This easy Chana Masala recipe makes eating a healthy Indian meal at home so quick and delicious! Chana masala is simple, satisfying, hearty, and wholesome. It’s delicious with a side of rice or quinoa, scooped up with naan bread, or as part of a Buddha bowl style meal.
My family has been on an Indian food kick lately. A few months ago I was all about the Thai coconut chickpea curries like this Yellow Curry with Chickpeas and Roasted Vegetables. One night recently we decided to take the night off and go to our local Indian restaurant, Flavor of India. With an overtired little one, eating at a restaurant was just not going to happen, so Yummy Hubby took our meal to go on the way home from work. I love that Flavor of India here in Santa Barbara offers online ordering and many vegetarian and vegan options. It had been ages since I’d had a good Indian meal, and it reminded me how much I love this cuisine. While Yummy Hubby gets Benghan Barta, a roasted eggplant dish, my go-to is almost always Chana Masala.
Chana Masala is like a chickpea curry. Flavor of India describes it simply as “Chickpeas in a specially spiced sauce.” After enjoying Chana Masala at restaurants, and even grabbing the freezer version from Trader Joe’s, I couldn’t wait to try making this classic Indian recipe at home. I can usually create a recipe just by looking over the ingredients list on a store bought package, but chana masala turned out to be a little more difficult. Though chana masala is mostly simple ingredients like onions, tomatoes, and chickpeas, it also includes spices that are not typically found in American kitchens. The most unlikely spice being Amchur, which is also known as dried mango powder. Amuchr gives recipes like chana masala and other Indian dishes a sharp tangy bite. You can read more about it here on Food52. Chana masala is meant to be a casual fuss-free meal, and I wanted to keep this recipe easy and fuss-free, so I’ve made it with ingredients you can find more easily. The bulk of the traditional chana masala spices are easy to find: cumin, turmeric, and garam masala are all available at most grocery stores. Garam masala might be a new one in your kitchen. Garam masala is actually a blend of spices. If you would prefer to make your own blend, there are recipes online. I found this chana masala recipe to be just as delicious, but if you’d like to make a more authentic version, feel free to add a pinch of dried mango powder and omit the lemon juice I’ve included in the recipe. Cumin seeds are also commonly used, but again, since I didn’t have any in my spice cabinet, they weren’t included here.
I love the simplicity of dishes like this chana masala. It simmers away in one pan while some rice or quinoa does its thing in the Instant Pot. I love using the saucy chickpeas as a starting point for a Buddha bowl style dinner. This time I’ve added avocado and roasted butternut squash, but you could use any veggies you happen to have. An Indian chutney or sauce would be great to add too. Make one and tag me on Instagram @yummymummykitchen because I love to see what you’re making and get new ideas!
This recipe wasn’t the easiest to photograph, but the video is a better example of how this recipe comes together. Don’t miss it!