This creamy Chana Masala is a curry dish that’s made with no coconut. Start by making a homemade curry paste with simple ingredients and stir it into tomatoes, chickpeas, and creamy yogurt for a comforting curry recipe that’s full of great flavor.
Chana masala is a simple curry dish that is made by cooking chickpeas into a mild curry tomato gravy.
While it originates in India, there are so many different versions you can make depending on the region it’s from.
This chana masala is kept simple and easy making it perfect for a weeknight dinner.
You’ll need to blend together a simple curry paste made of garlic, onion, ginger, and spices.
Then, you’ll add it to a pot of stewed tomatoes and chickpeas and stir in some yogurt for a delightfully creamy texture.
Serve these Indian chickpeas over rice or with your favorite roasted vegetables for a comforting meal that takes 45 minutes or less from start to finish!
Chana masala is also known as chole, chole masala, channay, chhole masala, or chholay.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
There’s no coconut milk in this Chana Masala.
The simple curry paste is easy to make and contains simple ingredients.
It has plenty of natural fiber and protein that come from chickpeas.
It’s mild enough for kids or people who don’t enjoy spicy food.
For the curry paste:
- Fresh Cilantro - Aka coriander. Gives the curry a fresh herb taste.
- Garlic & Onion - Adds an infusion of garlic and onion aromatic flavor.
- Fresh Ginger - Adds some natural spice and zest.
- Vegetable Oil - Helps to emulsify the curry paste together.
- Spices - You’ll need ground coriander, cumin seeds, turmeric, and dried chili flakes to season the curry.
For the chana masala:
- Grape Tomatoes - Gives the dish a pop of fresh sweetness and acidity. Also called cherry tomatoes or baby tomatoes. You can use sliced regular tomatoes too.
- Chickpeas - Adds protein, fiber, and bulk to the dish.
- Water - Helps thin out the curry.
- Plain Yogurt - Gives the curry a creamy consistency. Use vegan yogurt if required.
Please see the recipe card below for quantities.
Wondering how to make this Chana Masala recipe? It's easy! Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Make the curry paste: Add the curry paste ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until a thick paste is formed.
Make the curried tomato gravy. Add the curry paste to a pan over medium heat. Fry, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the water, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Check often and add more water if it’s beginning to scorch.
Assemble the chana masala. Stir in the chickpeas and heat for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Divide between plates and top with more chopped cilantro, if desired.
Though this is a mild curry, you can omit the chili flake in the curry paste to keep the spice level very low.
While the tomato gravy is being simmered, keep an eye on it as the water could evaporate quickly and scorch the tomatoes. Add as much water as necessary.
If you don’t have the ingredients to make a proper curry paste, you can use dried garam masala and adjust as necessary.
Serve with a refreshing Banana Lassi for a balance of temperatures.
Pour over a bed of Turmeric Rice for a fully satisfying meal.
If you don’t have chickpeas, use your favorite canned beans.
Stir in some greens such as spinach, chard, or even beet greens to add nutrient density.
You can also use canned diced tomatoes in place of fresh tomatoes in this recipe.
Storing: Cooked chana masala can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freezing: Add cooked and cooled chana masala to a container, freezer-safe jar, or bag and freeze for 3-4 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating and serving.
Yes, but they will need to be soaked and fully cooked before adding them to this recipe.
While they both have a strong tomato base, tikka masala has meat and vegetables whereas chana masala has a main ingredient of chickpeas.
This depends on where you get it from. This recipe has yogurt but it can easily be swapped out for a dairy-free yogurt as long as it's not sweetened!
More curry recipes
I hope you love this chana masala recipe. Be sure to check out these other tasty Indian curry recipes too!
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For the curry paste
- ½ cup cilantro coriander, roughly chopped (8g)
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 inch ginger peeled
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon dried chili flakes
For the chana masala
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (200g)
- 1 can chickpeas 15 oz/400g, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup water (200ml)
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt or dairy free yogurt
- Make the spice paste by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blitzing to a paste. Set aside.
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the curry paste. Fry, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Stir in the water, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Check often and add more water if it’s beginning to scorch.
- Stir in the chickpeas and heat for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt.
- Divide between plates and top with more chopped cilantro, if desired.
- Though this is a mild curry, you can omit the chili flake in the curry paste to keep the spice level very low.
- While the tomato gravy is being simmered, keep an eye on it as the water could evaporate quickly and scorch the tomatoes. Add as much water as necessary.
- If you don’t have the ingredients to make a proper curry paste, you can use dried garam masala and adjust as necessary.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.