Chana Masala-ing my way into cooking Indian food

Over a week ago, I decided to make some Indian inspired food.  I had that craving, that physical *need*, for curry, and I didn’t want to order in. So, instead, I made this:

Mmmm, chana masala!

My initial attempt to make chana masala went extremely well. If you have never made Indian food before, as was the case with me, I would recommend this as a starter dish.  It was honestly incredibly easy, straightforward and even after freezing and reheating, it continues to be delicious.

The only problem I had is that the recipe I found online called for ingredients I didn’t have on hand and that I couldn’t find: armchoor powder, cumin seeds and a hot green chili pepper (these are around…there just weren’t any at the two grocery stores I visited).  So I simply left them out and hoped for the best.  As I say, I lucked out…the dish turned out quite lovely…although I wonder how much better it would have been had I been able to find all the ingredients.  Ah well, that’s just a reason to make it again!

Click here for the recipe I used or scroll to the bottom of the post.

Everything about this recipe was straightforward and easy…the most complex part is the preparation.  Well, for me that is.  I still take a long time to chop/mince/and otherwise prepare my ingredients.

But once the preparation part is over…this recipe is beyond simple.  Start by sauteeing your onions and garlic.

Once your onions are tender and browning, add the coriander, cumin (not the roasted cumin…considering I didn’t have any anyway…), cayenne and turmeric.

At this point, the fragrance of the mixture is awesome although it’s quite dry.  But that’s okay, moisture is coming!  Stir the dry mixture just enough to fully cover the onions and garlic, I think I stirred barely 30 seconds, and then add the tomatoes.

At this point, I added a small splash of water to up the moisture just a bit.  Cook the tomatoes until they begin to brown.  It is at that point you add the chickpeas, water, and remaining spices.

Stir it up until well mixed and then cover and allow to cook for about 10 minutes.  In that time, the above mixture turns into this:

Final step? Uncover and add the grated ginger.
At this point, I re-covered the dish and allowed it to sit on Low for an extra 5-10 minutes as I was waiting for the other portion of my meal to cook, so as long as you keep an eye on the moisture, you can allow it to cook a little longer.

So there you have it.  So easy, so straightforward, so yummy, and hey, so good for you! 😉


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 6 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

Ingredients I didn’t have but which were called for:

  • 2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon amchoor powder
  • 1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced

To see the original recipe w/instructions for the above missing ingredients, visit:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add onions and garlic and sauté over a medium heat until browned (3-5 minutes).
  3. Turn heat to medium-low.
  4. Add the coriander, cumin (not the roasted cumin), cayenne and turmeric.
  5. Stir for a few seconds.
  6. Add the tomatoes.
  7. Cook the tomatoes until browned lightly.
  8. Add chickpeas and a cup of water and stir.
  9. Add paprika, garam masala, salt and lemon juice.
  10. Cook covered for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the cover add the ginger.
  12. Stir and cook uncovered for 30 seconds.

About Amanda Pants

A bit odd, a bit eccentric, a bit loud. Kinda goth, kinda alt, kinda geeky. Crochet/cooking/reading/writing/big stompy boots/journals and a Cheshire grin! All recorded on Wordpress ;) Learning to cook with a Dash of Daring and a Pinch of Panic: Sewing and fibre arts, creations made by moi: Random rants and other bits and pieces: View all posts by Amanda Pants

3 responses to “Chana Masala-ing my way into cooking Indian food

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