You know that “big pot of beans” meal prep guides are always urging you to make at the start of the week? This simple chana masala is perfect in that capacity. The fragrant, Indian-spiced chickpea stew is great over rice, spooned into flatbread with creamy avocado, topped with a crispy-edged fried egg, or served alongside a simple salad or sautéed greens.
I first tried chana masala at NYC’s Bombay Sandwich Co. I immediately fell in love with how rich, fragrant, and comforting it was and knew I’d have to try cooking it at home. To this day, it was one of the most delicious uses of chickpeas I’ve experienced.
There are hundreds of thousands of versions of this dish online. I called this one “simple” because my goal was to keep the ingredient list minimal and the cooking time short. This version is designed for speedy weeknight cooking for those of us who aren’t too well-versed in Indian cooking but are starting to experiment with its flavors (i.e. me).
Most chana masala recipes call for garam masala plus a lot of whole spices. I shortened the list of spices considerably, relying mostly on the garam masala for flavor. So although this version is not super “authentic,” it is practical in that sense.
My recipe also includes raisins, which are definitely not authentic. I love them here because their sweetness balances the acidity of the tomatoes and lemon. However, if you’re a raisin-hater (I can sympathize – I live with one), just leave them out.
Key Ingredient: Garam Masala
Garam masala is a traditional spice blend made of cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, and cumin. It’s rich, perfume-y, and warming, and you’ll find lots of ways to use it up. (I love it in stews and roasted vegetables).
Garam masala is not the same as yellow “curry powder”, which typically refers to a spice blend known as madras curry. Although there is some overlap between their ingredients, yellow curry powder contains turmeric and has a completely different flavor profile.
Home-Cooked Chickpeas vs. Canned
You can use canned chickpeas here, but I recommend cooking them from scratch if you have time. The texture of canned chickpeas tends to be mushy; plus, they’re usually over-salted and have a slightly metallic taste. Chickpeas cooked from scratch hold their shape much better and you get to control the amount of salt you use.
Chana masala freezes perfectly, so I recommend doubling the batch – your future self will thank you.Print
This easy chana masala recipe is perfect for meal prep and can be served in a variety of ways. Plus, it freezes perfectly.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 4 cups of cooked chickpeas (or 2 1/2 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed) (See Note)
- One 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ⅓ cup white raisins
- Scallions, to serve
- Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook until softened and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, and pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas, tomato sauce, water, lemon juice, turmeric, pepper, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the raisins. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve with scallions.
To cook chickpeas from scratch, soak them in a large volume of water for 8 to 24 hours. Drain, place in a large pot, cover with at least 2 inches of water, and season with a generous pinch of salt. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer with the lid ajar until the chickpeas are cooked through, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Calories: 268
- Fiber: 10.1 g
- Protein: 11.1 g
Keywords: chana masala, chickpeas, indian