Channa Masala

Whether eaten as a snack or a main, this tangy chick pea stew is invariably one of the more popular vegetarian dishes. Channa masala or chole as it is sometimes referred to, can be prepared with tinned chick peas for a quick meal or you can go the whole hog and make from scratch.

There are so many versions of this dish and personally I think you can create your own version using my recipe as a base.


250 grams dried chick peas soaked overnight for a minimum of 8 hours or about 2 x 400 grams tins of chick peas drained

200 grams onions sliced

100 grams onions chopped

2 medium tomatoes (tinned okay)

4-5 cloves garlic peeled and chopped

3-4 centimetres of ginger, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon hot chilli powder

1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder

ΒΌ teaspoon turmeric powder

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small bay leaf

3-4 centimetre stick of cinnamon

2-3 whole cloves

1 green chilli slit lengthwise

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

Juice of half a lemon

Salt to taste

Fresh coriander leaves and slice of lemon for garnish


Drain the chick peas, put them into a pan with 1 litre water and a teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Skim off the froth, then partially cover, lower heat and simmer gently for 45- 60 minutes until the peas are tender. Make sure that the dish does not boil dry and you can add a bit more water if the level is coming down. Alternatively, you can pressure cook the chick peas to save time. Once cooked, using a potato masher, mash them lightly so as to make them homogeneous.

Heat a tablespoon of oil and fry the sliced onions along with ginger and garlic. Remove and set aside. When cool enough, combine the onion and tomato and grind in food processor to a fine paste.

Heat the remaining oil in a deep saucepan or fry pan. When hot, add the cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaf. When you can see that the whole spices have opened up and are fragrant, add the chopped onions along with the green chilli. Once onions are softened, add the spice paste along with both the chilli powders, turmeric and garam masala. Continue frying for five minutes, adding a couple of tablespoons of water if you find it is too thick and sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the cooked chick peas and salt. Mix to combine and if you think it is too thick, add water to adjust consistency. Let it simmer for 10 -15 minutes. Just before serving, stir in coriander leaves and lemon juice. Serve hot with steamed rice or pita bread or roti. Serves 6.

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