Chana Masala

chana masala

This chana masala is made using fresh, whole spices and absolutely no ready spice mixes. You will love the depth of flavor and delectable aroma of the end product. After making chana masala this way, I have never used the store-bought spice mix ever again!

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • Garbanzo beans/chick peas (1.5 cups)
  • Onions (1/2 of a small red onion)
  • Tomatoes (2 medium sized ones)
  • Oil (1 tbsp)
  • Cumin (jeera) seeds (1 tsp)
  • Coriander (dhaniya) seeds (1 tsp)
  • Fennel (saunf) seeds (2/3 tsp)
  • Cardamom (elaichi) pods (2)
  • Cinnamon stick (thin 1 inch sized stick)
  • Cloves (2)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Red chili powder (to taste) (optional)
  • Garlic (1 medium sized pod)
  • Ginger (1/2 inch sized piece)
  • Green chilies (tiny piece or per taste)


  • Soak the garbanzo beans in enough water overnight. Pressure cook so that the beans are well cooked in the morning or after at least 7 hours of soaking. I pressure cook mine with salt for 3 whistles and 10 minutes on simmer.
  • Heat oil in a medium sized pan. Add all the whole spices and saute on medium heat for a few minutes until the spices start releasing their flavors.
  • Add chopped onions, ginger, garlic, green chilies and saute until the onions are translucent.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, salt and optionally, some red chili powder. Switch off the flame when the tomatoes are well cooked.
  • Cool the above mixture and grind well to form a smooth paste.
  • Add the paste to the cooked garbanzo beans and boil the mixture until a homogeneous gravy is formed. The watery texture of the gravy gradually changes to a thicker consistency. You may mash some of the beans to thicken the paste, if you don’t mind the beans a little mashed.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with puris, rotis or parathas.

Tastes (Rasa):

Sweet (beans, oil, cardamom, cinnamon), sour (tomatoes), salty (salt), bitter (coriander seeds, coriander leaves), pungent (chilies, ginger, cumin, cloves, garlic), astringent (coriander leaves)

Doshic Influence:

Beans are vata aggravating since they are difficult to digest and have a tendency to produce gas/bloating/flatulence. Soaking the beans in sufficient water for at least 7 hours, cooking them well and with digestive spices help to mitigate these tendencies. Beans are nourishing and nutritious and can be kapha aggravating in excess. The cumin, coriander and fennel mixture is tridoshic and digestive. If the chilies, tomatoes, oil and salt are used in excess, this recipe can become pitta aggravating.

Effects on the Mind (Gunas):

This is a rajasic recipe due to the beans, garlic and onions – ingredients that cause stimulation and potential restlessness of the mind.

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