chana masala recipe, how to make chana masala | chana masala recipes

by dassana amit updated November 25, 2013

chana masala

this chana masala recipe is spicy and is made in south indian style. i have already posted punjabi style chana masala recipe on my blog.

as the name suggests, this chana masala recipe has south indian flavors. the hubby who loves his punjabi chole, relished this one too. so here, all the ingredients which are used in south indian cooking are added. coconut being one of the main ingredient.

in the punjabi style or north indian chana masala, onions, tomatoes, spices and dry pomegranate seeds or mango powder, make the masala paste and give a spicy and slight sour taste to the chana or chole recipe. apart from the above ingredients, garam masala powder or chole masala is also added to the punjabi chana masala recipe.

whereas in this chana masala the real flavor comes from coconut and whole spices. you can actually get a distinct taste of coconut. there is a subtle sweetness and this chana masala is not sour or tangy.

the chana masala tastes hot and spicy and goes well with rice, roti or poori. it can even go very well with bhature. if you are fond of chole bhature then you can consider serving this chana masala recipe with the homemade bhatura.

here i have dry roasted the whole spices with fresh grated coconut. then ground the spices and coconut into a fine paste. this dry roasting adds a lot of depth, aroma and flavor to the chana masala.

chana masala

i made the chana masala, very spicy by adding 4 dry red chilies. however, in the recipe details below, i have reduced the amount of red chilies. you can even reduce them further, if you don’t want to make it even a bit spicy.

you can use the same recipe and make the curry with black chickpeas, potato or green peas.

chana masala recipe

if you are looking for more chole or chana recipes then do check aloo chana masala, easy chana masalaamritsari chole, pindi chana, dry kala chanachana pulao and chana chaat.

chana masala recipe details below:

4.8 from 4 reviews

chana masala recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
chana masala – spicy south indian chickpea curry with coconut.
Recipe type: main
Cuisine: south indian
Serves: 4
for pressure cooking the chickpeas:
  • 1 cup dried white chickpeas/kabuli chana
  • 3 cups water for pressure cooking the chana
  • 1 tsp salt
for roasting the masala
  • ¾ to 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp fennel
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1-2 dry red chilies (3 or 4 chilies would make the dish very spicy)
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2-3 green cardamom
  • 1 small piece of stone flower/dagad phool (optional)
other ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 green chili, slit
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • ¼ or ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • ½ inch ginger + 2-3 garlic – crushed or made into a paste in mortar-pestle
  • 1.5 to 2 cups of the chickpea stock or water
  • salt as required
  • some coriander leaves for garnishing
  1. soak the chana/chickpeas overnight or for 8-9 hours.
  2. pressure cook the chanas, water and salt till they have completely cooked.
  3. drain the chanas and keep the stock aside.
  4. in a frying pan, add all the whole spices mentioned under “roasting the masala” list, except coconut
  5. roast till the spices start emanating their aroma.
  6. then add the freshly grated coconut.
  7. roast till the coconut gets browned.
  8. keep on stirring so that the coconut does not get burned.
  9. once this mixture has cooled, grind in a chutney grinder with 1 cup water.
  10. grind to a smooth paste.
  11. heat oil in a pot or kadai.
  12. first splutter the mustard.
  13. add the bayleaf
  14. then add onions and fry till they are softened and become translucent.
  15. add curry leaves, asafoetida and ginger-garlic paste.
  16. stir and fry till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic disappears.
  17. add chopped tomatoes.
  18. saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring in between.
  19. add the ground masala paste and stir.
  20. add the drained chanas and slit green chili.
  21. stir and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  22. now add the stock or water.
  23. give a boil and then simmer for 5-6 minutes or more till the gravy thickens a bit.
  24. mash a few chanas with the sides of the spoon.
  25. this will help in thickening the gravy.
  26. check the seasoning and add more salt as per your taste.
  27. garnish chana masala with coriander leaves.
  28. serve chana masala hot with pooris, chapatis, bread or steamed rice accompanied with lemon & onion slices.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Berman March 12, 2014 1

Try this


Rob Jones January 20, 2014 2

Very tasty. The curry leaves are definitely “up front” on this dish. I used 1/2c dessicated coconut, which wasn’t nearly enough to be detectable. Overall very nice, but a lot different than the dish by the same name I’ve had in Indian restaurants in the US. Next time around I’ll knock down the curry leaves and increase the coconut. That should balance out the flavors.


dassana amit January 20, 2014 3

thanks rob. glad to know that you liked the chana recipe.


Rob Jones February 9, 2014 4

Well this recipe is going to be my go-to chana dish, after six months and almost a dozen recipes tried. This time I added the curry leaves directly to the chutney. I decided to garnish with a few fried onions (in a bag from the local Indian store) and cilantro. Perhaps not very authentic, but it was crazy good.


dassana amit February 11, 2014 5

thanks rob. this is also my go to chana dish with coconut :-)


LBuubuu December 7, 2013 6

This is the second dish I’ve cooked from your website and just like the other it’s the best version of the dish I’ve ever tasted. I actually made it twice in one morning because the first time, after peeling and shredding and toasting the coconut and spices, I melted my spatula into it after picking up the wrong one :-O
Now I want to try all your recipes. :)


dassana December 7, 2013 7

thanks a lot lucy. happens when cooking… the spatulas get interchanged :-)


Shankari September 26, 2013 8

Jus tried it and my husband loved it. Got a little spicy so I added some flour mixture. Very easy to make, you’ve solved my problem of hesitating to buy the ready channa masala . Lovely, thank you for posting


dassana September 26, 2013 9

thanks shankari. nice to know that you liked the chana masala recipe.


Fran August 30, 2013 10


Just wondering, I can’t be certain how the fennel should be added. You say 1/2 tbsp.
I assume you mean 1/2 tbsp of fennel seeds?



dassana August 30, 2013 11

fran, it is half table spoon of fennel.


Fran September 12, 2013 12

thank you dassana!


Nina August 20, 2013 13

In the ‘other ingredients’ list you have mentioned bayleaf, asafoetida and green chilli. But none of these is mentioned in the recipe. Pls clarify when these should be added. Thanks.


dassana August 20, 2013 14

thanks nina for pointing out the mistake. i have updated the recipe detail. please check. green chili was already mentioned in step 20. do share your feedback once you try the chana masala recipe.


Laura July 31, 2013 15

This looks wonderful–pinning now!


easyfoodsmith July 13, 2013 16

It is wonderful that you make the masala for the chana from scratch. The chana looks very tempting and in fact one almost feels like polishing it off right away from the screen!


Divya July 13, 2013 17

I am yet to try your wheat flour Bhatura and here you are with a gorgeous looking channa masala recipe!!Got to try both soon!


HomemadeMother July 13, 2013 18

Ooooh this looks so comforting and delicious! I cannot wait to try it!