Dinner/ Recipes

Channa Masala

I LOVE Indian food. I had it for the first time when I was in culinary school, living in Orlando, and I’ve been rather obsessed ever since. For some reason (like most things) Indian food never tastes as good when you make it yourself. I see that as a challenge.
Welcome to my kitchen. Listen up.
First, heat up about two tbsp of butter in your cast iron skillet.
Yes, butter. Don’t try to substitute this out because its crucial to the finished product. I’M WATCHING YOU.
Once the butter has sufficiently melted, dump in one chopped yellow onion.
Toss well so the onions are thoroughly coated with the good stuff. Your heat should be at medium right now.
Now this is the first very important step. You must execute patience and grace or your channa masala will suffer indefinitely. You are to let the onions caramelize. This will take about 15 minutes and you probably will get very nervous and antsy while the onions cook because if they burn….you lose.
You must let the onions go from this:
To this:
Excellence takes time, my friends. Patience is a virtue.
While the onions are cooking (you probably want to reduce the heat to more medium low now), smash and chop two fat cloves of garlic,
a one inch knob of ginger,
and a seeded jalapeno pepper.
Check on your onions.
They aren’t there yet.
But, once they ARE there (see a few photos up), add your ginger, garlic and jalapeno to the mix
And then add about three tbsp of tomato paste. I have a secret when it comes to tomato paste. I freeze it.
I dare you to show me a person who uses the whole can of tomato paste in any one recipe that they make. Usually they use about two or three tablespoons and the rest goes in the trash. My method is to scoop the extra paste from the can into a little plastic baggie and then freeze. When you need a tablespoon just break off what you need (it melts quickly) and throw it in frozen to your recipe. Bang!
Now I need to talk for a second about this step because if the onions were number one most crucial, the tomato paste is a close second. This is the base of all the flavor for the whole dish right now and most people mess it up. But not you because in a second you will be a pince champ (pronounced pinc-AY). All pince really means is to cook the tomato paste down, thus intensifying the flavors immensely. No pince = bland and boring. THIS IS IMPORTANT.
Once you add the tomato paste to the pan, stir so that all the onions are coated well.
Flatten down everything on the bottom of the pan, crank the heat to more of a high/medium and set away. That’s right, you heard me, step away from the stove. To properly pince means you need to let the tomato paste cook and brown up a bit. This is going to burn off all the sugar in the tomato and leave you with a really intense delicious flavor.
How do you know when its done?
You look for the crust.
After a few minutes a crust will start to appear on the bottom of your pan. No, you did not burn anything. You did good! Also, it will start to smell like pizza. There’s just no other way I can describe this. You’ll know what I mean when you do it.
Now it’s time for the spice. Add one tablespoon coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (I use 1/2 tsp but I like it HOT)
And one tsp cumin
Stir well. The mixture should now seem pretty dry but do not fear!
And one can of chopped tomatoes in the juice
As well as two 15 ounce cans of chickpeas (rinsed, please!)
Stir, baby, stir.
And then add 1 tsp garam masala
And a sprinkle of sea salt and squeeze of lemon….you’re done!
Mine turned out super duper extreme spicy because I used 1/2 tsp cayenne. I don’t recommend this if you are sane, which clearly I am not. I will probably stir some plain yogurt in it before I serve it tonight or else I might not make it.
Here’s the whole recipe, one more time.
Channa Masala
Serves 4


2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 inch knob ginger, peeled and chopped
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 lemon
1 tbsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garam masala
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp tumeric
2 tbsp butter
In a large cast iron skillet, heat the butter. Once melted, add the onions and cook for about 15 minutes on medium low heat, or until golden brown.
Once the onions have caramelized, add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno and stir well. Cook for about two minutes or until it starts to smell like heaven on earth.
Add the tomato paste and pince, using above photos as an example. This is very important and if you don’t do it right your dish is pretty much doomed. No pressure.
Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne and tumeric and stir well. Then add the diced tomatoes, chickpeas and garam masala.
Cook for about five minutes or until the chickpeas have heated through. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and top with plain yogurt and cilantro if desired!

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  • Angharad
    May 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I adore chana masala! It’s become a regular on my rotation of go-to meals because 1) it’s so frickin easy and 2) it is unbelievably delicious!

    I don’t use tomato paste but I do use a few more spices so the flavour probably evens out somewhere in the middle.

    Mine is always spicy to the extreme as well: I don’t seed my jalapenos. Because I am mental.

    Nice how-to! Everyone needs to know how to make this!

