Channa Masala (or Chole Masala) 101

I make Indian food. Scratch that. I make really good Indian food. It should come as no surprise that I picked up on these recipes as I watched my mom cook growing up. I love to cook Indian food and change it up so that I can experiment with new savory flavors. I made Channa Masala (or Chole Masala as it is also called) for some friends last week, and my friend took pictures as I made it. She wanted to learn how to make it, so I thought I’d post the pictures and explain how simple it is to make to make this popular North Indian curry dish.

Ingredients you will need:
2-4 cans of Garbanzo Beans (puree or mash up 1/2 of one of the cans) — reserve some of the can liquid but drain most of it.
2-3 Roma tomatoes, pureed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Ginger, grated
Garlic, minced or grated
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala (staple spice for all Indian cooking)
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon Chili powder
2-3 Curry leaves
Salt to taste
*Note: If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can microwave the tomatoes and then mash them up to create a pureed look. For the garbanzo beans, you can use a potato masher or two forks to mash up 1/2 of one of the cans)

To Prepare:

Onions in panHeat oil in a pan, and add the onions. Stir and let them sweat out a bit.

TumericAdd the turmeric powder. I use a little more than 1/2 a teaspoon, but use as much you think you need. You want enough to coat the onions to add spice and color.

**Next you’ll add the 1/2 can of mashed, pureed garbanzo beans. If you do not have a food processor, you will do as illustrated in the photos below: add the 1/2 can, and then use a masher to help mash the beans up in your saucepan**


IMG_5496Next add your pureed tomatoes. Ordinarily I use 2-3 fresh Roma tomatoes and puree them in a blender or food processor. I tried a can for the first time. Use the fresh tomatoes. This didn’t add the depth of flavor I was looking for.

IMG_5497Once the tomatoes have been added, stir to incorporate all the flavors.

IMG_5498Let’s talk about spices! This is my spice tin (can be found at Indian goods store; spices not included when you buy the tin). These are used in most Indian recipes, though not all were used when making this dish. Starting from the top going clockwise: Coriander powder, turmeric powder, mustard seeds, garam masala (freshly ground), chili powder, Asofetida (Hing) and salt in the middle. Also used in most dishes, but not pictured: cumin seeds, cumin powder.

IMG_5500Add the garam masala and the chili powder and stir well. You can add more garam masala to make your dish more spicy (that’s how my mom and I do it!)

IMG_5501Add in the cans of garbanzo beans and stir. Think of it this way: About 1/2 a can is enough for one person, so make sure you buy enough to feed enough!

IMG_5502Almost looks like curry!

IMG_5503Add salt

IMG_5504At this point while the beans cook, your curry should be done.  Taste it and if you need to, add more garam masala. You can add as much garam masala as you want. depending on the spice level you wish to have in your dish.

IMG_5506Add the ginger. I usually grate the ginger right over the curry while it’s simmering away, but you can also finely chop it. Ginger adds immense flavor to this dish and also a bit of a kick.

IMG_5507Add your garlic. Again, I normally like to grate it right over the curry, but using the already-jarred minced garlic will do just fine. About two forkfuls (as you see pictured above) should do the trick. You may need to add more when you taste. Also add your curry leaves and stir the whole thing again.

**Let the curry simmer for 8-10 minutes. It may come up to a bubble and then turn your heat down to keep it simmering. You want the curry to be nice and thick and not too watery from the can liquid. If your curry does not thicken the way you want it, you can also add some Tamarind paste (1/2 tablespoon). This will add some darkness and thickness to your curry, as well as some tang.  If you do not have any tamarind paste, you can also use corn starch. Do not use too much or you’ll end up with a clump of curry!**

CholedoneThere you have it! It’s best served with Basmati rice or with naan. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Channa Masala (or Chole Masala) 101

  1. Pingback: Channa Masala (or Chole Masala) 101 « Chronicles of an Indian Girl – Indian Food blog

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