Chana masala (4+ servings)


I exist, readers! I do! Obviously, I haven't updated in a long time (December 3rd was the last post), due mainly to job stress and general busyness. I have been cooking though! I originally made this Epicurious recipe for chana masala a couple weeks ago, and after a few tweaks, I think I've perfected it. Again, I don't usually tout the "authenticity" of a recipe on here (who gets to set the standards anyway?) but I will tell you this is damn good. Bryan eats more Indian food than I do, and he says it's as good as dishes he's had in restaurants, so that's enough to make me happy. I just like the fact that it's incredibly flavorful, low-fat, and quick to make!

You will need:

  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I cut it in half from root to tip, then made two root to tip slices in each half, and then cut it crosswise into thin slices)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-2 tsp garam masala (I found it in the bulk section of Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 minced fresh cilantro (I used about 2 Tbsp dried because that's all I had)
  • cooked basmati rice (or whichever cooked grain you prefer)


  1. Heat the oil in a large rimmed skillet over medium. Add the onion and saute until it's golden brown (I think this was close to 20 min for me). Add the garlic and saute for another 2 min.
  2. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, garam masala, turmeric, ginger, lemon juice, and water. Bring to a simmer and then cook over medium-low for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. You want the mixture to be the consistency of a stew, thick and brothy.
  3. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt to taste. Serve over rice.

And there you have it! This recipe is savory, filling, and warming. I used to dislike both cumin and cilantro, but I've come around to both in the last year or so. Garam masala is a spice blend that varies by region, but most blends contain cumin, coriander, cloves, peppercorns, and star anise. I'd love to pick up some garam masala from the Savory Spice Shop in Raleigh (they grind their own whole spices) and see how the pungency increases! Don't expect this dish to be hot-spicy; it's just very flavorful, and the spices steal the show. If you haven't tried much Indian food, this is a good first step!