  • Mallory
    May 19, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make indian food at home but have been scared! THis post definitely encouraged me.

  • Heather
    May 19, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Homemade Indian is always so much better if you use whole spices (whole coriander and cumin seeds, etc), toast them first, then grind them yourself. I know it’s kind of a pain and more time consuming, but it is that much more delicious. Also, I add my spices in with my onions which makes it that much more fragrant. And if you love the heat, which I know you do, use whole chiles! So spicy, so delicious.

  • Amanda
    May 19, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    This is great! I had one bad experience with Indian food when I was trying to be brave (and at the time I wasn’t a vegetarian) and open my taste buds a little bit and I have been scared ever since. However, since discovering food blogs it seems like you can find good, healthy, vegetarian options. I have seen this on other food blogs before but always from a restaurant so thanks for doing a homemade version! I will for sure try this soon!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    May 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    I love this post! Indian is always so intimidating but this looks amazing!!

  • Jenna (Hello, I Love You)
    May 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    This looks awesome! I love the idea of freezing the tomato paste from the can–so much more cost effective!

  • Seana
    May 19, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful step by step recipe post. I can not wait to try it at home!!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    May 19, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Channa masala is one of those dishes that I always think sounds delicious, but never make. I really need to get some spices so I can give it a try.

    I love all your “real” cooking knowledge!! (I use a whole can of tomato paste for marinara sauce- but that’s when I’m cheating πŸ˜‰ great tip though!)

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner
    May 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Yum I have to try this, I LOVE indian food!

  • Mo
    May 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Looove Indian food, especially channa masala. I usually don’t put so much effort into it though. I just throw a bunch of stuff together and call it a meal. πŸ˜‰

    Looks delicious and I totally agree about the caramelization of the onions. Gives it so much flavor!

  • Beth B.
    May 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Yum – thanks for the recipe and the tips. Also great idea re: the tomato paste!! Clever!!! I hope to try this recipe soon!

  • Angela (ohsheglows)
    May 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    will you have a heart attack if I use vegan butter? lol πŸ˜‰

  • kristen
    May 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Did you love it? It looks so good. I, too, am OBSESSED with Indian food. My kids and I made naan the other day and it was pretty good, but not as good as the naan from my fave restaurant. I’m definitely going to try this recipe. Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

  • Katie
    May 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I like this idea of step by step recipe posts!

  • Evan Thomas
    May 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I love the idea of this post and series!

  • Katie
    May 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I like this idea of new step by step recipe posts!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    May 19, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    um, awesome. i am making this the second i have some canned tomatoes, which is DEFINITELY this week πŸ™‚

  • Holly
    May 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    That looks REALLY good!! Can’t wait to try it πŸ™‚ Printing it out NOW!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    May 19, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I do the same with tomato paste – works great!

  • Maria @ A Healthier Maria
    May 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    YUM I have actually been looking for this exact recipe for some time now! & your technique tips are great because otherwise I would be clueless! However, I do have a question. You say to use butter, but is the final product different if you use oil instead? I am really not a butter fan (I know, crazy!) so I never have it in my house.
    Thanks! πŸ™‚

    • Angharad
      May 19, 2010 at 3:38 pm

      I am obviously not jenna, but my tried and true method for chana masala uses olive oil, not butter and its awesome!

    • Blaine
      May 19, 2010 at 5:46 pm

      coconut oil is awesome with indian, too!

      • Becky
        May 20, 2010 at 12:17 am

        One word: GHEE. It’s not Indian food unless it’s made with Ghee.

        • Laura
          May 20, 2010 at 2:59 am

          Or if you can’t find ghee, clarified butter… also, if you want to go the ghee way, for vegetarians/vegans you can get vegetable based ghee, but I know many places in India I’ve visited use oil instead. But they also fry the spices in with the onions to get them really aromatic πŸ˜‰

        • Becky
          May 20, 2010 at 5:38 am

          Yep, I agree on the frying of spices in the pan with the onions. Or even better, before anything else goes in, you “toast” the spices in the pan. It really heightens and deepens the flavor. I didn’t know there was vegetarian ghee- I have to check that out!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    May 19, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    What a great post!! Thanks for sharing! It looks delicious!!!

  • Camille
    May 19, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Looks amazing!
    Your photos are gorgeous today!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    May 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    This looks delicious! And a lot easier than I thought it would be!

  • Casey @ Chasing Casey
    May 19, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    This looks amazing and do-able! Can’t wait to try!

