Channa Masala

Time: 1 hour


  • 4 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 (1-inch) knob ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 to 6 green Thai chiles (to taste), roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) juice from 1 lemon, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil or ghee
  • 2 tsp (8g) black mustard seed
  • 1 tsp (4g) whole cumin seed
  • 1 large onion, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups; 300g)
  • 0.25 tsp (1g) baking soda
  • 2 tsp (8g) ground coriander
  • 0.5 tsp (2g) freshly ground black pepper
  • 0.5 tsp (2g) ground turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp (6g) store-bought or homemade garam masala, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (1 ounce; 25g)


  1. Combine garlic, ginger, chiles, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 0.5 tsp kosher salt in a food processor and process until a fine paste is produced. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil or ghee in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  3. All at once, add mustard seed and cumin. They will sputter and spit for a few seconds.
  4. As soon as they are aromatic (about 15 seconds), add onion all at once, along with baking soda.
  5. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions start to leave a brown coating on bottom of pan, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add 1 Tbsp water, scrape up browned bits from pan, and continue cooking. Repeat this process until onions are a deep brown, about 10 minutes total.
  7. Immediately add garlic/ginger/chile paste all at once and stir to combine.
  8. Add coriander, black pepper, turmeric, and 1 tsp garam masala. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  9. Add tomatoes and crush them using a whisk or potato masher.
  10. Add drained, rinsed chickpeas and cilantro, reserving a little cilantro for garnish.
  11. Add 1/2 cup water.
Filed under: Recipes