Chana Masala or Punjabi Chole or Chole Masala or Pindi Chole – this quintessentially Indian chickpea curry is known by many names. It is a Punjabi dish from the northern parts of India. Fiery spices and chili can make it as hot and spicy as you want it. Or you can tone them down to suit your palette. When served with hot rotis, parathas, naan or rice, this makes a satisfying and filling vegetarian or vegan meal. And it is good for you, as you will see for yourself (surprise ahead).
Any Indian restaurant menu is bound to have chana masala on it. Chickpeas are wonderfully versatile and I love using them in salads, curries, falafel or just about anything. I blogged about my Zero Oil Chana Masala a few years ago, but I hadn’t posted the traditional recipe yet. So I finally decided its time!
There is a rustic way to do this, and I often go for the quick and rustic version. But if you want a thick sauce or masala curry, you must use a food processor or blender to make a masala paste. The trick is in frying the masala paste patiently until it is cooked through. Canned chickpeas and canned diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes can make this even easier to make on the go. I have done that many a weeknight when I didn’t feel like cooking much. But if you want a chana masala in its real glory, take the extra effort to make a spice paste.
My recipe uses all fresh ingredients and this is a ‘from scratch’ recipe. I always always advocate using fresh ginger and garlic. Garam Masala can be substituted for the whole spices, but it won’t really give the same flavor.
Amchur or dry mango powder is another ethnic ingredient that will make this dish shine.
And the Surprise! I have long intended to include nutrition info along with my recipes. I am not sure if I can do it for all the old ones, but I will definitely try to get the nutrition info henceforth. Now remember that I am not a nutrition or health professional, so use it only as a guideline. I am using a third party tool so the information is also largely dependent on how the tool works to calculate nutrition info.
I hope that giving nutrition info will help me and my readers get an idea of what they are eating, especially when it comes to Indian recipes. The serving size here is 1 cup which is a lot, but I think a good eater will at least consume that much as part of the meal, especially when it is the main dish.
Hot and spicy Chana Masala recipe is here –
Chana Masala or Punjabi Chole or Chole Masala or Pindi Chole is a Punjabi dish from the northern parts of India. Chana Masala makes a warm and satisfying filling vegetarian or vegan meal.
- 4 cups Chickpeas boiled (garbanzo beans)
- 5 Tomatoes medium (like plum or Roma)
- 1 cup Onions, raw
- 2 tsp Garlic
- 2 tsp Ginger Root
- 2 dry red kashmiri chili
- 1 dry bay leaf
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 5-6 Cardamom pods or 1 tsp ground
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 5-6 Cloves or 1 tsp ground
- 1 tsp Coriander seed
- 1 tsp Cumin seed
- 4 Tbsp Sunflower Oil
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp amchur or dry mango powder
- 1/4 tsp black salt optional
- 1 tsp Ajwain or carom seeds
- Soak about 2 cups of chickpeas overnight. Pressure cook them until soft. You can alternately use canned chickpeas such as Green Giant, Bush, 365 Organic etc.
- Soak the dry Kashmiri chilis minus seeds for at least an hour before making the masala paste. Kashmiri chilis are not too hot and give a nice red color. You can substitute these with 1-2 Tbsp of paprika.
- Grate fresh garlic cloves - at least 5-6 large ones to get about 2 tsp of garlic. Grate ginger.
- Chop or slice onions to get at least a cup of them.
- Add the chilis, ginger, garlic, onions, and spices (either powdered or whole) to a food processor or blender to make a thick paste. I prefer a food processor like Cuisinart or Philips for this because it allows you to add very little water.
- Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a thick bottom sauce pan or Kadai. Add the masala paste to it and fry until oil leaves the sides. This will take 10-15 minutes. Keep adding splashes of water to prevent the paste from sticking.
- Puree the tomatoes and add the fresh puree to the masala paste. Fry it for some time until well mixed.
- Add boiled chickpeas to the sauce and mix well.
- Add some water to get desired thickness of sauce. The sauce will thicken a bit.
- Add salt, amchur, sugar and cayenne pepper or red chili powder if you want more heat.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to mix well.
- Give an optional 'tadka' or tempering just before serving. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a small tadka wok. As the oil becomes hot, add some ajwain and switch off heat.You might add a pinch of cayenne or paprika to the hot oil for color.
- Pour the hot tadka on top of the chana masala. Serve hot with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Chana Masala makes a complete meal served with some rice. You can tone down the oil here by omitting the 'tadka' which is not really needed for every day cooking.
- The nutrition info assumes 4 TBsp oil and fresh ingredients.
Here is the nutrition info I promised!
Try this out, and let me know how you liked it. Its not that hard, really (the recipe)!