  • Maddie
    May 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Oh my dear goodness…I realize it’s not the most profound thing ever done, but I still think you are a genius for freezing tomato paste. Seriously. I guarantee you no one has ever used the full can in a recipe. And then it sits, lonely and most likely rotting, in your fridge…or the trash can. I freeze just about everything else to buy myself time…why have I never frozen tomato paste!?
    Ahhhhhhh thank you.

  • eatmovelove
    May 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    The new Ms. Julia Child!
    Inventive idea for your blog Jenna! You’ll inspire me to actually cook…said while eating out of tub of ice cream…
    oh and I want your kitchen…

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg
    May 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Ahhhh, yum! I love chickpea masala!! One of my favorite dishes, and so easy to make!

  • Erin
    May 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Love it! Great post πŸ™‚

  • Tracey
    May 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Awesome, Jenna! I will have my own kitchen soon, and I totally plan on making this – and your turkey chili! Thanks for the great recipes. πŸ™‚

  • Cara
    May 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I think I might be making this tonight. Yay for challenges!

  • Jennu
    May 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    That looks perfect- what a great way to celebrate Indian Food Wednesday;)

  • Lisa
    May 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    That looks delicious! I love spicy too.

    When I moved into my last apartment, what I missed the most was NOT the dishwasher (I lived alone) but the disposal. Those things are great!

    Now I live somewhere with both. πŸ™‚

  • Sharon
    May 19, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Definitely going to try this. I love your pictorial recipes-keep them coming! I had an Amy’s frozen meal for lunch today-coincidentally, it was the Mattar Paneer with Channa Masala! When you make this do you serve it with anything? Such as over rice or maybe just naan on the side?

  • Morgan
    May 19, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    This looks really good, I LOVE Indian food and keep wanting to make it myself, maybe this weekend?
    Check your grocery store. I keep tomato paste in a tube. It’s great for using a little bit. The only thing I ever use a whole can for is my tomato sauce, otherwise, it goes to waste, which is why I keep a tube on hand.

  • Sara @ myfancytuna.blogspot.com
    May 19, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    This looks awesome! You should do more step by step recipe posts like this – I LOVE them!

  • ashleigh
    May 19, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Great post! I have never had Indian before and now I want to give it a try!

  • Leah
    May 19, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    This looks SO good!! I love indian food, but Ive never considered making it from scratch. It always seemed too hard! I usually buy some type of pre mixed spice packet.

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    May 19, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Love the step by step with pix. That will be fun when later do as video, too. Both a great idea. Thanks for the recipe, which sounds very healthy. Freezing the tomato paste a terrific idea. Will make tomorrow night as went for a gonzo walk/hike around Carmel and found a homemade/gourmet noodle shop…so making a pasta recipe they suggested tonight. Both sound Yum.

  • Beth
    May 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    This looks amazing – I am trying this recipe within the next week for sure! Thanks for posting πŸ™‚

  • Christina
    May 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks for this- I really feel like I learned something!

  • Mama Pea
    May 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I agree that olive, canola oil or even Earth Balance make good substitutes if you don’t do dairy, butter, animal products, etc.!

  • Anne P
    May 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I want this. Now.

  • karen
    May 19, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    cooking lesson #3….son loves Indian food, he will be so proud of my cooking talents on this one, lol…..

  • Kasey
    May 19, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Genius to freeze the tomato paste!!! Looks delish πŸ™‚

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    May 19, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    What a great walk-through for this lovely Indian dish. Totally making this soon. πŸ˜€

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)
    May 19, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I love these episodes- so fun! That dish looks incredible!!


  • Angela
    May 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! Will give a try this weekend.

  • Erin
    May 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Oh my…bookmarked!

  • Daniel
    May 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Ooh, I’ve wanted to try this recipe for such a long time and this is probably the most straightforward and simple-to-follow version I’ve seen. I’m saving this for a great day of cooking!

    I also find it funny that I have almost all of the exact spices you used in the same brands and everything, haha.

    And I like to freeze my tomato paste in an ice cube tray in 1 tbsp servings and then pop them out and put them in a bag, that way they’re little pre-measured cubes that work well in recipes. πŸ™‚

  • Mom
    May 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Amote` Tomato Paste in a tube will last forever in your refridge! You can get this at any grocery store. Use what you need and refridge the rest πŸ™‚

  • Kristen
    May 19, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    I really like the tip on how to keep the tomato paste! I always hate to waste it and have tried to put it in tubberware but it always goes bad. So I will def be fallowing your tip from no on!

