicy Indian chickpea curry, is fast and easy. It smells wonderful as it simmers along on the stove. Make it as mild or spicy as you like by upping or reducing the number of Serrano peppers. Serve with Basmati rice and/or chapati bread and vegetables of choice as a main dish/entree, or as a side dish.
Created by:
Recipe Type: Entrees
Cuisine: Vegan
Number Servings: 4
What You Need
  • 1-1/4 cups dry white chickpeas
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
For the sauce
  • 2 large tomatoes (I like big juicy Heirlooms or use 3 Roma tomatoes)
  • 1 Tablespoon ketchup
  • ¼ teaspoon raw or beet sugar
  • 2 Vidalia sweet or other mild onions
  • 1-2 Serrano or Jalapeno peppers (cut in half lengthwise, stem removed)
  • 1.5" piece of ginger, skin scraped off
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
For the spice mix
  • 1 Tablespoon chana masala seasoning blend (I like MDH brand best)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
For the pan
  • 2 Tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
How to Do It
  1. Soak chickpeas overnight (at least 8 hours) in filtered water. Pour off water, rinse, and strain.
  2. Place chickpeas and vegetable stock in pressure cooker, and cook for 4 or 5 whistles. I prefer mine a bit firm as they finish cooking in the masala sauce, but if you prefer softer chickpeas, go for 5 whistles.
  3. Remove pressure cooker from heat and allow to cool before removing top. Retain the cooking broth.
  4. Meanwhile prepare the other ingredients. Place tomatoes in food processor, add sugar and ketchup. Blend until smooth, pour into bowl and set aside.
  5. Add onions (cut into quarters), trimmed Serrano pepper(s), ginger, garlic and salt to food processor. Blend until mixture is a smooth paste, about 90 seconds. Remove from food processor and set aside.
  6. Remove ½ cup of cooked chickpeas from pressure cooker and place it into food processor. Pulse 6-8 times until coarse meal forms. Do not blend to a paste, you want some texture here.
  7. In a large heavy bottomed pot, melt vegan butter and oil over medium heat. When hot, add bay leaf, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds and stir continuously until seeds sizzle and pop.
  8. Reduce heat to medium-low, then stir in onion paste mixture. Stir very frequently for about 10 minutes or until onion mixture turns a nice golden brown.
  9. Pour in the blended tomato mixture and the spice blend, and stir continuously 3-4 minutes. You will see the oil start to separate.
  10. At that point you want to add all your chickpeas to the pot, along with about 1.5 cups of cooking water and additional salt as required.
  11. Let mixture simmer, uncovered, on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until flavors are blended, chickpeas are tender, and chana masala is thickened. Remove bay leaf.
  12. Garnish with coriander leaves, minced red onion, or grated ginger if desired.
To reduce the heat of your chana masala, remove seeds from Serrano or Jalapeno peppers. If you do not have an Asian market near you to buy the seasoning mix, you can order it online below.
Recipe by Blacks Going Vegan! at