Chana Masala (Chickpea Masala)

Lately, my palate has been craving something unique. This usually tends to happen as summertime approaches and I am looking for new recipes to add to my recipe binder. I make American dishes all the time, but rarely do I cook Indian food, however when I do, I enjoy it very much. I chose to make Chickpea Masala after getting into a conversation with my neighbor about trying different ethnic foods. My neighbor, who has family in India, started to rave about the cuisine and gave me some ideas of what to make. After searching the aisles at the grocery store for the perfect spices to add into my dish, I was ready to get straight to cooking! 

I am proud to say that Chickpea Masala is now a new favorite in my home. My family now loves it, and I totally understand why. I find making Indian dishes to be fun because the spices fill the entire room while I cook. It gets your taste buds good and ready for a delectable dinner. This recipe is probably one of the quickest ones I have made in a long time, and the preparation takes no time at all. It is probably safe to say that for me, dicing the onion was most likely the most time consuming part of this meal. Selecting which spices to add in was very enjoyable for me. 

Chana Masala (Chickpea Masala)

Recipe by Madison
3.9 from 27 votes
Course: Main, Lunch, DinnerCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons garam masala

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 28 ounces tomato sauce

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 cups chickpeas

  • 1/3 cup almond or coconut milk

  • 1 teaspoon cilantro (for garnish)


  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high and Sauté diced onion for about 3 minutes. Stir continuously.
  • Next, add salt, grated ginger, cinnamon, chili powder, garam masala and paprika. Add more oil if needed. Cook for another minute.
  • Add the tomato sauce, bay leaf, chickpeas and milk. Mix together well.
  • Turn heat down to medium-low and allow to thicken. About 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Serve with freshly chopped cilantro and Enjoy!


  • Adjust spices to your taste buds.

For this recipe, I tried to keep it as simple as possible. Since I do not make Indian food often, I wanted to tread lightly with the spices and ingredients I chose to add into this dish. I have some friends who talk about how they add coconut milk in their dish to thicken up the sauce and add that extra flavor. While I love coconut milk, I chose to add in almond milk because that is what I had on hand. A lot of the spices used in this recipe I already had in my cabinet. Garam masala was the only spice I needed to go out and buy. I know that spice is a popular one in India. This dish is really a “season-to-taste” dish. You need to adjust the seasonings to your own liking. 

You will know you created the perfect recipe when you can taste both the garam masala and cinnamon and one does not overpower the other. At least, that is how I like it. Yes, I did add cinnamon to this dish, but not too much because I still did want to really taste the other spices. Cinnamon is strong, you know and too much of it can completely alter the taste of your meal.

I paired this dish with Indian style flatbread, which is similar to Naan, a type of flatbread found in Indian and some Caribbean cuisines. You can pair it with whatever sides you enjoy. Most people I know enjoy Chickpea Masala with a type of flatbread or basmati rice. Whichever side you choose, you cannot go wrong. I hope you get to try this dish, and if it is your first time cooking Indian food, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Happy eating! 

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