  • maria @ Chasing the Now
    May 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I can’t wait to see more of these in the future. Unfortunately, I can’t get a lot of these ingredients in Japan. Next time!

  • Deanna
    May 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    I love this little series. I’ve never had Indian food but definitely want some and may try this recipe. Keep them coming! πŸ™‚

  • Blaine
    May 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Vegans: coconut oil is da bomb with indian recipes (buttah is not totally necessary, listen up!)

  • stephanie
    May 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    SWEEEEET! Thanks so much for the step by step; I’ve been wanting to delve into making my own Indian food, but sadly I was scared. And freezing tomato paste? Why didn’t my pea sized brain think of that?

  • Janelle
    May 19, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Thanks for this! I looooove Indian food (but I have to admit that the Naan is a big part of that love affair!) and agree, it is never as good at home…I look forward to trying this recipe out with your tips. I’ve never even heard of a “pince” so perhaps that has been the missing ingredient in my recipes, since pretty much all Indian includes tomato paste!

  • jenny (green food diaries)
    May 19, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    LOVE this! i adore indian food, this might be the first thing i ever make that’s indian πŸ™‚

  • Jocelyn @ Peace.Love.Nutrition
    May 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I just started working at an Indian Restaurant! What delicious spices : )

  • allison @ livingoneday
    May 19, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    i admit ive always been nervous about making indian food because i HATE curry, but i have to admit, this looks awesome. your instructions are great, and this will definitely be making an appearance!

  • Lauren @ louisianagrown
    May 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I’ve never tried any time of Indian food before, but I’m really interested and I totally want to make this. Is it a one dish wonder, or do you serve it with some sort of side?

  • sara
    May 19, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    You could take pictures of an old banana and a roll of foil and tell a story about how you once climbed a tree and I’d probably still find it interesting. Everything you make looks ballin outta control. I am inspired to whip up some Indian and I thank you very kindly.

  • Sarah
    May 19, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    A) Freezing Tomato Paste? Brilliant! I never thought of doing that!
    B) It’s nice to see you posting recipes again! I’ve missed your recipes, and I’m glad you’ve got this new series so I can have more amazing food to add to my repertoire!!
    Thanks for this recipe, I’ve been thinking about trying Indian food, and there’s no better place than home to try it out!!

  • Still Life in Southeast Asia
    May 19, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Thank you for sharing again! I am so happy. Your recipe is THE BEST.

  • Ellen
    May 19, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Mmm, that looks SO good. Totally craving Indian now. I don’t eat it enough, but my tummy is always happy when I do!


  • steph-exercise physiologist and artist!
    May 19, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Yum!! I am hungry right now and these pics and descriptions just made my tummy growl! Haha!
    I have to try this recipe for sure. I love ginger.
    I am off to find something to eat that tastes half as good as your meal looks! πŸ™‚

  • Neha
    May 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    hey jenna – love the blog. real quick – i’m indian, and have been around true indian cooking my entire life and we NEVER USE BUTTER!! always oil, and always a little! butter is a no no, unless you own your own restaurant where everything is packed full of calories and fat!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    May 19, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    This is like taking lessons from the master chef. I have most of those ingredients already. I just need to buy some of the spices.

    Question: Can you freeze and reheat this?

  • Laura @ Backstage Pass to Health & Happiness
    May 19, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I’ve got a ton of Chana Masala renditions I’ve been meaning to make, however this one is easy to follow and has a hefty dose of that great ELR humor written in as well πŸ™‚
    Can’t wait to try out this version!

  • Denise @ Creative Kitchen
    May 19, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Great that you’re getting all settled into your new place! I’m impressed you have a recipe up so quickly…and one so thorough at that! I’ve never had Indian food…never had the opportunity or knew where to start. This recipe sounds doable and delicious! I’m bookmarking it now. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Lizz @ leadingthegoodlife
    May 19, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Yay, I’m super excited to try this!!

  • Lynna
    May 19, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I love this “What’s Cooking Tonight” series. It’s very informative and I appreciate all the details and pictures. I think I prefer photo to video. Keep it up!

  • Amanda
    May 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I really love these how-to posts! Your chana masala looks delicious.

  • Heidi Lyn
    May 19, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    It looks soooo delicious. I love Indian food but find it VERY intimidating to make at home. This recipe seems doable and I love your detailed step by step directions. Thanks.

  • Cate
    May 20, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Looks fantastic. And with your instructions, doable even for a non-cook like me. I think I’ll give it a try. Thanks so much!

