chana masala recipe, chickpea curry recipe
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4.71 from 37 votes

south indian chana masala

spicy and super delicious south indian style chickpea curry with coconut.
Prep Time9 hrs
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time9 hrs 30 mins
Course: main course
Cuisine: south indian
Servings: 4
Calories: 351kcal
Author: Dassana Amit


for pressure cooking chickpeas

  • 1 cup dried white chickpeas (kabuli chana or chole or safed chana) OR 180 grams of dried white chickpeas
  • 3 cups water for pressure cooking the chana
  • ½ teaspoon salt

for roasting masala

  • ¾ to 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon fennel
  • ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 dry red chilies or 4 chilies would make the dish spicy
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 4 to 5 whole black pepper
  • 1 small piece of stone flower (dagad phool) - optional

other ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
  • 1 green chili (hari mirch) - slit
  • 50 grams onion OR 1 medium onion OR ⅓ cup chopped onion
  • 80 grams tomatoes OR 1 medium tomato OR about ½ cup chopped tomato
  • ¼ or ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • ½ inch ginger + 2-3 garlic - crushed or made into a paste in mortar-pestle OR about 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 cup stock OR stock+water
  • 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves for garnishing (cilantro leaves)
  • salt as required


cooking chickpeas

  • first rinse 1 cup chana (dried chickpeas) for a couple of times in water. then soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
  • drain the water. rinse the chickpeas again for a couple of times.
  • again drain and add the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker.
  • add 1/2 tsp salt. add 3 cups water.
  • stir and pressure cook the chickpeas for 18 to 20 whistles on medium to high flame.
  • if cooking chickpeas in a pot, then add about 3.5 to 4 cups water with salt to the chickpeas. cover and cook the chickpeas till they softened.

making masala paste

  • when the chickpeas are cooking, you can roast the spices. in a pan or skillet, on a low flame dry roast the spices mentioned under the "roasting the masala" list, till they become fragrant. roast all spices except coconut.
  • then add 1/2 cup tightly packed grated coconut to the spices and begin to roast.
  • stir continuously while roasting the coconut, so that there is uniform browning.
  • roast till the coconut become golden. remove the pan and allow the this mixture to cool.
  • once the coconut-spice mixture is cooled, add them to wet grinder. remove the husk from the black cardamom and just add its seeds in the grinder.
  • add 2/3 to 3/4 cup water and grind to a smooth paste. keep aside.

making south indian chana masala

  • heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan.
  • add ½ tsp mustard seeds and allow them to crackle.
  • then add tejpatta and stir.
  • add 1/3 cup chopped onion.
  • stir and saute till the onions turn translucent and soften.
  • then add 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste, 1/4 tsp turmeric power, a pinch of asafoetida and 10-12 curry leaves.
  • stir and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic disappears.
  • add 1/2 cup chopped tomato. saute for about 2 to 3 minutes till the tomatoes soften.
  • add the ground masala paste. stir very well.
  • then add the drained chickpeas. stir again well and saute for a minute.
  • now add 1 cup stock or stock+water and 1 or 2 slit green chilies.
  • season with salt as required. do keep a check on salt as the stock already has salt.
  • give a boil and then simmer for 12-15 minutes on a low to medium flame or more till the curry thickens a bit and you see some oil floating on top. 
  • mash a few chickpeas with the sides of the spoon to thicken the curry. check the seasoning and add more salt as per your taste.
  • switch off the flame & lastly add 2 tbsp coriander leaves. stir well.
  • serve south indian chana masala hot with chapati, pooris, bread or steamed rice accompanied with lemon & onion slices.


Calories: 351kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1175mg | Potassium: 625mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 645IU | Vitamin C: 90.3mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 4.4mg