Chana Masala

In a previous post I spoke about my food being connected to people I know, and the places I’ve been to. This is true for this Chana Masala, too. I ‘inheritted’ a box of chana masala spice mix of my friend Mary. Mary is an American artist embroiderer whom I had a pleasure to meet in Oxford, UK; her work and musings on art can be found in her blog Stabbed. Now Mary is not only responsible for introducing this masala into my kitchen, but she is also the person who encouraged me to start blogging. I’d been reading other blogs for a while, and toying with the idea, but it was Mary who swayed me in this direction. I guess all of this is her fault, he he!

Chana Masala or Chole Masala is a North Indian dish, especially popular in the Punjab region. It’s main ingredient is chana, or chickpeas, which is cooked with onions, garlic, chilies, ginger and tomatoes; and spiced with turmeric, coriander, garam masala and dried mango powder; it is also possible to buy ready-made spice mix. Chana masala is normally eaten with roti (chapati) or rice, and yogurt. In India, it is often accompanied with bhatura, or chole bhature , a type of fried bread.

To find out more about Punjabi cuisine, check Richa’s excellent post at As Dear As Salt. The post is a part of the Regional Cuisines of India (RCI) blogging event, which is hosted by Richa this month, and the theme is Punjabi cuisine. RCI was started by Lakshmi, to celebrate the rich and diverse cuisines of India, and is hosted by a different blogger each month. I think this event is a fantastic idea, because not only does it encourage us to explore the many varieties of regional Indian food, but the round-ups also provide excellent resources of information and recipes! Here is the list of events yet to come, and here is the list of the RCIs held up to date:

APRILTamil cuisineIntroduction & Round-up at Veggie Cuisine

MAY – Andhra cuisineIntroduction & Round-up at Masala Magic

JUNE – Maharastrian cuisineIntroduction & Round-up Part One (snacks and light meals, street food, and rustic ), Two (complete meals or jevan; spice mixes or masale; powders, chutneys or pickles; salads; dried or curried vegetables, beverages)  and Three (dals and beans, eggs and meat; breads; rice dishes; sweets) at One Hot Stove

JULY – Punjabi cuisine –  Introduction & Round-up at As Dear As Salt


Next month, RCI is featuring Oriya cuisine, hosted by Swapna.  (For more information on Oriya cuisine, look at Wikipedia, 123Orissa and Orissa Diary.)

This month, I’m also joining in in the exploration of regional Indian cuisine, and I’m submitting this post to Richa. If you’d alo like to take part, check this website for Punjabi recipes and inspiration!

Do try and make this delicious North Indian dish! If you don’t have the masala, you can still make this! Scroll down for a list of link to recipes that don’t use the masala.

I have no camera today, so there is no photo – for now. I’ll take a picture next time I make it, and upload it here.


Update 16 October 2007

Here is a photo of chana masala! Since this post, I made it a few times. One time, I added slices of fresh tomato to the cooked dish, which made it wonderfully fresh and tomatoy!




Chana Masala


SOURCE: adapted from the recipe at the back of the MDH chana masala box

PREPARATION TIME: Less than 5 min

COOKING TIME: about 30 min

CUISINE: North Indian (Punjabi)



ghee or vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic

2 green chilies

2 cm ginger

3 chopped tomatoes

1 can chick peas

20 g chana masala (I used MDH brand)

a little paprika

a pinch of cumin



1. Fry the onions until they start turning golden. Then add garlic, chilies and ginger, and continue frying until the onions are brown.

2. Add tomatoes, the masala, and the other spices. Cook for a few minutes, and then add chickpeas. Cook for a further 10 min.

3. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with rice and yogurt. Say yuuuuuum!





This dish was delicious, and very easy to make. I shall definitely be making it again! Thank you, Mary!

I served it with my first attempt at making chapati, which is nothing to write about! I shall have to work on perfecting my chapati technique (a lot), and then I’ll share it with you!




Other chana masala recipes:

Nabeela’s Chana Masala without the shop bought spice mix

Chana masala from Lisa’s Kitchen

How to make your own chana masala powder

Mahanandi’s Chana Masala

Meena’s Chana Masala, and a lesson on legumes

Another Meena’s Chana Masala, garnished with a funny story

Barbara’s Channa Masala

Sailu’s Chole Masala with Puri

Anita’s Punjabi Chhole



 Other recipes with chick peas at Maninas:

My version of Catalan chick peas with tomatoes and almonds . V

This is a must-try, with its delicious flavours of saffron, garlic, tomatoes, almonds and coriander!

My Moroccan-inspired chickpeas  V



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Leave a comment


  1. Hello Manina, firstly thanks a lot for dropping by page….While going through some of your posts, I came across the one one green chilly…though it sounded funny first , when I imagined your face turning all read after biting one of those….ewww!! Btw, when u try Indian recipes and if there is red chili powder included, you can stay away from green chilies as I feel you wont be able to take all that heat! Just a suggestion 🙂



  2. Sometimes the simplest of recipes are the ones on masala boxes. This one looks good.
    Chana-rice-yoghurt is a fav combination of mine.


  3. Yet another version, sans premade powder. The yummiest yet.


  4. Maninas

     /  4 July, 2007

    Hi Mishmash! I can normally take my heat, so I was rather surprised by the effect :). I don’t cut out chili, unless I’m cooking for other people. Maybe I’ll have to start! 🙂

    Hi Cooker. The recipe on the masala box was very basic – just add onions and tomatoes. I added the rest, because I love ginger, garlic and chili. I think it’s a wonderfully delicous combination!

    Lisa, thanks for dropping by and posting the link! I’ll try your chana masala, too! 🙂


  5. hey, you have compiled quite a collection of chole recipes including your delicious version, what a beautiful source for choley fans like moi 🙂


  6. Maninas

     /  4 July, 2007

    Thank you, Richa! 🙂


  7. Hi Maninas – I absolutely love chana masala too. I once used too much MDH chana masala and my entire flat stank of it for a week afterwards… not very clever of me!!


  8. Maninas

     /  10 July, 2007

    Hahahaa ooops
    I find this brand a little salty? Can you recommend any others?

    Btw, just made it again, so I’ll be posting some pics soon!


  9. Hi Maninas,
    Thankyou for visiting us!
    When Mike and I are feeling lazy, we make a similar curry but with minced meat (beef or lamb) and peas and serve it with rice. I love chickpeas and this way is even easier. Thanks for the idea. X


  10. Hi Paul, thank you too for dropping by to my blog! My husband keeps telling me I should add meat to my curry, too! 🙂


  11. Hi Maninas, hope you get this comment! Had to find a vege option to leave it, as I make it a rule to avoid posting to non-vege posts. Just a little quirk of mine.

    I wanted to let you know that I have posted the sweet potato and spinach curry that you asked for. It is at this link to Nachi’s Curry. Enjoy.

    I am leaving today (soon) for my magical holiday. See you when I get back.


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