I believe the first time I tried Chana Masala was from the frozen stuff you can get at Trader Joe’s. That’s how well traveled and cultured I am. Don’t get me wrong, I love Indian food and have several favorite local restaurants. However, I probably have only ordered it from restaurants a couple times. Usually because it’s food that’s meant to be shared and sometimes hard to talk others into ordering it.

Indian cuisine is really good at creating extremely flavorful vegetarian dishes. It is a cuisine that I have not had a lot of experience cooking, but want to keep practicing. You have to respect the seasonings and cooking techniques used to get so much flavor in the dishes.

In this recipe I used Thai chilis because I have a ton of them, but traditionally I think serrano or a green chili is used. My goal always is to make dishes as traditional as possible. Sometimes I just forget certain ingredients when shopping and substitute what I have on hand. This rich tomato, chickpea, thick stew tastes amazing served with basmati rice or roti. It doesn’t need it, but I like to have a starch to go on the side. Basmati is my favorite choice. Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite dish is.


Chana Masala

  • 2 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1 Medium Yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 6-7 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp Ginger root (peeled and minced)
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro (chopped)
  • 2 ea. Thai chilis (or Jalapeno or Serrano )
  • 1 tsp. Ground Turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Chili powder
  • 1 28 oz. Can Pureed Tomatoes (or Diced Tomatoes)
  • 2 15 oz. Can Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans (drained)
  • 1 Tbsp. Garam Masala
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Coconut sugar (or substitute Brown sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice (or more to taste)
  • 3 tsp. Salt (add more to taste)
  1. Rinse and start your basmati rice in a rice cooker if preferred. Follow your rice cookers instructions to prepare.

  2. Place a large pot on medium heat (I used a wok). Add oil, onion cumin and salt.

  3. Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, add garlic, ginger, cilantro, chilis and grind or pulse till combined. When ready, add to the pan with the onions and stir to combine.

  4. Add the tomato puree, garbanzo beans and season again with salt. If mixture is too thick, fill the tomato puree can with ¼ or ½ of the way with water and pour into pan. You want the final consistency to be a thick stew.

  5. Increase the heat if needed and continue to stir mixture occasionally on a low simmer. Continue to cook uncovered for 20 minutes or more.

  6. When the stew looks ready, taste for seasoning and adjust with salt if needed.

  7. Remove the pan from heat, add garam masala, lemon juice and sugar. Taste again and adjust with more lemon juice and season as needed.

  8. Divide the basmati rice into four different meal prep containers, then divide the Chana masala in the containers. Garnish with large chopped or torn cilantro. Enjoy.

This recipe is great for meal prep, but you can serve it anyway you like!