Chana Masala -Punjabi Spiced Chickpeas




The last few recipes that I have made have predominantly been sweet things.   It is probably the change in the seasons and in the weather that is making me crave more comfort food.  But the beauty of cooking with these kinds of foods ( by which I mean plant based without dairy and refined sugar) is that even the yummiest comfort foods remain natural and brimming with beneficial healthy properties.  I never get that heavy bleeeeeugh feeling afterwards!  Indulging in sweet treats that are actually good for you, that is the real comfort!   So here’s to a winter laden with the raw chocolate! :-D

That said, I do feel the need to balance all the treats out with a recipe for something savoury.  I decided to feature one of my favourite foods ever, chickpeas, cooked in one of my favourite dishes, Chana Masala.   Chana Masala is an Indian and Pakistani dish from the Punjab region.  This recipe is another one which I learnt in India in August 2012  while travelling around the Rajasthan region in the north west of the country.  I have already posted one of these, Aloo Paratha, if you’d like to search for it in the bread section. There are still a few more to follow!

As tomatoes are out of season, the only ones I could find in my local shop were awful, watery ones which looked flavourless, so instead I used a can of whole tomatoes and mashed them up a bit.  I used black mustard seeds for this which have quite a strong flavour compared to the other varieties.  At first I wasn’t too sure but I loved the flavour after a few bites.   If you think you’d prefer a milder taste, try yellow mustard seeds.  The man who taught me specifed that olive oil was not to be used for this recipe -I used sunflower oil but coconut oil would be healthier, although it may change the flavour somewhat.


  • 200g chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 cup blended tomato
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 black cardomom
  • 2 small red onions, chopped.
  • 5 small cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ginger, crushed
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp corriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp chana masala powder
  • 1tsp black cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 7 tbsp oil

Add all of the powders to one cup of water, mix and set aside.  Add the oil to the pan and when hot, add all of the dry spices, cook for a couple of seconds until the mustard and cumin seeds are popping.  Add the onion, ginger and garlic, and fry until the onion begins to brown.  Add the water and the spices, plus the tomato.  Cook until the water evaporates, then add the chickpeas.  Cook for about ten minutes further, and mash the chickpeas a little if you like.  I served with brown basmati rice. Garnish with fresh coriander, tomato, raw onion or lemon juice.

Below are some photos of my Indian trip!




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