Chole masala | Chana Masala (vegan chickpea curry) with homemade chole masala powder recipe step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
What is chole masala
Chole masala or chana masala is a famous Punjabi curry that is made with chickpeas. This protein-packed vegan chickpea curry is very easy to make and is full of flavours. Typically, raw chickpeas are soaked overnight, boiled in a pressure cooker, and simmered in an onion-tomato and spices gravy. However, they also taste good if you use canned chickpeas. I use both fresh tomatoes and tomato puree (or passata) here. Fresh tomatoes give it a great taste and tomato puree adds a nice red colour to the curry.
Benefits of chickpeas
Chickpeas are a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. They have a low glycemic index. They have high dietary fiber and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. They are also known to aid weight management and improve digestive health.
Homemade spice blend versus store-bought spice blend
I have earlier shared my recipe for making the chole masala powder or spice blend at home. It is really simple to put together and the best part of this spice blend is that you won't need any additional spices to make chole masala.
While chole masala powder is easily available in Indian stores, it does not match the taste of freshly ground masala powder. And let us not forget the unique taste it adds to the dish because you can tweak it as per your taste buds.
Raw/dried chickpeas versus canned chickpeas
I highly recommend using raw chickpeas to make this curry. Raw chickpeas must be soaked overnight (or for at least 8 hours), the soaking water discarded, and then boiled in a pressure cooker (or instant pot). But if you have not planned ahead for making this curry, you may substitute it with canned chickpeas. Drain all the liquid from the canned chickpeas and rinse them in fresh water before using it.
Raw dried chickpeas absorb a lot of water when soaked. Here, I am using one cup of dried chickpeas, which gives me just over 2.5 cups of cooked chickpeas. If you are using canned chickpeas, drain the liquid and measure 2.5 cups for this recipe.
Chickpeas: I soak and boil dry chickpeas to make chole masala.
Chole masala powder: I use homemade chole masala powder but you may choose to use store-bought ones.
Onion: I use onion to make the masala base of this dish.
Tomatoes: I use tomatoes in two forms - fresh and tomato puree.
Kasuri methi: This is dried fenugreek leaves. This is an optional ingredient but I highly recommend using it.
Serving suggestions for chole masala
This curry goes well with both rice and flatbread. Pair it with jeera rice or naan for a wholesome meal. Or pair it with poori for an indulgent brunch. This versatile curry also tastes great when eaten just by itself.
Pro-tip: Using tomato puree (or passata) gives a deep red colour to this dish.
This dish is:
- vegan friendly
- good source of protein for vegetarians and vegans
- freezer-friendly. Make a large batch, portion, and freeze it. It can be frozen for up to three months
Step by step instructions
1. Pressure cook the chickpeas until completely done
2. Heat oil in a frying pan or kadhai. Fry onions until they are translucent
3. Add chole masala powder and fry for 1-2 minutes
4. Add chopped tomatoes and mix well. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and pulpy
5. Add tomato puree and mix well. Cover and simmer until the tomatoes and spices are completely cooked
6. Add the cooked chickpeas. Add water to adjust the consistency, and check and adjust seasoning
7. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes
8. Crush dry roasted kasuri methi between your palms and add it to the chole
9. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves
Chole masala | Chana masala (Vegan chickpea curry)
- Soak the chickpeas in water overnight (or for 8-10 hours)
- Once the chickpeas is soaked, wash it thoroughly in fresh water. Add the chickpeas to a pressure cooker along with salt and boil until it is completely done
- Lightly warm the kasuri methi in a small pan. Set aside
- Heat oil in a frying pan or kadhai. Fry onions until they are translucent
- Add chola masala powder and fry for 1-2 minutes
- Add chopped tomatoes and mix well. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and pulpy
- Add tomato puree and mix well. Cover and simmer until the tomatoes and spices are completely cooked (5-7 minutes)
- Add the cooked chickpeas. Add water to adjust the consistency, and check and adjust seasoning
- Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes
- Crush dry roasted kasuri methi in your palm and add it to the chole masala
- Add chopped coriander leaves
- Serve hot with naan or jeera rice
- You may replace raw chickpeas with canned chickpeas. In that case, drain all the liquid from it and rinse it well
- Making the spice powder is really simple and you can find the recipe here.
Click here to watch chole masala web story.