  • Michele
    May 20, 2010 at 4:52 am

    I’ve never had Indian food, but this recipe intrigues me. I go back and forth on vegetarianism — I suppose that makes me a flexitarian, but why impose labels? This non-meat recipe sounds easy enough to throw together and is healthy too. Even if I use real butter, we’re talking about 2 tablespoons distributed through a dish that probable makes six servings. How many servings does this make? I suppose the final product freezes well too?

  • Caroline
    May 20, 2010 at 5:09 am

    This is such a great post! You’re pictures came out so pretty and I love the narrative that you added with the instructions. Maybe this will finally convince to like chickpeas in non-hummus form!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat
    May 20, 2010 at 6:00 am

    I love Indian food too and I can NEVER get it to taste as good at home. Thanks for the recipe, I’ll have to give it a shot πŸ™‚

  • Tara @ FoodforFuel
    May 20, 2010 at 6:03 am

    Yum! I love Indian Food and love this tutorial! I hope you still plan on doing the buttercream tutorial maybe post bike race!

  • Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies
    May 20, 2010 at 6:28 am

    This.Looks.AMAZING! I have always wanted to attempt both Indian and Thai recipes at home…but haven’t out of fear of completely butchering the amazing balance of flavors that those cultures achieve. Mmmm. This looks amazing – I’m totally saving this recipe!!

  • Jess (Fit Chick in the City)
    May 20, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I love your Channa Masala recipe! I was lucky enough to write down your old one when it was still posted on the blog. I think this one is a variation of that one and can’t wait to make this version.

  • Sarah
    May 20, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Ooh! I have been wanting to learn to make some Indian food! This is perfect. I am excited to try this. Great post:-).

  • Barbara(Blood, Sweat and Heels)
    May 20, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Ohhhhhhh I wanna try!!!!!!! Thanks for such step by step instructions:)

    Nom nom nom

  • Chrissy (The New Me)
    May 20, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Love your step by step posts. Know what else I love? The fact that I’ll be freezing tomato paste from now on. Genius!

  • Rachel @ Suburban Yogini
    May 20, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Seriously people throw away tomato paste? Why? Why not just stick it in the fridge until next time?

  • Kim @ Eat and Be
    May 20, 2010 at 7:18 am

    I freeze my Tomato Paste too! Love that. And you know what is even better? I am currently living in Malta (south of Sicily) w/ my in-laws and they sell Tomato Paste by the tube (like a tube of toothpaste). It’s awesome b/c you just squirt out what you need!

  • Steph
    May 20, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Thank you so much for the recent tutorials! I love this addition to the blog.

    Good luck with the race. I’m sure you’ll finish strong!

  • rachael
    May 20, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Freezing tomato paste is a brilliant idea!

    And now I want cookies:(

  • Therese
    May 20, 2010 at 8:15 am

    THANK YOU for the advice on the tomato paste! I always feel guilty for throwing my extras out after too many weeks in the fridge!!!

    And thanks again for the recipe! Dying to try this and will, STAT!

  • Kelly
    May 20, 2010 at 8:30 am

    To do list: make channa masala this Sunday. Thanks for the awesome recipe. I’m just now starting to really like Indian food so I will definitely be making this!

  • Seth @ Boy Meets Food
    May 20, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Bravo. I had not really been enjoying some of the posts recently, but this one made up for it. I really like the step-by-step instructions. Indian and Thai food are definitely types of cuisine that I have never been able to duplicate at home. I am looking forward to trying this one. Thanks!

  • Elise
    May 20, 2010 at 9:02 am

    so excited to try this recipe out (with dairy free butter, though!)! looks amazing. and i love channa masala. a lot.

  • Meg
    May 20, 2010 at 9:50 am

    This sounds sooo good, Jenna! I’m going to have to make this. And thanks for the tip about the tomato paste…I always hate throwing away a whole can of it when I only use a tablespoon. I don’t know why I never thought of freezing it.

  • saramariesue
    May 20, 2010 at 9:58 am

    WooHoo ~ this is definetely going to be a weekend meal. I didn’t know you posted this. I’m glad I went back through your posts to find the banana pancake recipe (which is also on the weekend menu) on which I stumbled across this one. And I like your new “what’s cooking tonight” series. Cheers!

  • Caroline
    May 20, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I love these posts! Cooking is so intimidating to me, so I greatly appreciate the step-by-step breakdown. Thanks Jenna πŸ™‚

  • Sarah (Oc2Seattle)
    May 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I love these instructional posts – thanks so much!

