Channa Masala, Chole, Chickpeas curry… Nope! I am not giving out the aliases for channa masala. I am officially experiencing the writer’s block! I typed out the aliases looking for inspiration. May be the spelling or the pattern of the word would inspire me? Sigh!

Channa Masala

I think it’s important to give you guys, an insight into the recipe and of course my thoughts. I have never been a writer. I can come with an idea & words too but stringing them together does not come as naturally though. But, blogging over 75 recipes, I have bettered the art of expressing myself. Although, I still have, “Miles to go before I sleep; And miles to go before I sleep –Robert Frost”. I love this line and I can easily go off tangent discussing life and philosophy.

Dried Chickpeas

Deep Breath, staring into the picture; and… back to channa masala.

There are a few things I have discovered about channa:

  1. They are also called Garbanzo beans
  2. They are one of those few things like rice and bread that is loved and eaten in all parts of the world
  3. Apart from the authentic Punjabi Channa Masala (from India), I have learnt a few other recipes recently. I shall share them with you guys one at a time.

And yes, my last recipe was for vegan burger (The World’s Best Veggie Burger) patty made of chickpeas and soy chunks.

Channa Masala

Have any of you cooked chickpeas curry before and experienced this? The chickpeas tend to remain separated from the curry. As in, you can never taste the flavor of the curry when you pop only the chickpeas into your mouth. One of the solutions is over-cooking them to an almost mushy consistency for better flavor absorption. But what is you want them to retain their shape yet they have to be full of flavor?

My friend’s mom, a very sweet Punjabi lady  taught me this trick. What is it? Cook the chickpeas (even if you are using canned ones) before you add them into the curry. Cook them with a bay leaf, cinnamon, diced onions and wait for it… A tea bag! That’s right! A tea bag!

Channa Masala

Try this and not only does your curry develop an intense color, the chickpeas retain shape but suddenly become almost porous to absorption of the flavors from the curry.

I don’t know if the aliases for channa masala inspired me or the lines from the poet did, but I guess I was able to express myself after all! 🙂 Here’s the recipe for:

Channa Masala


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes



    For cooking the chickpeas
  • 3/4 cup dried chickpeas/channa (or 1 can of chickpeas)
  • 1 teabag
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups water
  • For the curry
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp cumin-coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red chili powder (Paprika)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp oil


  1. Soak the dried chickpeas in water and let it rest overnight (or at least 5 hours). The water level has to be at least 2 inches above the level of the dried chickpeas.
  2. Drain the water. Pressure cook (or using a slowcooker) the chickpeas in 3 cups of water along with the cinnamon, bay leaf, diced onion and tea bag. We would want at least 4-5 whistles (pressure-releases) of the cooker so that the chickpeas are just soft enough but not mushy.
  3. If you are using canned chickpeas, you can directly use it in the curry. They would be a little less flavorful. To get the same intense flavor as in the case of dried chickpeas, you can boil the canned chickpeas (or pressure cook with 1 whistle) with cinnamon, bayleaf, onions and a teabag until they bloat up and absorb the color of tea.
  4. Drain the cooked chickpeas and set aside. Do not discard the water.
  5. Heat oil in a deep pan. Add the finely chopped onions and then the ginger garlic paste.
  6. Sauté for about a min until the onions turn transluscent.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to cook for about 3-5 min or until the tomatoes turn mushy.
  8. Add the spice powders, salt and mix well. Cook for a minute over medium high heat.
  9. Add the chickpeas in 2-3 batches. Add the first batch, mash them lightly just enough to release the “essence of the chickpeas”. Then, add 1/4 cup of the water (used for cooking the chickpeas). Stir and cook at high temperature until the water evaporates.
  10. Add the next batch and repeat procedure. Check for consistency.
  11. Add more water if required. If you add extra, just cook on high heat until it reaches the thickness you want.
  12. Turn off the heat. Garnish with cilantro and 1 tbsp of lime juice just before serving.

My Take:

For a different flavor, you could add 1/8th cup of yogurt after adding the spice powders and before adding the cooked chickpeas.

Yummily Yours'


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  1. Awe!! This is my all time favourite!! Drooling here 🙂

  2. This looks delicious! What type of tea bag should be used?

    • Hey Julia!
      Thank you. Any kind of brown tea will do. Not green tea because that would lend a green color to the chickpeas defeating our purpose.

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