Chana Masala

Chana Masala is a vegetarian dish made with chickpeas simmered in a flavorful spiced tomato sauce. It’s an easy weeknight dinner because it’s fast and it’s made with pantry staples such as canned chickpeas, canned tomatoes, and lots of spices. I served this over a mixture of steamed cauliflower and rice but whole wheat Naan or pita bread would be a good swap for the rice. This recipe is adapted from a recipe in the August issue of Cook’s Illustrated. *Remember not to drain the chickpeas and the tomatoes because you will be using their liquid.

Chana Masala


1 small red onion, quartered

Bunch (10 springs or so) of cilantro or parsley, saving a little for garnish

1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

2 serrano chilies, seeded, sliced thin, and divided

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, undrained

1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

salt to taste

Lime wedges


  1. Process the onion, cilantro or parsley, ginger, and half of the serrano peppers in a food processor until finely chopped, scraping down the sides as necessary, about 20 seconds. Add the onion mixture and oil to a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until the mixture is beginning to stick to the pan. Add the paprika, cumin, turmeric, and fennel seeds and cook for about 1 minute longer. Stir in the chickpeas with their liquid.
  2. Process the tomatoes and their juice in the food processor. Process until smooth, about 20 seconds.  Add the tomatoes to the chickpea, onion and spice mixture. Bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in garam masala to the chickpea mixture and continue to cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, about 8-12 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro (or parsley), remaining serrano pepper slices and a lime wedge.

Adapted from a recipe in the August 2020 issue of Cook’s Illustrated







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