  • Veronica
    May 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    THIS IS SO GOOD!!! I Just made it and I will be making it again and again! Thank you for the detailed instructions…..as I have never cooked this before and it really helped!

  • Katy
    May 20, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I will definitely be making this next week! Your turkey chilli was the best turkey chilli I’ve ever made, even my fussy fiancΓ© liked it which is saying something, haha.

  • Ruth (Inspired Latin Cook)
    May 20, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Oh man, I totally have to make this recipe sometime this weekend. I really enjoy Amy’s Organic Channa Masala, so hopefully this one will be as equally good or even better. Thanks for sharing, Jenna! πŸ™‚

  • Heather
    May 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Thank you SOOO much for this recipe!!!! I had channa masala for the first time last week while in Orlando on vacation. It was an Amy’s frozen dinner, and I loved it. I have been wanting to make it ever since, and now I have the perfect recipe! Cannot wait to try this!

  • Jessica Lee
    May 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I’ve never tried making Indian food before but I do think it’s delicious. It just seems so daunting but this makes it seem so much easier. Thanks Jenna!

  • Danica
    May 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I LOVE your new cooking series – fun! I used to always freeze my tomato paste until I discovered that Whole Foods sells tubes of it that you can keep in the fridge (just like on Food Network!) You just squeeze as much as you need and keep in in the fridge. The BEST part – they are only $0.99 each!!! check them out πŸ™‚

  • The Professor
    May 27, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Thank you SO much for this post. I love Indian food and have always been terribly disappointed when I’ve tried to make it at home. I followed your lead last night and we had a DELICIOUS meal at my house. The detailed instructions and images really helped. I look fwd to seeing more of these kinds of recipes on your blog. Now I know I can cook Indian food at home. Thanks again!

  • Tim
    June 8, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    And beautiful photography it is!

  • Becki @ HikeBikeEat
    June 8, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Made this tonight – holy crap was it amazing! My pince did burn a bit, but I think it just made the flavors more complex πŸ˜› Everyone seemed to love it, and I’d definitely recommend having this with a hot piece of Trader Joe’s garlic naan!

  • Maureen
    June 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    I made this tonight and it was AWESOME! My first attempt at Indian, too. THANKS!

  • Therese
    August 30, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I finally got around to making this. THANK YOU! The pictures really help those of us who haven’t been to culinary school understand thinks like “carmelize” or “pince.” Your blog makes recipes so easy to get right instead of just crossing your fingers!

  • jenna
    September 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    i love the website- i first saw it yesterday, and i already have half a dozen recipes i MUST try.

    this looks delicious, but as much as i try to like chickpeas, i just can’t.
    obviously it’ll be a different dish without chickpeas, but does anyone have any substitutes for them? i would love to try these flavors without chickpeas.

  • Nancy in Naples
    September 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Jenna – someone in our household (not mentioning any names but it’s NOT me – your Dad will know who it is) can’t eat many onions. I can get away with sneaking a few into recipes but it looks like onions are an important part of this recipe. Will it turn out bad if I don’t use as many???
    Thanks – can’t wait to try this one!

  • Amber K
    September 26, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Awww I was totally going to swap out the butter since my body can’t digest it, but you caught me! I’ll just keep drooling over the pictures instead. πŸ™‚

  • Heather
    September 28, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Om nom nom!!!

  • Whitney @ Amuse Bouche
    September 28, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Uh hello you just made that look easy and AMAZING! awesome post sister!

  • Amanda (The Culinary Passport)
    September 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I love channa masala. Great step by step instructions!

  • Jessica
    September 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I made this tonight and it was amazing! Had to sub the tomato paste for tomato sauce but it still came out so so tasty. Thank you for the step by step instructions!

  • Peggy
    September 29, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Interesting choice of post for this challenge! Good luck!

  • Charise
    October 8, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I make chana masala at home all the time, too – it’s such an easy “pantry meal”. I use a higher tomato to chickpea ratio though, mainly to up the veggie (erm, fruit) content and I like it soupier. Plus more spices instead of a jalapeno since I often make this when there’s not much fresh stuff in the fridge (hence, no jalapenos).

  • Lauren
    October 10, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe!!! I made it for dinner tonight and my boyfriend and I loved it! It will definitely become a staple around here.

  • Julia
    October 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I made this recipe for the second time tonight and loved it again! I’m a novice when it comes to cooking but I could definitely handle this. It came out great and I’ll have some fabulous take-to-work lunches this week! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Jess
    October 14, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    OMG! I love the idea to freeze the tomato paste! I always get so upset throwing out the whole can minus 1 tablespoon!

