Creamy Chana Masala

Creamy Chana Masala

After returning from KL earlier in the week, I couldn’t get Indian food off my mind.  I think I told you in my last post that I didn’t get enough… so I just had to make my own when I came back!

Creamy Chana Masala

I’ve been making this chana masala almost every week for awhile now, and we haven’t gotten tired of it yet.  I adapted it from my beloved “Oh She Glows” cookbook by Angela Liddon.  Angela is an amazing young entrepreneur in the world of vegan cuisine, and if you haven’t checked her out, you should.

Of course I made a few tweaks to the recipe, because I can’t leave any recipe alone, even my own.

Creamy Chana Masala

To give the stew a thicker texture, I mash the chickpeas a bit…  my kids like it this way and hey, why not make them happy at the end of a long school day?  Seems like the right thing to do, especially if they’re eating something as healthy as this curry… it’s full of protein & fiber from the chickpeas, Vitamin C from the tomatoes, and healthy antioxidants from all those lovely spices.

After the coconut milk... so creamy...
After the coconut milk… so creamy…

Then, to make sure it’s not too spicy, I tone it down by adding a swirl of coconut milk at the end, even though this is completely unconventional for chana masala.  Sue me if you must, but try it first… it’s delicious!  This dish comes together in less than 30 minutes by using canned chickpeas, but I’m sure it would be absolutely decadent with freshly cooked ones.  Let me know if you try it this way… I seem to always rush into the kitchen at 5:30 with the idea of dinner being at 6… so there you go.

Creamy Chana Masala

Enjoy this beautiful curry with rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, or on its own in a bowl with a piece of fluffy naan bread.  It’s a perfect weeknight dinner or for a quick and easy weekend meal curled up with a good movie.  Cheers, friends!

Creamy Chana Masala

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Creamy Chana Masala


  • 1 T. grapeseed oil or coconut oil
  • 1 T. cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 long green chilies, seeded & minced
  • 1 T. garam masala
  • 1 T. ground coriander
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1 t. salt
  • ¼ - ½ t. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes with juice
  • 4 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • 7 oz can light coconut milk
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1-2 t. coconut or brown sugar (optional, I didn't use any)


  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat and add the cumin seeds. Toast for 1-2 minutes until they are fragrant, watching closely to make sure they don’t burn.
  • Raise heat to medium and add the onion, garlic, ginger, and chili. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the garam masala, coriander, turmeric, salt & cayenne pepper (if using), and cook until the onion is soft, about 2 minutes more. Do not let the garlic brown.
  • Add the tomatoes with their juice, and break them up using the back of your cooking spoon, leaving some chunks for texture. Then add the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
  • Raise heat to medium-high and add the chickpeas. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes (longer if you have it) to allow flavors to develop. I like to mash some of the chickpeas for a thick texture.
  • Lower heat to medium low and add the coconut milk and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings: lemon juice for brightness, salt to balance the lemon, or a bit of coconut sugar to reduce the overall heat of the dish.
  • Serve over rice, cauliflower rice, or in a bowl with pita or naan bread. Makes 6-8 servings.
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