3.9/5 rating (30 votes)

Chana Masala

Tea-Infused Chickpea Curry

  • Heat Medium
  • Serves 6
  • Prep 10 mins
  • Marinade 1 day
  • Cook 30 mins
Chana Masala

Hari says

One of the most popular dishes in the whole of India that is usually dipped into with soft leavened bread called patura or bhatura.

In this recipe I have cooked the chickpeas in tea - unusual I know but it adds such warm and earthiness plus it gives the chickpeas a darker colour adding depth to the masala.

If you prefer use a tin of chickpeas and boil them with a tea bag for about 15 minutes before making the masala. The pomegranate powder adds a delicious tang to the chickpeas. Serve with finely sliced red onions and chillies, with a good squeeze of lemon juice.

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 300g dried chickpeas
  • 1 black tea bag
  • 4cm piece ginger
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp pomegranate powder
  • ½ tsp black salt
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Fresh coriander, roughly chopped for garnish
  • 1 tsp chaat masala


  1. Soak the dried chickpeas in about 1.5L of water overnight.
  2. Drain and place in a large saucepan with fresh water. Add the tea bag and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and leave them to simmer for 1½ hours until the chickpeas are tender.
  4. Drain, discard the tea bag but keep the cooking liquid.
  5. Mash a few of the chickpeas with a potato masher.
  6. Dry roast the cumin seeds in a frying pan for 2-3 minutes until it becomes fragrant. Crush by just breaking the seeds in pestle & mortar and keep to one side.
  7. Blend the ginger and green chillies to a fine paste in a wet grinder and set aside. 
  8. Blitz the tomatoes to a puree for later.
  9. In a heavy bottom saucepan, heat the oil. Add the sliced onions and cook on a medium heat for at least 10-15 minutes until they turn golden.
  10. Stir in the sliced garlic and stir until it just changes colour. Add the ginger & chilli paste.
  11. Fry for a minute, add the blended tomatoes and cook down until the tomatoes and onions start to combine to create a thick masala. 
  12. Add the chilli powder, coriander and ground cumin and stir for a few minutes until the masala starts to become aromatic and thick.
  13. Pour in the cooked chickpeas and stir to combine with the masala.  
  14. Sprinkle in the pomegranate powder and black salt and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
  15. If the consistency is dry, add a little of the cooking water reserved from earlier and leave the chickpeas to cook for about 20 minutes.
  16. Keep an eye on the pan and stir every 10 minutes or so. Add more liquid if required. 
  17. Check the seasoning and adjust if required. Make sure the chickpeas are nice and soft and the sauce is thick.
  18. Add the garam masala and a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

To serve

  1. Top the channa with sliced red onions, freshly chopped coriander, sliced green chillies and a sprinkle of chaat masala.
  2. Serve with deep-fried puris and enjoy in total happiness!

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Comments (2)

  • Matthew Bull

    Matthew Bull

    15 May 2018 at 19:08 |
    Garlic is mentioned in the method, but not the ingredients list.


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      16 May 2018 at 10:55 |
      Hi Matthew Thanks so much - sorry about that. I have now been amended. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks Hari


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