  • sara
    October 15, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I would recommend adding a pinch of sugar or tamarind as well to balance the acidity from the tomatoes.


  • notyet100
    October 15, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    chana masala looks yum,..

  • chandra
    November 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I just made (and devoured!) this recipe… AMAZING!

  • Liana @ femme fraiche
    November 18, 2010 at 3:58 am

    Your recipes are extremely entertaining and the step by step photos are so helpful! I always wish more cookbooks had those so I knew what my progress was like as I struggle through. Love your blog!

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    November 19, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Oh wow! That looks amazing! I’ve been craving Indian lately but have never tried it at home! Now I need too!

  • Sara
    December 8, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Tried this recipe tonight! It turned out perfect!! Thanks for the step-by-step details! I look forward to more recipes given in this method! Thanks Jenna! It was delicious!

  • pam
    January 6, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    watching my husband eating it happily, thanks for the great and easy recipe!

  • Lisa {With Style and Grace}
    January 9, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I’ve never made an Indian dish before, but I love chickpeas and this sounds delicious!

  • JenE
    January 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Dear Jenna, I love, love you but sometimes you forget to tell me when to add ingredients, like sea salt in this case. I actually make your recipes, so I hope you will comment!

    • jenna
      January 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm

      I’m sorry! When I say an amount of sea salt and then don’t say when to add it, that means just season at the end! I just write that—my apologies! Just add it whenever…at the end, if you like!

  • JenE
    January 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    ps I am making roasted garlic naan as well and I’m wondering: is “roasted” supposed to be “charred”? what did I do wrong w/ my garlic??!

  • Larkin
    January 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks for the recipe, Jenna! I’m always looking for good vegetarian recipes with protein. Keep up the great work! πŸ™‚

  • Sara
    February 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Just made this. Amazing!

  • Sarah
    March 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Just made this…and WHOA. Love.at.first.bite.

  • marie
    March 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I have wanted to make this dish pretty much since the day you posted it, and always kept it in the back of my mind, and the other day I found some dried chickpeas that needed to be used up and made this and it is excellent!

    I didn’t even put any cayenne, just the jalapeno was spicy enough for me. And I didn’t have any plain yogurt but I stirred in cottage cheese instead. Very good!

  • Dione
    May 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    I just made this for dinner and it was delicious:) Thanks for this, Jenna! I’ve made channa masala with a spice blend before but this was better. I hope to see more Indian recipes…I may have to make your chicken tikka masala next.

  • Austin
    June 11, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Love Indian food, but I’ve never made it myself. That is, until tonight. This was SO good! And now that I have the spices, I’ll have to make it again. (After reading other people’s comments, I want to try mixing spices in with the onions.) And after making this, I totally get what you’re saying about the dish smelling like pizza after pinceing!

  • Emma
    July 22, 2011 at 3:42 am

    I love this dish. I made it a couple of months ago and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it… and tonight I’m going to make it for a vegetarian friendly dinner party I’m making. It’s by far the best chickpea recipe I’ve ever made. Thanks!!

  • rebecca
    August 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    these are fabulous instructions and I’m going to make this soon!

  • Sue
    August 31, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Recipe looks great! I found tomato paste in a tube in my local ‘designer’ market…. sure beats the can!

  • christina
    September 2, 2011 at 7:23 am

    I have now made this twice, and I can officially say that I’m obsessed. I blogged about it once too: http://www.hungrymeetshealthy.com/2011/08/weekend.html

    thank you so much for a delicious and healthy recipe!

  • Elizabeth @ Coppertop Kitchen
    November 11, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Why did I never think of freezing the tomato paste leftovers?! You’re a genius, Jenna! πŸ™‚

  • trish
    November 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    i’m eating this right now πŸ™‚ it was my first ever attempt at homemade Indian and it will be in my rotation now! Thanks.

  • Vanessa
    December 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I LOVE the idea of freezing the tomato paste! I am guilty of throwing away so many cans. I’ve been meaning to find the tube of paste that keeps it fresh and you can squeeze but I always seem to forget. This is much easier. Thank you!

  • Yolanda
    December 30, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Delicious, never had before, not even at a restaurant. I enjoyed, hubs was a bit on the opposite side, but hey he is all about the meat. Not me!

  • Sharon in Salt Lake City
    February 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I just made this last night. This is the BEST Channa Masala recipe ever. EVER! It beats one I’ve been using because it’s all about cooking down the tomato paste. So yummy! Thank you!

