Channa…channa masala…la la la laa la…do do be doo! Yes, that was me singing about channa masala. Why you ask? Well only because it’s one of my favorite Indian dishes, that’s why!

Channa masala was one of the first Indian dishes that I ever tried, a long time ago in Princeton, NJ (my friends and I may have skipped class that evening to binge eat Indian deliciousness and guzzle wine. We called it “field research” and “cultural exposure”…well, that’s how we justified it anyway). Ever since that tasty night, spice has flowed through my veins and Indian flavors have made me go weak in the knees.  Although it’s a staple at all Indian restaurants, it’s even better when made at home!

In this recipe, tomatoes and chickpeas stew together with fantastic exotic spices…then dolloped upon fluffy basmati rice and scooped up by crisp naan. It’s so simple, yet the result has a complex, multi-layered flavor. It’s sweet, sour, tangy, savory, spicy, soothing, and basically just drool worthy. If you want a spicier dish, add in some hot chili powder, another green chili, or up the amount of cayenne. In the recipe, you’ll notice that I list something called “amchur powder”…it’s just powdered green mango that can be found at any local Indian/ethnic market (another spelling is “amchoor”). It’s delicious and gives you that underlying tangy sour bite that’s characteristic of channa masala. If you can’t find it, drizzle some lime over it before serving.

Anyway! This is also a versatile recipe that stands up well to additional veggies. I’ve added carrots, spinach, peas, coconut milk, zucchini, eggplant; etc etc etc….each version turns out great. So feel free to toss in some vegetables to give it a unique spin. Enjoy!


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 onions (diced)

3 garlic cloves (minced)

1 green chili (minced)

2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)

1 tablespoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon amchur powder

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon chili powder (optional)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups tomatoes (diced…usually I used plum tomatoes)

2 cans chickpeas (14.5 oz each, drained and rinsed)

Salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add in the onions, garlic, chili, and cumin seeds. Cook until lightly brown and tender, around 5 minutes.

Add in the ginger, coriander, amchur, paprika, ground cumin, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder (if using), cinnamon, cayenne, and salt/pepper (I usually put all these spices in a bowl while the onion is cooking…then dump it in all at once…it’s easier for me that way). Stir to combine. Cook for about 1 minute.

Add in the tomatoes and drained chickpeas. Stir to deglaze the pan and so that everything is coated in the spiced onion mixture. Add in another pinch of salt/pepper.

Change heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for around 20-30 minutes. When the tomatoes have broken down, you will know you’re ready to eat!

Serve over basmati rice and with naan or roti. Enjoy!