Shortcut Chana Masala
Recipe courtesy of Nidhi Jalan for Food Network Kitchen

Shortcut Chana Masala

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
I’ve yet to have a better chickpea dish than chana masala or chickpea curry. There are many versions of this dish. My favorite is when the chickpeas are smothered with a delicious thick, piquant and spiced gravy. Many recipes start with dried chickpeas that are infused with black tea and cardamom. This is an easy take that starts with canned chickpeas, so you can make it even on a weekday. I like it even more the next day, and it also freezes really well.



  1. Combine the chickpeas with the bay leaves, black tea bag, black cardamom, if using, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of water in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce to low and simmer until the chickpeas are soft and infused with the spices and tea, about 10 minutes. Discard the tea bag, bay leaves and cardamom pod. Drain the chickpeas and put them back in the pot they were cooking in.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the ghee and/or oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring and scraping occasionally, until the onions are very soft and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic and green chiles and cook until the raw smell goes away, about 3 minutes. Add the chana masala along with 2 tablespoons of water and sauté until the raw smell dissipates, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the chaat masala, if using, and cook until well cooked and pasty, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the spice mixture to the chickpeas with 1 cup of water, mix well and bring to a simmer over medium heat; simmer until the curry thickens, coats and infuses with the chickpeas, about 5 minutes. Adjust the salt to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Cook’s Note

Chana masala and chaat masala: I made this recipe with Kalustyan’s chana masala and thought it was great. You can use any brand you like. Green chiles: I like to use the small Thai or Indian green chiles, but serrano or jalapenos will also work. When I say 1 to 4 chiles, that refers to the smaller chilies, which are more potent. If using serranos or jalapenos, use 1 to 2. Tomatoes: You can also use whole peeled canned tomatoes and crush them. Traditionally this dish has a very thick gravy that wraps around the chickpeas. If you want, you can add a little water to increase the amount of gravy, but the flavors won’t be as intense or have the same impact as when the dish is drier.