A celebrated North Indian dish, “Channa Masala”, is a savory delight featuring chickpeas, tomatoes, ginger, onions, cilantro and blend of spices.  Born and raised in North India, this dish was a childhood favorite and every time I taste it, I am transported back to the colorful and aromatic streets of Delhi.

Chickpeas are an excellent, plant-based source of protein, fiber, iron as well as many essential vitamins and minerals.  They are very simple to cook and I highly recommend using dry chickpeas.  The key to making delicious Channa Masala is soaking the chickpeas overnight in water to reduce lectins and reduce the cooking time.

Channa Masala is a delectable and classic Indian dish that is best experienced with whole wheat & spelt naan (recipe here) or over a bed of warm brown rice.  I hope this dish becomes a favorite of yours as well!

Recipe

Prep time:

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 cup dry chickpeas (soaked overnight or at least 6 hours)

1 tea bag (Taj Mahal brand recommended)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

1 cinnamon stick

Masala Gravy:

3/4 cup white onion finely chopped

3 medium tomatoes 

1 inch piece fresh ginger

1 tablespoon avocado oil

2 teaspoons channa masala (available at Indian grocery stores)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon garam masala (available at Indian grocery stores)

1/2 teaspoon degi mirch (available at Indian grocery stores)

1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Garnishes:

1/2 red onion (thinly sliced) pickled with little fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (finely chopped)

1 inch ginger piece (thinly sliced)

Chili oil:

1 teaspoon avocado oil

1/2 teaspoon degi mirch

Directions:

  1. Wash and soak the chickpeas overnight. Next day, discard the water and add 4 cups of fresh water.

  2. Add the chickpea, water, tea bag, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon stick to a pressure cooker. You can use crockpot or instapot to cook them as well until the chickpeas are tender.

  3. Once the whistle blows, lower the temperature and cook for 20 minutes. Switch off the stove and keep it aside.

  4. To make the masala gravy, heat one teaspoon oil in the nonstick/ cast iron pan.

  5. Add cumin seeds and as soon as starts sizzling, add the onions.

  6. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the blended tomatoes with ginger into the pan.

  7. Let the tomato gravy cook and stir it from time to time for 5 minutes on medium heat.

  8. In the meantime, open the pressure cooker and remove the tea bag.

  9. Add the cooked chickpea and reserved liquid to the gravy pan. Add the channa masala, garam masala and salt to taste.

  10. Cover it and let it cook for 25-30 minutes on medium heat until the water is well incorpoated. Stir it occasionally to ensure they don’t burn.

  11. Garnish it with pickled red onion, fresh ginger, cilantro and chili oil (optional).

  12.  To make the chili oil: Heat up the avocado oil and mix in the deg mirch. The chili adds a nice color and perfect spice to the chana masala.