Chana masala (chickpea curry)

Chana masala is my all-time favourite Indian dish. It’s spicy, tangy, tomatoey, and fragrant – all the things a mouthwatering year-round dish should be!

This version is my own riff off the hearty northern Indian chickpea dish with a distinctly southern fiery sourness, tempered with just enough coconut to take the edge off it. I’ve upped the ante on the coriander and tomato to make this fragrant, juicy, and seriously moreish.

Follow the recipe below, and before long you’ll be tweaking it to your own taste and wowing your dinner guests with food that tastes like family secrets 😉

Flavour: Spicy & tangy

Serves: 4 as a main meal, or 6-8 as a side dish


  • 1 tablespoon unflavoured oil (I use sunflower)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 4 bird’s eye chillies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander root, finely minced (scrub the root of the coriander clean, and use it – don’t waste it!)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder of your choice
  • half teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (see here for my tomato-peeling hack)
  • 2 cups chickpeas, soaked and pre-cooked (see here for advance chickpea prep)
  • half cup of coconut cream (I use the powdered stuff – 2-4 tablespoons mixed with water does the trick)
  • 1 cup water
  • juice of half a lemon (lime is also ok, although it will taste a bit different)
  • small bunch of coriander, coarsely chopped


  1. Fry off onions in sunflower oil over high heat – turn heat down to medium once onions are translucent and starting to colour up
  2. Add garlic, ginger, chilli, cumin seed and coriander root – stir through, and cook for 2 more minutes
  3. Add curry powder and salt, and stir through
  4. Toss in tomatoes and tamarind paste, stir through, and bring to a simmer
  5. Once your base mixture is simmering nicely, chuck in your chickpeas and coconut cream, and stir through to a cup of water
  6. Cook for about 15 minutes, adding more water if your chana masala starts to dry out
  7. Once your chana masala is reduced to a thick but pourable consistency and the chickpeas are nice and soft, add your lemon juice, and take off the heat
  8. Stir in the coriander just before serving, and transfer your chana masala to a serving dish

Enjoy your chana masala with freshly cooked rice or roti, and any Indian vegetable side dishes and chutneys you fancy!

4 thoughts on “Chana masala (chickpea curry)

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