A bowl of South Indian Chana Masala

Chana Masala

South Indian style Chana masala is a wonderful vegan, gluten free, iron and fiber rich side dish that pairs well with poori, bhature and rice.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine South Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Usha Rao



Chana Masala

  • 1 ½ - 2 tbsp Oil
  • ½ medium sized Onion about ⅔ cups chopped
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 3 Green Chilies cut in half
  • 1 medium Tomato chopped about ¾ cup when chopped
  • 2 small Potatoes cut into 16 pieces each about ¾ cup when cut
  • 1 ½ tsp Coriander Powder
  • ¼ tso Turmeric :Powder
  • 1 - 1 ½ tsp Salt adjust to taste
  • 1 ½ tsp Chili Powder adjust to taste
  • 1 can 15 oz Garbanzo Beans / Chickpeas
  • 2 cups Water
  • Cilantro to garnish

Masala Paste

  • 6 Whole Cashews
  • ¾ tsp Poppy Seeds
  • 1 ½ - 2 tbsp Grated Coconut frozen
  • 1 Clove
  • tsp Cardamom Seeds
  • ” Cinnamon Stick
  • ¼ tsp Shah Jeera or Cumin


  • Heat oil in a pan and saute onions until light brown.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and saute until raw smell dissipates.
  • Throw in cut green chilies, tomatoes, potatoes, ½ tsp salt, turmeric and mix well.
  • Cover and cook until potatoes are semi cooked, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add coriander powder, chili powder, chana, remaining salt and fry for a minute or two until spices coat chana.
  • Add water, cover and bring to a boil.
  • Grind to fine paste all the ingredients under paste suing some water.
  • Add ground paste to chana masala, check consistency and add water if needed.
  • Cover and continue to cook until potatoes are cooked and chana is soft.
  • Check consistency, taste and adjust seasoning. If the gravy is too thin, smash some of the chana to thicken the gravy.
  • Turn off the heat, garnish with cilantro and serve with poori or rice.


  • Chickpeas - One 15 oz can is about 1 ¼ - 1 ½ cups chickpeas. If using dry chickpeas, soak ¾ cup of chickpeas overnight or for at least 6 hours. Cook chickpeas and then use in the recipe. I normally do 5 whistles in a pressure cooker.
  • Masala Paste - for rich masala, use 1 ½ tsp poppy seeds, 8 whole cashews and 2 tbsp grated coconut.
  • Coconut - Use fresh grated coconut or frozen coconut. But if you can not source it, use dry coconut. Frozen or dry coconut is available in any Indian store. Or use unsweetened desiccated coconut available in any supermarket.