Savory Chickpeas In Tangy Tomato Glaze (Chana Masala)

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You’ve been looking for the awesome Indian chickpea dish Chana Masala forever, and now you have found it! Hooray! You shall not be disappointed.

I am confident that this recipe is the tastiest Chana Masala you will ever try. One of the reasons is the use of ghee as a cooking oil, rather than vegetable oil. The other reason is  the authentic Indian spices that give this dish its true alluring qualities.

savory chickpeas chana masala

Ghee is a type of clarified butter that is nutty, subtle, and healing. It is one of the most sacred foods in India, and it’s good for all kinds of cooking applications.

Read my post How to Identify Quality Ghee, and Ghee Buying Tips, and 10 Healing Benefits of Ghee, to learn more. Ghee can be purchased in almost any grocery store these days, and I highly recommend it.

Ghee supports the aroma of the Chana Masala, and it surrounds, and brings out the flavor of all the other spices used in this recipe.

Speaking of spices, there are a few here that you may not be familiar with. I encourage you to source them if possible. You can them use them every week when you make this dish.

But if you don’t have the spices, don’t worry. I let you know what to do in the notes section of the recipe below, and in my Guide to Ingredient Substitutions.

I expect that if you try it, Chana Masala is sure to become a staple in your household. It is a wonderful way to flavor the protein-rich chickpea, and include it regularly in your diet. I promise the satisfying flavor of this dish will also please any meat lover. 

Chickpeas are high in protein, and one of the earliest cultivated legumes. Archeologists have found chickpea remains (I am serious, haha) in the Middle East that are 7,500 years old!

Another great thing about chickpeas is how they are locally grown in North America (awesome!). Eating legumes for protein is also a sustainable choice for the planet (doubly awesome!).

You’ve been looking for the awesome Indian chickpea dish Chana Masala forever, and this is it! Click To Tweet
savory chickpeas chana masala

Chana Masala, Chole, Or Tangy Chickpea?

Oh, and in case you are wondering why this recipe is called Chana Masala?

Chana is the Hindi word for a ubiquitous Indian variety of chickpea (75 percent of the world’s crops) that looks like a chickpea, except it’s about half the size.

The chickpeas we are familiar with in North America are known in Hindi as Chole. This is why Chana Masala is sometimes called Chole when made with the larger chickpea. The taste, and the recipe for both is the same though.

I hope you try my versatile Chana Masala recipe, and that you enjoy it as much as our Buttered Veg friends and family do.

savory chickpeas chana masala

Savory Chickpeas In Tangy Tomato Glaze (Chana Masala)

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 284kcal
Author: Andrea at Buttered Veg
This is the tastiest Chana Masala recipe you will ever try. Its authentic Indian spices and ghee add flavor. Your new favorite chickpea dish, for sure!
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for cooking the chickpeas

  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas two small 15.5-ounce [439 gram] cans of chickpeas or 1 1/3 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup bean cooking liquid or water

prep for the tangy tomato glaze

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger root minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon green chili minced (jalapeño or Serrano can be substituted)
  • 3 cups tomato puree either 1 large 28-ounce [800-gram can], or the equivalent in pureed fresh tomatoes with skins removed

to make the tangy tomato glaze

  • 2 tablespoons ghee (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds see notes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds see notes
  • 8-12 curry leaves optional; see notes
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • teaspoons chat masala or 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice; see notes
  • teaspoons garam masala see notes

for the garnish

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro or coriander leaf chopped (portion 2 tablespoons, then 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt or to taste


Cook the chickpeas

  • If you plan to use dry chickpeas and cook them from scratch, please see my post, How to Cook Chickpeas from Scratch: Double the recipe, and use 1 1/3 cups of dry chickpeas. Reserve a 1/4 cup of bean cooking liquid for this recipe.
  • If you are using canned chickpeas, drain most of the liquid from each can, and you are ready to get started.

Make the savory chickpeas in tangy tomato glaze

  • Mince your green chilis and ginger. Prepare the tomato puree or open up your canned tomatoes. Take out all the required spices and have them ready by the stove.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons ghee or oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add black mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add the cumin seeds for about 20 seconds, then add the ginger root and green chilis. Sauté until the ginger just begins to brown.
  • Add the curry leaves if using and stir for a minute, then add the tomato puree.
  • Stir in the turmeric, optional chat masala, garam masala, half the salt, and half the fresh cilantro. Cook over medium heat until the oil separates from the tomatoes and forms a light sheen on the surface. Add a bit of water if it is too thick, and partially cover with a lid to limit sputtering.
  • Add the cooked chickpeas along with a 1/4 cup of the bean cooking liquid or water. Once it begins to simmer, turn the heat to low. Simmer 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if it gets too thick. You want the consistency to be just slightly thick. It should not be watery, and it should not be so thick that it is sticking to the bottom of the pot either. Taste, and adjust for salt.
  • Finalize the dish by stirring in the rest of the fresh coriander. If you like, add a bit more garam masala. Garam masala is a spice that is often used at the end of the cooking process because some of its delicate aromatics are lost during cooking.

To serve


If you do not have ghee, substitute with a mixture of half butter and half vegetable oil.
Ghee is a form of clarified butter with a nutty, buttery taste, that is commonly used in Indian cooking. Ghee is generally safe for people with lactose intolerance. It has a high smoke point of 485 degrees Fahrenheit and it is shelf stable at room temperature.
Ghee is widely available outside India. To learn more about ghee and where to buy it, see Quality Ghee & Ghee Buying Tips.
Black mustard seeds are ubiquitous in South Indian cooking. They have a pungent and nutty flavor, much more so than the yellow mustard seeds commonly used in the West. If you do not wish to purchase black mustard seeds right now, just leave them out.
Cumin seed is used in cuisines all over the world. It has a distinctive earthy and warming flavor and aroma.
This ingredient is essential, inexpensive, and commonly used, so please buy it. It is also easy to find in any grocery store.
Curry leaves are small, fragrant, somewhat-citrusy leaves that grow wild in India, but are difficult to find in the West unless you visit an Indian grocery store.
You can usually find a package of fresh curry leaves in the refrigerated section of an Indian grocery store. Once you bring them home, store them in the freezer, and they will keep for months.
It is very worth using curry leaves if you can find them, but their flavor is subtle, so if you cannot source them, just leave them out.
Garam masala is a combination of powdered warming spices. There are many different variations of the spice mix, based on the different regions in India. They are all good.
If you do not have garam masala, use equal parts of any of the following that you have in your pantry, and powder it before using: black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom powder, bay leaf, cumin powder, and clove powder.
Chat masala is a spice powder mix typically consisting of dried mango powder (amchoor), cumin, coriander, dried ginger, black pepper, asafoetida, and chili powder.
If you do not have chat masala, use equal parts coriander powder and cumin powder. If you have any of the spices listed above, you could also add a smaller amount to enhance the flavor of your dish.
To learn more about Indian spices, see my Guide to Indian Ingredient Substitutions. 


Substitute ghee with coconut oil or a quality vegetable oil, such as avocado oil or all-natural organic canola oil.


Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 536mg | Potassium: 922mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 801IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 6mg

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