  • Cathie
    March 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Cannot thank you enough for this delightful recipe! Made it tonight for my carnivore hubby — I’m vegan — we loved, loved, loved this! Your instructions were point on – followed them to the letter and this turned out fabulous! Made him a grilled chicken breast to go with – perfect dinner for both of us. We are already talking about the possibilities for the leftovers – on crusty bread with Italian sausage …. thank you so very much, Jenna!!! Hugs – Cathie & Steve

    • jenna
      March 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      so glad!

  • Monica
    April 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I always throw the extra tomato paste out! Why didn’t I think of freezing it?!?!?

  • Shanti
    July 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Never cooked till this month. I came across this recipe and it’s amazing! My friends loved it. Thanks so much!

  • Anja
    August 7, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I made it yesterday and it was very delicious! I might not digest chickpeas too well though. Does anyone have any advice how to improve the digestion of legumes in general? I would be very thankful! Cheers!

    • Jessica
      August 10, 2012 at 11:27 am

      Anja, try Beano (you can get it at most drug stores and it provides an enzyme you need to digest legumes; be careful if you have a penicillin allergy though and read the label) before the meal OR try soaking dry chickpeas overnight, rinse them well, then cook them slowly 2-4 hours. Makes them way more digestible. I find can chickpeas harder to tolerate.
      So if you cook a large quantity of dry chickpeas, you can freeze the ones you don’t plan to use immediately or make a marinade with the ones you plan to use in the next few days. πŸ™‚
      I’m making this recipe tonight — can’t wait!! Y-U-M

      • Anja
        August 13, 2012 at 4:24 am

        Hi Jessica,
        thank you very much for your kind advice. I will try to make soaking chickpeas. I am not sure if we get Beano in Germany. πŸ™‚
        I hope you liked the recipe as much as I did.
        Enjoy your day!

  • Daniel
    September 7, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Hey, thank you for the reipe, I’ve tried it and it’s great! What I do is, besides adding a can of diced tomatoes, I add 3 fresh diced ones! Also, at the end, I add about half a bunch of cilantro (finely chopped). I must try to soak and cook chickpeas one day – canned food is nothing like fresh!

  • Amberchi
    September 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Just wanted to comment that I made this recipe and it was phenomenal πŸ™‚ And I SOOO appreciate the tip on the tomato paste! I don’t even want to try to guess how much money I’ve wasted on that stuff!

  • Elle
    September 24, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Made this for dinner tonight and came online straight away just to say that this is AMAZING! I’m new to your blog and blogs in general but will definatly be back again πŸ™‚ Thankyou

  • Emily
    November 9, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Made this tonight and it was AMAZING. I’m almost more excited for the left-overs than I was the first go round! Will definitely be making this again πŸ™‚ – no more frozen grocery store masala for this girl!

  • Amanda
    November 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Just made this with one whole unseeded serrano and a sprinkle of cayenne! I have a love hate relationship with insane heat!

  • Jessica
    March 3, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Woah! This looks delicious. I will certainly be making it this week! And seriously… your frozen tomato paste idea is amazing! I am always throwing out moldy 1/2 full cans of old tomato paste. No more!

  • Katrina
    March 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    This was so delicious! Very easy. I appreciate your detailed instructions. Thank you for sharing!

  • Sam
    March 26, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I just made this and it was AMAZING- thank you for your detailed instructions! Now every time I try to make an Indian recipe, I’ll know how to do the onions and the pince correctly!

  • sarah
    July 11, 2013 at 4:04 am

    i did not care for this dish at all. i normally like (not love) Indian food , but this just did not do it for me. i used red Indian curry in place of cayenne. too hot. and i did nor caramelize the onions enough. experimenting with different vegan dishes and not having much luck.

  • megan
    September 4, 2013 at 3:32 am

    Thank you! I love Indian food as well. Been searching for a recipe. Can’t wait to try this!

  • Lauren @ La Dolce Pita
    September 4, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Love the tip on freezing tomato paste… I recently started doing that too, such a great little trick! And this recipe looks awesome… I LOVE seeing vegetarian/vegan recipes on here! πŸ™‚

  • Jen
    November 24, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I have been eyeing this recipe for a while, and I finally made it! Sadly I’m not sure I love it. But I’d never had the dish before at all, and I tend to like chickpeas more when roasted. But your step-by-step recipe was great, and I feel more adventurous for making it! First time caramelizing onions and doing a pince. πŸ™‚