Chana Masala (Chickpeas in Tomato-Onion Sauce)

I had planned to post this recipe midweek but I wasn’t happy with the pictures. So I made it again, which is fine because I could eat it just about every day, I love it so much. Even my picky daughter will eat this.

tomatoes ready to roast
Dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes ready to roast

In summer, I buy lots of Early Girl, dry farmed tomatoes and roast and freeze them so we’ll have tomatoes for several months after the season ends. You can read about that in this post. I choose this type of tomato because it has an intense and sweet flavor.

In a perfect world, I would run my roasted tomatoes through the food mill to remove the skins. The pictures would look better. But in the real world, I don’t often my tomatoes through the food mill for this recipe—I can’t be bothered. Sure the skin-free pics would make for better food porn but you get to see what I actually eat.

onions and spices


  • 1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or other oil)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 teaspoons peeled, minced ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 to 2 serrano chiles or jalapeños, minced
  • 2 cups roasted tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup water


1. Soak chickpeas for six hours or longer and cook in a pot on the stove, in a slow cooker or in a pressure cooker until done. I cooked the chickpeas for this post in a mere 5 minutes in my pressure cooker (I love my pressure cooker).

2. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chiles and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the garam masala, coriander, turmeric and salt and stir to coat the onion mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

5. Stir in the tomatoes. Break them up with the back of a wooden spoon.

add tomatoes
Ooops I forgot to add the spices BEFORE the tomatoes; it still turned out 😉
Sauce ready for the cooked chickpeas

6. Stir in the chickpeas and the water. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.

Serve with rice or naan. We love naan. I have to figure out how to make it…

chana masala
Chana masala

10 Replies to “Chana Masala (Chickpeas in Tomato-Onion Sauce)”

  1. Madeleine Lawrence says: Reply

    Looks delicious and I think my kids would go for it too. Thanks for posting 🙂


    1. Thanks for checking it out Madeleine 🙂 I hope your kids like it. I find most kids do. Enjoy! ~ Anne Marie

  2. I love this, too! If the onions a sliced instead of chopped and allowed to carmelize while cooking with the spices, it is almost heaven. Served with naan it makes an easy lunch the next day.
    Thanks for posting the recipe!

    1. :O I’m going to cook my onions that way next time. Thanks for the idea Catherine. ~ Anne Marie

  3. I read your comment about not knowing how to make Naan, and I have a recipe that I love. It uses sourdough starter discard, so if you are already baking sourdough–perfect! Here it is:

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      :O Thank you Jen! I’m going to try this!

  4. Looks lovely! How many does this recipe serve?

    1. Thanks Allie. I’d say four hungry people.

  5. […] MasalaLink to Recipe:’s Notes: Added more salt, and should have added a bit of cayenne pepper powder to […]

  6. This made for a wonderfully tasty pantry-staple lockdown-lunch today. We had some minty raita on the side and really enjoyed it. Thanks for the recipe!

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