Curry Series – Chana Masala Recipe

I love cooking curries – especially for Mrs Romance. Over the next few Wednesdays I’ll be telling you how I cook my favourite Indian dishes in our curry series. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Mr & Mrs Romance - curry series - chana masala title

I love Indian food – it’s an indelible fact. I was born in England, so I consider a good curry to be part of my heritage. The Indian curry is now the most eaten food in the UK, surpassing fish and chip consumption some time ago.

One of the dishes I very often order and generally always make is a chana masala. Chickpeas are used a lot in Indian cooking – either whole like this dish or as flour. Chickpea or besan flour makes an excellent batter that you can use in fritters and bhajis.

Mr & Mrs Romance - curry series - chana masala ingredients

This is a dry curry with lovely fresh ingredients. It doesn’t take long at all to make and it’s at its best when first served. For that reason, leave this one till last when you’re cooking up an Indian feast!

Chana Masala

Serves 4 – takes about 25mins

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 tin of chickpeas – rinsed
  • 1 brown onion – chopped
  • 1 garlic clove – finely chopped
  • Two fresh tomatoes – chopped
  • 2tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 1tsp curry powder – I used Keen’s
  • Bunch of fresh coriander – chopped
  • 2tbsp ghee or alternatively 2tbsp veg oil and a little butter
  • Salt and pepper to season

Here’s what you do:

  1. Toast the coriander seeds and half the cumin in a hot pan, then transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind into powder.
  2. Heat oil in the pan and add the powder, the curry powder and the remaining cumin seeds. When the whole cumin seeds start to sizzle and pop, add the onion and garlic, and cook until a little soft.*
  3. Add the chickpeas and toss around the pan so the curry flavours coat them well.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. About 5 minutes before serving, add the tomato and mix.
  6. Just before serving, add the chopped coriander and mix.
  7. Serve with a few whole coriander leaves on top.

*If you want to make this recipe go a bit further (and taste even better), add about a dozen sliced closed-cap mushrooms to the mix just before you add the chickpeas.

This dish can be frozen, but its flavours are in the freshness of the tomato and coriander. Having said that, the chickpeas do taste better the next day, so refrigeration is almost recommended!

This curry is vegetarian, dairy free and – like the other recipes in our curry series – is gluten free too!

As with most Indian curries, you can add all kinds of things to this recipe to change it. You could make this much saucier and call it a dal or add other veggies to make a more robust vegetable curry.

You could also add a meat protein – I think this would act as a great base for a fish curry.

Other curry recipes in our series:

5-hour slow-cooked beef vindaloo.

Chicken Saahwala.

Mushroom and paneer tandoori.

This is the fourth in our curry series range – which has been your favourite so far? Tell us in the comments!

Images by Mr Romance.


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