Chole/Chana Masala

Chana Masala, one of the most popular Chickpeas dish in spicy onion and tomato masala. Best served with Steamed or Jeera rice. Vegan and gluten-free..

Chana Masala

 “Nobody makes as my mom makes it” we all say and especially when we miss mom-made food!! We swear by Ma ke haat ka khaana!! There is a special kind of emotional bond with some dishes, no matter wherever we go, by just hearing their name only memories take us to our good old childhood days!!! How many of you have this feeling /connection with Chole Chawal, Rajma Chawal, Kadhi Chawal and other desi dishes? The recipe for these dishes is almost the same in every house with one or two variations but it is the special touch of mother’s hand that makes these dishes so special for all of us!!! Chole Chawal (Chickpeas in Masala Gravy) is one of such dish for me.

What is Chole Masala or Chana Masala

Masala Chole or Chana Masala are Kabuli Chana or Chickpeas cooked in spicy, tangy paste of onions, tomato, ginger and garlic in spices and herbs. This is one of the most popular vegetarian dishes in Northern India. Best enjoyed with Bhatura, Poori(deep fried Indian flatbreads), Kulchas, Jeera Rice or simple Steamed Rice.Other variations of Channa Masala are Pindi Chana(no-onion no-garlic), Dilliwale Chole of Chole Bhature fame!!

Nutritional value of Chickpeas

Due to its high fiber and protein content and various other nutritional benefits, it is one of the most popular food items for the vegetarians/ vegans all around the world. Also known as Garbanzo Beans, it also forms one of the important part of gluten-free diets. Apart from the Indian subcontinent(especially India and Pakistan), chickpeas are widely used in various other cuisines especially in Mediterranean cuisine or Central Asian Countries.

This Chana Masala recipe is basically my mom’s recipe, the way she used to make it and naturally passed on to me.Best enjoyed with steamed/ rice, this used to be a part of our favorite Sunday lunch menus. It was also one of the important dishes made during festivals like Diwali and served along with pooris and Sooji Halwa and Boondi Raita. Mom made a somewhat dry variation of this Chole Masala for our birthday parties and served it with tangy tamarind(Imli) and Cilantro(Coriander/Dhania) Chutney along with some crushed Mathri / Papadi)… feeling nostalgic !!! My kids too enjoy Chole this way, topped with papadi and sev, along with chutneys.

In U.P and Delhi region, aloo tikkis are also enjoyed with Channa Masala along with yoghurt and chutneys. This is also enjoyed with Aloo Samosas as ‘Chole Samosa Chaat’, mostly served in restaurants as snacks.

Preparation and Cooking Chole Masala

Kabuli Chana/Chole/Chickpeas needs to be soaked overnight or 6-7 hrs, and cooked in pressure cooker we use it in any recipe, but nowadays, canned chickpeas are also available in stores so you can use these directly also. Only you have to prepare the base masala or gravy and add the chickpeas.

What if I forgot to soak Chickpeas overnight or there is less time to soak..

In case you forget to soak the chickpeas at night or there no time for 6-7 hrs of soak, you can still make chickpeas after an hour or so of soaking.

For this wash, the chickpeas, boil enough water to soak chickpeas in a pan, add the chickpeas and a tsp of salt to boiling water, give it a little stir, switch off the flame and cover the pan properly. You can also use the pressure cooker in which you will be making chickpeas, only that take out the pressure whistle when you put the lid. Leave it for an hour.  After an hour or so, you can cook chickpeas. Drain the water in which you soaked chickpeas and add fresh water to cook.

Let’s gather the ingredients, cook and relish this Chole/Chana Masala!!

Total Time: 1 hr(excluding Soaking time)


For Cooking Chole/ Chickpeas:

Kabuli Channa/ Chole/Chickpeas—— 250 g

Teabag —1

 Sabut Garam Masala / Dry Whole Spices:

Tej Patta (Bay Leaves) –1 or 2 small

Dal Chini (Cinnamon Stick)– 1 small / 1 inch

Laung (Cloves)— 4-5

Kali Elaichi( Big Cardamom) –2-3

Salt — as per taste

For Gravy:

Onions —- 1 medium

Ginger— 1″ piece

Garlic– 5-6 cloves

Green Chilies — 1-2 (as per preferences)

Tomatoes– 3 medium

 Jeera / Cumin Seeds–1 Tsp

Dhania Powder/ Coriander Powder—1 Tsp

Jeera Powder/ Cumin Powder— 1/2 Tsp

Red Chili Powder—1/2 to 1 Tsp

Garam Masala—1 Tsp

Chana Masala (Store Bought / Homemade) —- 2-3  Tsp

Oil for frying masala—- 2 Tbsp


  1. Wash and soak chickpeas in enough water, overnight.
  2. Drain the soaked chickpeas rinse and put in the pressure cooker, and add enough water. Add on salt, sabut garam masala (whole dry spices), tea bag. If you don’t have teabag, you can tie 1-2 tsp of tea leaves( chai patti ) in clean muslin cloth (malmal cloth) and add along with chickpeas(Chole). Instead of tea bag/ tea leaves, you can also add 2-3 dry amla (Indian gooseberry) or a small pomegranate peel , that gives a nice color and flavor to the dish.
  3. Let the water come to a boil, gather and discard the froth that collects on top.
  4. Close the pressure cooker lid and cook till 2-3 whistles and the for 5-10 minutes on low flame. Cooked chickpeas should be soft and easily mashed with a spoon.
  5. Discard the teabag.
  6. Grind together onion, green chili, ginger and garlic.
  7. Take a pan and heat oil in it. I prefer mustard oil, you can take any oil of your choice.
  8. Add jeera seeds and let it brown a little, add the onion paste, fry till it turns light brown. Grind tomatoes to puree.
  9. Add  tomatoes  puree to onion paste and cook until the masala starts to thicken up.
  10. Add dry masala powders (coriander, cumin, red chilli, and Chana masala). You can use any of the Chana Masala, here I have used store bought. I like Badshah Masala for Pav Bhaji, Sambhar, as it gives authentic taste to these dishes.
  11. Cook for another 2-3 mins till the oil separates, taking care not to burn the masala. Take a ladleful of boiled chickpeas, add to the masala and mash, and mix.
  12. When the masala is well cooked add it to the boiled chickpeas and mix well. Add some water if the gravy is too thick. Be careful not to add too much water, we don’t want watery Chole.
  13. Cook on low flame for 5-10 mins until the chickpeas are well blended with masala.

Serve hot with Jeera Rice, Steamed Rice, Poori or even with garam garam (hot) phulkas/ chapatis or crispy kulcha, along with sliced onions and lime!!

Other Chickpea related recipe on the blog… Dilliwale Chole Bhature, Falafel ,Pindi Chole, Baked Chickpeas, Palak Aur Kabuli chane Ka Pulao

Let me know how you liked it and whenever you make it do share your feedback with me .

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Author: Swati

Some who believes 'EAT WELL, READ DAILY, TRAVEL OFTEN AND LAUGH KHUL KE'!!! Hi!! Swati here!!! Chef, Chocolatier, food admirer, reader, love to travel, listen to music, Bollywood and shoot nature and food pics!! Welcome to my Foodtrails and join me in my food adventure!!

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