Homemade Channa Masala: Quick, Easy, & Just as Authentic

This traditional Indian vegetarian & vegan chickpea stew, called channa masala or chole, comes together faster than you would believe… but still tastes like it cooked for a whole day!

So there’s a funny story behind this one.
Each Spring, the Indian Student group I am in has a fundraiser dinner, with all of the members bringing home cooked food for students to eat. Its strategically planned for the Monday after spring break, so we can go home and have our parents cook delicious food for us to bring back! Well, this year I forgot. Oops. I mean, I remembered about the dinner, but I forgot that I actually had to cook to bring food! Oops!


So when my dad dropped me off Sunday night, I had him run to the store and get some ingredients for me to cook. I came back from class at 6:30 on Monday… the dinner was at 7:00. Well, good luck to me! I started by 6:35 and was ready to leave at 7:10 ! And this year it was a combined dinner with the Asian student association, so I made two dishes, here’s how it broke down:
– preheat oven
– drain and press tofu
– put pot on to heat
– sauté onions. get out rest of ingredients. (WHERE’S THE GARLIC. WHERE’S THE TOMATOES! AGHH)
– marinate tofu (soy sauce rice vinegar, ginger, chili powder)
– add tomatoes to cook
– put tofu in oven
– add chickpeas, seasonings
– clean up
– check tofu, ugh it is going to take a while
– taste CHOLE AND HOLY CRAP IT WAS GOOD. like, who would’ve expected after 25 minutes of stewing, it tasted that good!

baked tofu, marinated and spiced. I had about 2 seconds to take this photo!

Of course, I’m not doubting my abilities, but I did not expect for it to taste like it had cooked for a whole day. Traditionally, you soak the dry chickpeas overnight, and cook them (I pressure cook them), so they get soft and the flavors meld. So basically, 20 minutes of cooking, and 15 minutes of stewing, and you’re good to go!



Chole (Channa Masala -- Quick and Easy)
Yields 4
traditional channa masala , in only about 20 minutes! yet it still tastes like it cooked all day
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
  1. 1 - 28oz can of chickpeas, or 2 - 15 oz cans, or 3.5 cups ( + cooking liquid)
  2. 1-2 cloves garlic, diced
  3. 1/4 cup diced red onions
  4. 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  5. 1.25 cups tomato puree, or tomato sauce, or crushed tomatoes
  6. 1.5 tsp ground toasted cumin
  7. 1.5 tsp garam masala
  8. 1/2" fresh grated ginger
  9. 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  10. 1/2 tsp turmeric
  11. 1/16 tsp cinnamon, or 2 pinches*
  1. heat a large pot over medium-high heat
  2. once warm, add a layer of vegetable broth to heat (could also use a bit of good cooking oil, I like grapeseed oil)
  3. add the diced onions and minced garlic, cook stirring for 5-7 minutes, adding broth as needed so it doesn't burn.
  4. add tomatoes and the spices, and led it stew and meld for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  5. add in the beans and the bean cooking liquid, bring to a simmer, and let it stew for about 20 more miutes. season with salt and more spices to taste.
  6. serve with a salad, subzi, rice, and/or roti!
  1. I added cinnamon because didn't use channa masala to season it this time, as I didn't have it, and it has tamarind paste in it. it adds a bit of sweetness, but it doesn't add cinnamon taste
  2. if using canned products, i buy low sodium, organic, and BPA free. a lot of companies are coming out with tetra packs now, which are awesome!
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#Yum! Of course, all the food was great there! But I was just 15 minutes late, and most of it was already gone [ :( ]


my “bowl”, I dropped off most of the channa, then piled some more food into my bowl: tofu, rajma, and some kimchee soup. along with a red bean paste bun(!!) (like my favorite thing ever!), & a 1/2 roti


I’m so making this again!

~Masala Girl
what do you deem worthy of a few days of cooking? or do you take a shortcut? I love that I know I can make it quickly, but I love taking the time to make it the traditional way!

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17 thoughts on “Homemade Channa Masala: Quick, Easy, & Just as Authentic

  1. Ha! This is nuts! I would have definitely been running to a restaurant to get some take out if I had this little of time (“I swear – its homemade!”). Or else I would have been spilling tomato sauce evverrrywhere frantically trying to cook. This is very, very impressive. I love chana masala but have never made it – so I’m basically very excited to know it is this easy.
    I would have loved to try all those things in your bowl – kimchi soup!? Yum!!

    • well i live in a college town, there is ONE indian restaurant, and well, it’s pretty meh and very $$$$$$$$$$$! but i DEFINITELY pondered that the whole day! give this a try! it’s surprisingly easy! and i definitely spilled quite a bit ;) a lot of cleaning haha!
      and yes- the dinner is awesome because so many students in the groups are either international (so they can cook really good authentic food!) or just brought it from home! i’ve had so many amazing dishes at just a few potlucks :)

  2. As usual, your food looks amazing. Channa Masala is my go-to when I need my Indian food fix, and now it looks like I can make it myself. Thanks!

  3. I love channa masala but have never tried making it myself. I didn’t realize how simple it could be and your version looks so good! Definitely adding to my “to make” list now!
    Liv @ Healthy Liv recently posted…Easter Weekend 2016My Profile

    • exactly! i was so happy to make a quick version that was easy, so anyone can do it even on a time crunch! and still tasted homemade :) lemme know if you get to it!

  4. Haha you had a mummy brain moment! This looks delicious though and we love Indian food so this would be a perfect quick and easy food for us at home! Thanks for linking this week with #YumTum, look forward to more of your fab recipes next week!
    Charlotte recently posted…The Pinterest Game #39aMy Profile

  5. Ohhh, this sounds so amazing! I’ve never tried making Channa Masala, but it looks delicious! <3 I'm definitely going to have to attempt this sometime, hehehe. :]

  6. That story is too funny and I’m super impressed you still managed to not only bring a homemade dish but be almost in time. Oh, and also still get your parents/dad involved ;).
    Given how much of a chickpea fan/addict – I get serious cravings for them – I am this is the perfect dish for me. I actually have a similar recipe that’s one of my most-made on the blog but didn’t call it Chana Masala as I didn’t add the garam masala [it contains some spices I don’t like].
    Miss Polkadot recently posted…ToL: Summer TMI, blogger problems and cookiesMy Profile

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