Chickpea Curry ( Top 10 Recipe, 2008)

Chana Masala

Recipe from The Asian Vegan Kitchen by Hema Parekh.
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Hema’s Introduction: Chickpeas are popular among the Punjabis of north India who call them chole and often prepare them for breakfast with bhatura bread. This recipe — traditionally called Chana Masala — was handed down to me by my mother. The roasted coriander and cumin seeds that she uses, together with the generous amount of ginger, give it a distinctive flavor. This Chickpea Curry is a complete meal in itself. It is high in protein and carbohydrate and low in fat. I remember making almost 15 kg of this curry for school bazaars and this was one of the first curries to be sold off. It used to be a favorite lunch menu during my children’s school years. Serve with rolls, rice or Indian bread.

1 cup (200g) dried chickpeas
4 cups (960ml) water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cardamom pods
1 small stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Pinch of asafetida
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 fresh hot green chili, halved lengthwise
½ -inch (1-cm) cube fresh ginger, peeled and grated
11 ounces (310g) tomatoes, pureed
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon garam masala (see page 16)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon mango powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
Sliced onions and fresh coriander leaves, for garnish

For the Roasted Spice Mixture:
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2–3 cloves
teaspoon cumin seeds
1 dried red chili


1. Dry roast all the roasted spice mixture ingredients and grind to a powder.

2. Soak the chickpeas overnight in 4 cups water. Then place the soaked chickpeas with the soaking water in a pressure cooker with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 18–20 minutes if using a pressure cooker (starting from the time the pressure cooker has a full head of steam), and about an hour if cooking in a pan. The chickpeas should be well cooked—until they are slightly broken. Drain, and reserve the cooking liquid.

3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, and cumin seeds. Stir over medium heat until fragrant. Add the asafetida and onion and sauté for 10–12 minutes until browned.

4. Add the fresh green chili, ginger, and the pureed tomatoes. Cover the frying pan and simmer for 3–4 minutes. Add the salt, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper, mango powder, and coriander powder. Stir thoroughly.

5. Add the cooked chickpeas and stir gently. Add some of the reserved drained cooking liquid to bring it to the desired consistency. Add the roasted spice mixture, bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat.

6. Serve garnished with sliced onions and coriander leaves.

The Asian Vegan Kitchen

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Recipe and Photo © 2008, featured by with permission of the author and publisher.


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