Chola (Chana Masala)

January 28th, 2007 filed under Dal (Lentils), Gluten Free, Vegan
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Chole also known as Chana Masala is a chickpea dish cooked in a spicy tomato gravy.

Serves 2 to 4.

Chola Chana Masala Recipe by ManjulaIngredients:

  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas (kable chana, Garbanzo beans)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Pinch of asafetida (Hing)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Besan (gram flour) (available in Indian grocery stores)
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro (hara dhania)
  • Thinly sliced tomatoes for garnish


  1. Drain chickpeas and wash well.
  2. Blend the tomatoes, green chilies and ginger to make a puree.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if seed cracks right away, oil is ready. Add the asafetida and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds crack, add the gram flour and stir-fry for a minute.
  4. Add the tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric, and red chili powder. Cook about four minutes on medium heat. The tomato
    mixture will separate from the oil and reduce to about half in quantity.
  5. Add chickpeas, salt, and one cup of water. Cook, covered, for seven to eight minutes on medium heat.
  6. Press the chickpeas with a spatula to soften. Add more water as needed to keep the gravy consistency to your liking, and let it cook
    on low heat a few more minutes.
  7. Add the garam masala and cilantro. Let it cook for another minute.
  8. Garnish with thin tomato slices.

Serving Suggestions 

  1. Chana Masala goes well with any Indian flat bread, and can also be served with Western bread or pita bread.
  2. Chana Masala is also a delectable treat over plain rice.
  3. This is a healthy, nutritious dish for vegan and gluten-free diets.

If you enjoyed the recipe for Chola (Chana Masala), here are more great recipes you should try from Manjula's Kitchen.

177 Responses to “Chola (Chana Masala)”

  1. Priya says:

    I tried this yesterday and it came out amazing. Thank you very much

  2. Priti says:

    Interesting recipe… Onions are conspicuous by their absence.
    Punjabi dishes always feature onions.

    • Nura, says:

      Manjula doesn’t ever cook with garlic or onion, I think it could be related to her religious beliefs. The asafetida gives a similar flavor to both onion and garlic, or so I am told. I still can’t find any here in Israel.

  3. […] Chana Masala (Chickpea curry) […]

  4. matt nannery says:

    Manjula, I don’t feel like an outsider when I walk into an Indian grocery store anymore. No more boil-in-bag packets for me. I know what to buy and how to cook it thanks to you.
    You really are quite the ambassador for making cultural walls fall between the West and East.

  5. [...] suggestions: Kachoris can be served plain, with Tamarind Chutneys, chola, or with Aloo Dum, Serve them as a chat, pouring plain yogurt and chutney on [...]

  6. [...] The complete instructions can be found on Manjula’s site here. [...]

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