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Chana masala (chickpeas curry)

In my opinion, this simple Indian recipe is the gateway to Indian cuisine.

I learned to make this dish from one of my husband’s co-workers, who later became a good friend. She explained the essence of Indian cooking and even shared a couple of baggies of her good spices with me the first we had dinner with her and her husband. And thus my love of making Indian cuisine began. The magic is in the spices themselves, and simply learning how to combine them, and cooking whole spices over hot oil and later grinding them in some manner is the basis for many Indian dishes. This recipe became a favorite of my family and I made it many times when the kiddos were still home.

This recipe is super simple and is rich, satisfying, filling and just a tad bit spicy. Omit the hot pepper if you don’t like spice.


1 medium onion, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp ground cumin

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can chickpeas

1 tsp garam masala

Pinch of hot pepper

Salt to taste


Sauté onion in olive oil in saucepan over medium heat until translucent. Sprinkle with salt. Add cumin to onion and cook for an additional 1 minute. Add tomatoes and then garam masala and hot pepper. Cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove mixture from pan and blend in blender or smallest Ninja until it is the consistency of a thick sauce. Return to pan on medium low heat. Add drained chickpeas and cook for 5-10 minutes more. Serve over rice or with pita or naan bread. Garnish with cilantro. Also great with raita, an Indian condiment very similar to tzatziki sauce.


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