Very Va Va Vegetarian: Chana Masala Recipe

BlogHer Original Post

Thinking too much about this recipe and its merits frustrates me.

When I was young, I was vegetarian and hated curry, which to me meant all Indian food. What a waste. Of all the diets in the world, the Indian culture contains some of the most varied vegetarian recipes. Hinduism encourages a vegetarian lifestyle, and though it is left up to the individual, many Hindus are vegetarian. Today, throughout India and it's many regional cuisines vegetarian dishes are frequent and varied. 

Channa Masala Recipe


I remember eating many fettucine alfredos in my vegetarian days. Restaurant menus were always short on options, and despite being a pasta addict, I was never enthusiastic about the gluey looking pastas I chowed down on. Aromatics and spices like ginger, garlic, onions, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cardamom in Indian cooking make every dish taste unique. Mint, cilantro and fresh chilies fleck the dishes with hints of green. So different than those bland, plate-shaped fettucine dishes.

Channa Masala


Now that I have embraced curry and other Indian flavors, I am attempting to make some classic recipes, of which this Chana Masala, or Channa Masala, is one. Chana, Hindi for "chickpea," masala simply translates to chickpeas with a spicy mixture. While researching this recipe, I found the common ingredients to be chickpeas and tomatoes with generous amounts of garlic, ginger, onions, and garam masala.

So I urge you, if you are a vegetarian out there who is hesitant about curries, give this recipe a try. Just don't use your spouse's coffee grinder to make garam masala -- they hate that.  


Channa Masala Recipe (serves 3-4)

Adapted from Recipezaar

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 small onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 15oz can chickpeas

1 tomato, chopped

1/2 cup water

1 15pz can chickpeas

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

1/2 fresh green chili, minced


In a heavy pot with a lid heat oil to medium and add onions & garlic. Cook, stirring regularly for 5 minutes or so. You want the garlic and onions to actually start to brown. Turn heat to medium low and add ground cumin, turmeric, cumin seeds, curry powder, paprika and salt. Stir for 60 seconds, the spices should become fragrant when they hit the heat. Just don't stand too close or you risk a sneeze. Add the tomato and cook for another 3 minutes stirring regularly. Add chickpeas and water and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. It should be at a gentle simmer.


Add chili and ginger, stir for another 30 seconds and serve.


This recipe keeps well in the fridge and is a great filling for a wrap the next day. Try adding fresh spinach, cilantro and a bit of yogurt to a wrap along with a scoop of Channa Masala.


Similar Recipes:

Slow Cooker Squash, Chickpea & Red Lentil Stew

Red Lentil and Yam Curry

Curried Squash Soup


Daily Unadventures in Cooking


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