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Chana Masala

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Vegetarian
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Why we love it:

Three cheers for homemade Chana Masala! It’s so fun to combine these spices and a few other ingredients and watch them meld into a craveable and warming dish. We sometimes stir in some extra veggies, but you do you! Double and freeze half for a perfect freezer meal.


  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 6 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger
  • 1 Serrano Chili
  • 3 Tablespoons Canola Oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala (or make your own – see subs)
  • 1 28-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans Garbanzo Beans (slightly drained)
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice (White)
  • 1 teaspoon White Sugar
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 package Naan (or pita)
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Cooking Instructions


    Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and serrano as finely as you can. You can even use a small blender or food processor.

  • 2. SAUTÉ

    Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil, onion mixture, and ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently and turning down the heat if they start to brown.

  • 3. SPICES

    Combine and add the spices: 1 Tablespoon ground cumin, 1 Tablespoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala. Stir to cook for about 1 minute and let the fragrance bloom in the oil and heat.


    Now, add the crushed tomatoes. Add the garbanzo beans including the liquid they come in and add ½ cup water. You’re looking for a soup consistency at this point, but it will cook down into more of a stew.

    Increase heat to medium high until it reaches a rolling simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and maintain a simmer (uncovered) for 15 minutes, or until thick and stew-like. Stir occasionally.

  • 5. RICE

    Combine rice, 2 cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil then stir, reduce to lowest heat and cover tightly. Simmer without touching it for 16 minutes until the water is absorbed.

  • 6. SEASON

    When the chana masala is thickened and bubbly, add the sugar and lemon juice - start with about ½ of the lemon, and add the rest to taste (or save for another recipe). Add 3 Tablespoons of butter, in small pieces. Turn off the heat and stir until it melts.

  • 7. NAAN

    Toast naan or pita in the oven or toasted over and slather with 1 Tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt.

  • 8. SERVING

    Serve a head of rice, topped with stew and naan on the side.

Check out our new features!


    literally the namesake of this dish but, roasted chopped veggies, tofu, or paneer all taste great in the sauce
    sometimes for a one pot meal, we’ll toss in roasted cauliflower or stir in some baby spinach
    you can omit but it will be less rice
    make your own blend: 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom pods, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Kid Friendly Version

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Serve rice and stew separately, try more beans and less sauce if preferred
  • You can leave out the serranos if heat might be a concern - if adults like the heat, just add a pinch of cayenne instead, or top with slices of serrano

For Toddlers

  • Leave out the heat if you think necessary - though toddlers can eat it!
  • Try mashing some of the garbanzos to make a better consistency
  • Consider adding steamed or roasted cauliflower or potatoes while cooking the stew to mash in as well

For Choosy Eaters

  • Roast some garbanzos with garlic powder and butter until crisp. Add roasted cauliflower or potatoes, roast separately on a baking sheet so you can serve without the tomato sauce. Or boil them, then lift out of the sauce and mash it up if a little bit of the red sauce is ok
  • Serve with naan and veggies or an avocado. Or maybe make a naan grilled cheese and see if they’ll try a dip in the masala sauce

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Make the whole dish – it’s excellent over the next few days
  2. Make and freeze! Reheat in a pot, stirring often
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