This easy Chana Masala recipe is vegan-friendly and healthy, too! It serves 6 people and costs just $7.83 to make and $1.31 per serving!
In Glendale, Arizona, there is a little hole in the wall Indian restaurant which is to die for. Aren’t little restaurants like this always to die for?! I would love to eat there multiple times a week. But alas, we live on a budget. Instead, we decided to create our own chana masala recipe that is to die for!
We all love this chana masala and wanted to create a recipe that made sense financially but also did not compromise on any of the same great taste. This easy chana masala will have you making it at home in no time. You will love the ease of this recipe. We made our chana masala recipe easier and faster to make by using canned chickpeas instead of dried ones, and pasta sauce instead of cooking down fresh tomatoes for hours.
CHANA MASALA QUESTIONS ANSWERED:
What is chana masala?
Chana masala is a popular Indian dish that translates to “mix-spiced small-chickpeas”. Chana, which is a version of a chickpea with just a little bit bigger and stronger flavor than a chickpea is the main ingredient in chana masala. For Easy Budget Recipes, we decided to use common pantry ingredients like chickpeas instead of Indian chana which is a bit difficult to find.
Can you freeze chana masala?
Yes, you can freeze chana masala. One great tip is to double the recipe and freeze one for later for a busy weeknight, you will already have dinner ready, just take it out in time to defrost before reheating it.
Is chana masala usually vegan?
Yes, chana masala is typically a vegan dish. Vegan Indian Food gives some great info with the ins and outs of finding the best vegan Indian dishes.
How to make Chana Masala:
- First, cook the rice as per the package directions. While the rice is cooking, make the chicken masala by first grinding up the garlic and pepper.
- Next, in a large pot, add olive oil and heat it for one minute. Then, add in the onion and cumin and ginger and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
- Add in the pureed garlic mixture, coriander, masala, and turmeric to the plan. Cook it, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Next, add in the pasta sauce, water, and chickpeas.
- Finally, after the chicken masala is done cooking, serve it over rice and enjoy!
How to get the kids involved with this recipe:
- Ages 2-3: Help the kids to measure out the rice and mix it in the pot. Also, have them help you fluff the rice with a fork.
- Ages 4-5: With your supervision, let the kids measure and add in the various spices.
- Ages 6-8: Let the kids add in the garlic mixture and other ingredients and stir it by hand. Show them how to use a can opener and have them help you open the cans of chickpeas.
- Ages 9-11: Supervise them while they prepare the entire recipe. Remember to have them read it twice before beginning the recipe.
- Ages 12+: Let them prepare the entire recipe, unsupervised, while you do the happy dance in the corner!
Discover why we love getting the kids involved in the kitchen and more tips in our How to Get Kids Involved In Cooking article.
The flavor and Recipe Variations:
- Instead of ground ginger, you can use 2 Tablespoons of freshly grated ginger.
What to Serve with Chana Masala:
- Some delicious store-bought naan would be delicious with this dish. I also like serving this with mango juice.
How long is this good for:
- Serve: You can leave this at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it will need to be refrigerated.
- Store: Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: Chana Masala freezes well. Transfer the cooled mixture (just the chana masala, not rice) to a freezer-safe container and freeze up to 3 months. To reheat: place it in the fridge to defrost overnight. Then, place the mixture in a medium pot and heat over medium until heated through.
How much will this Chana Masala cost:
RECIPE COST: $7.83
COST PER SERVING: $1.31
To find out more about how we price our recipes, check out Budget Recipes Explained.
- 5 large garlic cloves – $0.25
- 1 medium Serrano pepper – $0.05
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil – $0.13
- medium yellow onion – $0.62
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger – $0.40
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin – $0.63
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander – $0.18
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala – $0.84
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric – $0.28
- 32 oz jar pasta sauce – $1.64
- 1 ½ cups water – $0
- 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas – $1.72
- 2 cups uncooked basmati rice – $1.09
- cutting board
- chef's knife
- small food processor
- Wooden spoon
- medium pot
- pot to cook the rice in
- 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
- 5 large garlic cloves pressed
- 1 medium Serrano pepper seeded and chopped fine
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion small dice
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 32 oz jar pasta sauce
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 15- ounce cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
- chopped cilantro
- lemon wedges
- Cook the rice as per the package instructions. While the rice is cooking, make the chana masala.
- In a small food processor, puree the garlic and serrano pepper; set aside.
- In a medium pot add olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add onion, ground ginger, and cumin and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until the onion is softened and beginning to brown around the edges.
- Stir in the garlic mixture, coriander, garam masala, and turmeric. Continue to stir while the mixture cooks for 1 minute.
- Stir in pasta sauce, water, and chickpeas. Turn heat to high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Spoon the chana masala over rice, and serve with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges.