Make Ahead

Chhole a.k.a Chana Masala (Indian Spiced Chickpeas)

May 19, 2016
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 5
Author Notes

Chhole and chana masala are used interchangeably for the Indian dish of spiced garbanzo beans that's popular in Indian restaurants. But there is a slight difference between the two: Chana Masala is the drier version, eaten with naan, puris, and bhatura (deep-fried bread), whereaas chhole is the saucier dish generally eaten with rice. —Annada Rathi

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/4 cups dry garbanzo beans, soaked in water overnight or for 6 hours at least OR two 15 1/2-ounce cans of organic garbanzo beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pieces of cinnamon, 1/2-inch long
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 green chile pepper, diced
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (1/2-inch pieces) or 1 to 1 1/2 cups diced canned tomatoes
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mango powder (amchoor) or 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. This recipe gives instructions for using dry garbanzo beans as well as canned garbanzo beans. Only the following step differs.
  2. For dried beans: Add the soaked beans to a heavy-bottomed pan and cover with 6 cups of water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 black cardamom pods, then bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour over medium heat. After boiling, drain the garbanzo beans and save the water. Set aside. For canned beans: Drain and rinse the beans. Add them to heavy-bottomed pot along with 4 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 black cardamom pots. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat. Drain the beans and save the water. Set aside. Though boiling canned beans seems like an extra step, I do it to remove the canned, metallic taste of the beans and to impart a creamy texture.
  3. Place a heavy-bottomed sauté pan on one of the stove burners and pour in the oil. Turn the heat onto medium and when the oil is hot, slide green cardamom, bay leaf, and cinnamon pieces into the pan. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add onions and allow them to become translucent and brown at the edges, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  5. Follow with garlic, ginger, and green chile pepper and sauté for 2 minutes.
  6. Pour tomatoes and add pinch of sugar. Stir from time to time, letting the tomatoes lose their moisture. Once they've gotten to that point, stir continuously to prevent them from sticking to the pan. Soon the tomatoes will start secreting oil. This whole process from adding tomatoes to secreting oil should take about 10 minutes.
  7. Add turmeric, coriander powder, and remaining salt. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Add garbanzo beans and 2 cups water reserved from boiling the beans (if water saved from boiling is not enough, supplement with regular water).
  9. Add dry mango powder, also called amchoor. It's generally found in Asian grocery stores. If you are not able to find it, substitute with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
  10. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot with rice or warm naan.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Yiannis Psaroudis
    Yiannis Psaroudis
  • Samantha Trumbo
    Samantha Trumbo
  • Dianecpa
  • Annada Rathi
    Annada Rathi
To some people's frustration, I like to talk about food before cooking, while cooking, while eating and of course after eating.

6 Reviews

Agnieszka January 23, 2018
So there is a way to get rid of that nasty tinned taste from canned garbanzos?! It's a great tip, I have to try it! Thank you!
Yiannis P. January 5, 2018
I liked this recipe, but found it to be too salty (for my taste) so, the first time I made it, I added a potato at the end & kept it simmering until the potato was soft. The second time I made it, I left the salt out. Both worked out well.
Annada R. January 5, 2018
Thank you for the comment, Yiannis. Adding a potato was a great idea.
Samantha T. August 3, 2017
Really enjoyed this recipe! We love scooping this up with some naan. The tip about boiling canned chickpeas is great! It really gets rid of that canned taste.
Annada R. August 3, 2017
Thank you, Samantha! I was really happy to hear about your great experience!
Dianecpa October 30, 2016
Yum....garbanzos are the quickest to cook dry beans after lentils, love them!