Chana Masala or chole is a spicy North Indian dish of Chickpeas cooked in a spicy tomato sauce known as masala. Its a very commonly served meal in places like Delhi and Shimla which was where my mum grew up.
Its traditionally very spicy. I was once cooking for a group of 30 Spanish people, me and the other chef made two curries for their dinner one night.
They couldn’t eat the Chana because it was far too spicy for them. If you haven’t spent time in Spain, you won’t know that chilli isn’t often in the menu!
I also have to tone down the chillies when I cook this on retreats.
It’s totally up to you how many chillies you use. I recommend having it spicy but adding a coconut yoghurt side dish to balance the flavour and heat.
I grew up eating mainly meat curries with a dish like this as a side dish. But now in my plant days, it’s become a star of the show. Everyone always wants seconds when I serve this Chana Masala dish.
Its full of flavour, sweet sour and spicy from the cloves, chilli and amchoor powder. Don’t be afraid of using all these spices. It’s a combination that really does work.
Chana Masala (Vegan Chickpea Curry)
- 2 cups chickpeas
- 4 roughly chopped medium sized tomatoes
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 green chili
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 Tsp cumin seeds
- 3-4 cloves
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 onion
- 1/2 Tsp turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- 1/2 Tsp red chili powder
- 2 Tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 Tsp garam masala
- 1/2 Tsp amchor powder
- Make tomato purée by adding chopped tomatoes, green Chillies and ginger in a blender.
- Heat pan without oil and add cumin seeds, cloves, bay leaves and asaefotida if using.
- Dry Heating the spices first brings out their aroma far stronger. Once you smell the aroma of these delicious spices , add oil to the pan
- Once the oil sputters, add the onion. Cook slowly on low to medium heat for about 10 Mins until the onions soften.
- Add the tomato puree, turmeric and salt. Stir and cover. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes until tomatoes glisten with oil.
- add chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and amchoor powder. Cook further for 5 more minutes. Then add the Chickpeas.
- Add boiling water, use your intuition here. You don't want it too watery so start with less and build up.
- Stir everything together, bring to boil and let cook for atleast 10 minutes on medium heat.
- Garnish with freshly chopped coriander. Serve with rice, green vegetables or your choice of indian bread.