Chana Masala – Easy Spicy Chickpea Curry

| 04/19/2015 | Reply

If you recall, I was raised in San Francisco. Yup, one of the few natives of the City by the Bay – because everyone else seems to have moved there from someplace else.

Growing up with a multicultural horde as my friends, I was privileged to be exposed to the languages, cultural traditions, and the foods of people from every corner of the world. I learned to appreciate eating (then cooking) foods from Ethiopia, Japan, Korea, India, Hungary, Mexico, Peru, the Phillipines, and Italy. Not to mention the special cuisine associated with various regions of the United States.

I guess I ate a lot of really good food growing up.

Anyway, I say all that as way of explanation because when people come to this blog, they get confused by the eclectic collection of recipes offered. I’m all over the place with what I like to eat, and the variety of recipes posted here reflect that.

A few days ago I had a craving for some Indian food. In particular, I wanted some chana masala (some people spell it channa masala, others call it chole masala), some chapati, and whatever else as veggies. I just settled on a salad though.

So on Wednesday evening I put some chickpeas on for the overnight soak. Yesterday evening I poured off the water and cooked them in my pressure cooker, using some of the thawed vegetable stock I’d made a week or so ago. Dug out my oil and spices. Did all that about 3:00 pm, then went to the store to get some more whole wheat flour for my chapatis, and a couple of Serrano peppers.

This recipe is fast and easy, and uses some reasonably easy to find ingredients. You can get a delicious meal on the table in under an hour. Around 6:00 pm I started cooking the chana masala and chapati bread, and even with fooling around talking on the phone, I was stuffing my face at 7:00. I’ll tell you what I did step by step, but here’s the finished product

Indian chickpea curry chana masala vegan channa masala recipe

Deliciously spicy, nutritious, filling. OMG I was dancing around the kitchen so pleased with myself. This recipe makes enough for 3, maybe 4 people if they aren’t big eaters or you serve the chana masala as a side dish instead of the main course. So if you’re serving a family you would probably want to double it.

Chana Masala - Easy Spicy Chickpea Curry
Created by:
Recipe Type: Entrees
Cuisine: Vegan
Number Servings: 4
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.
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.

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Category: Entrees

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