Chickpeas, packed with rich flavour, protein and nutrients, are an essential item in the Indian kitchen.

They can serve as a meat substitute for vegetarians (which majority of Indians are) or just stand their own ground as delicious little tasty peas. They were first introduced into India by Afghan Traders and were called ‘Kabuli Chana’, after Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and ‘chana’ meaning peas.

This recipe is a simple tasty dish that can either be enjoyed as a main with fried bread, ‘poori’ or ‘paratha’, or served as a side alongside curries, rice and accompaniments, for when you’re serving up an Indian banquet to share with friends.

If you enjoy your food a little spicier, fold in 2-4 minced green chillies, which I suggest you wait till after you’ve prepared the dish to add, so you can check the seasonings first. Otherwise, I love having raita with everything Indian (and not Indian) which is a tasty and cooling side dish consisting of yoghurt and cucumber as the main ingredients. There’s many different variations of Raita but I personally just like adding mint and coriander.

In the video Ajanta wears the Indigo Stonewash Tiered Dress from our latest Summer 22 collection

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Chana Masala (Chickpeas in Spicy Sauce)

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas, home-cooked or canned

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric

  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

If you are using canned chickpeas, since them thoroughly in cold water and drain


  1. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil
  2. When hot, add the cumin and cook, stirring, until it turns darker, about 15 seconds
  3. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they turn light brown, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the ginger, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper to taste, and the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to brown, about 6 minutes.
  5. Add the chickpeas, tomato paste, lemon juice and water.
  6. Mix well and bring to a boil over high heat.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the flavours are blended, about 5 minutes.
  8. Check and correct the seasonings. Transfer to a warmed serving dish, sprinkle with garam masala and cilantro, serve immediately.