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Vijay teaches us how to layer ingredients and spices to create a deeply-flavored, warming dish that’s better than any restaurant version. Sarah, Recipe Hunter

Sarah Lim, NoshOnIt Recipe Hunter


Channa Masala – Indian Chickpea Curry

Yes, even you can make Indian food

Channa Masala

Channa Masala (also known as Chole Masala) is a staple in nearly every Indian kitchen. Once you have a well-stocked spice cabinet (which you can put together easily by visiting an Indian grocery store), you barely need to go to the store to make this dish together on a weeknight. Indian food is all about the layering of flavors and spices in a particular order and this recipe teaches you how to do just that.


  • Vegetable Oil
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2 cups yellow onions, finely diced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (out of a jar or equal parts ginger and garlic pureed together with a touch of water)
  • 1 teaspoon Indian red chili powder (or 2 tsp cayenne)
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup channa masala powder (found in any Indian grocery store or in the international aisle)
  • 1-2 cups water, as needed
  • 1 28-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt
  • Juice of one lime
  • Chopped cilantro, to garnish


  1. Heat a large deep bottom pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to barely coat the bottom of the pan and heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the cardamom, clove, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cumin seeds. The cumin seeds will sizzle and stir fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  3. Add the chopped onions and 1 tsp salt and cook until deep brown around the edges, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the turmeric and ginger-garlic paste and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down and the mixture looks like a slightly thick paste. There shouldn’t be much excess liquid in the pan.
  6. Add the channa masala powder and chilli powder. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add water - the exact amount depends on how much “sauce” you want in the final dish.
  8. Add the chickpeas and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken slightly.
  9. Add salt to taste, lime juice, and a handful of chopped cilantro
  10. Serve with rice or your favorite Indian flatbread.


Vijay Nathan, NoshOnIt Recipe Hunter and Chef

I’m a former chef so my cooking is aggressive, big-flavored, and unapologetic. I incorporate inspiration from around the world into my food, using bold spices and seasonal ingredients to make hearty, satisfying dishes.

In addition to being the “Chief Nosher” at NoshOn.It, Vijay is a “recovering” professional chef who has been in the restaurant and food world for over a decade. His food is always hearty, satisfying, and flavorful – a style influenced by his Texan upbringing and Indian heritage. This dish is one of his staples and, luckily, something that the NoshOn.It team has enjoyed on many occasions!

Make sure to say hello to Vijay on Twitter.


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  • Ray

    I just wanted to chime in to say; make sure that you dont use a channa masala (mix). I ruined my entire dish by using a powdered channa masala that was already heavily salted.

  • Matt

    I changed this up: 1/2 can of chick peas; 1/2 can of chopped tomatoes; then a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar, salt, cumin seeds, cayenne pepper. A small amount of garlic; handful of chopped red onion. A sprinkle of parsley and one whole (uncut) red chili. Put it all in a pad with some olive oil and simmered for about 15 minutes. Took some pita break and buttered it then fried it in another pan to use as naan. Not exactly chef material or exact measurements but tasted fantastic and took around 20 minutes total to make.

  • Cristina

    Thank you for this recipe. Since I did not have many of the ingredients, I replaced the bay leave for rosemary, fresh tomato for a good branded pasta sauce with olives, and the chilli powder for cayenne pepper, since I did not have them. It was still delicious! I cannot wait to make it again as it is.

  • Sophia Del Gigante

    I thought this would have some ghee or cream in it… not sure if that is just how Americans make it sometimes.

    • @sophiadelgigante:disqus That’s a great question – many Indian restaurants in the U.S. add ghee or cream to curries to make them more decadent but you really don’t need it. Traditionally, channa masala doesn’t have either.

  • Kan

    Ghee or cream is never added to Chnna Masala .

  • Kan

    the taste of channa masala is enhanced if chick peas are bought raw and not canned and cooked in a pressure cooker with a tea bag immersed in the water. Also anardana ( pomegranate seeds) crushed and added with other spices just makes this dish super.

  • Kan

    finally it is always better to make the channa masala powder at home rather than buying the ready made stuff. The recipe can be googled. The trick to any Indian dish is to ensure spices are fresh rather than buying from shelves. Great post Vijay.

  • Elizabeth: An Everyday Cook

    Wonderful recipe! All 4 of my kids loved it! Also, thanks for the online store to buy spices. I ordered some 2 minutes after reading the comments.