Channa Masala – Chickpea Curry Recipe


Although they’re not much at their first appearance, it’s surprising how incredibly tasty Chickpeas can be to cook with. They are not a bean or a pea, but a legume which is classified as both a vegetable and a protein. Isn’t it remarkable how something so small can target two food groups?

Chickpeas are perfect for vegans, vegetarians or anyone on a meat–free diet, as their protein count is astonishing.  They contain 19g per 100g, only 8g less than the ‘go-to source’ chicken.  On their own, Chickpeas are bland, so when combined with other ingredients, the protein content will equalise that of meat.  Yet this isn’t the only reason we should start consuming more of these legumes.

Health Benefits of Chickpeas

  • They are also recognised for their high fibre content. Fibre rich foods aid not only in digestion, they balance pH levels in the gut, increasing healthy bacteria and eliminating unhealthy bacteria.
  • They are ‘good-carbs’. The carbohydrates in Chickpeas are complex carbs, which means they are digested slowly and stored as energy to be used later. This helps control blood sugar, as it allows for sugar to move more slowly into your bloodstream; therefore, this will not suddenly spike blood sugar levels.
  • Typically, vitamin C is known for its immune boosting qualities, yet zinc and copper are equally as effective for the development of immune boosting cells. Chickpeas contain 17% of our daily intake of zinc and 30% of copper per 165g.

Although more often used in Indian, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean cuisine, they are so versatile that they can be used in most dishes. Why not try them sautéed with garlic mushrooms and served on toast? Or fry them with garlic and combine with a paprika and cumin yoghurt mix and add them to a baked sweet potato?  Their texture  allows them to be blended and work well as dips, such as hummus or, my favourite, chickpea and red pepper.

However, my favourite chickpea dish is Channa Masala. The spices and chillies, combined with the smoothness of the chickpeas, create an amazing combination of flavours and textures!


Channa Masala
(chickpea curry)


3 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 large cinnamon stick

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

½ tsp asafoetida

2 tbsp gram flour

200g tinned chopped tomatoes or passata

2 tsp tomato puree

2 tsp finely chopped garlic

3 tsp finely chopped ginger

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp hot chilli powder or to taste

1 tsp jaggery

½ tsp salt or to taste

¼ tsp garam masala

1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves

480g boiled chickpeas (canned is fine)

100 ml hot water or to preferred consistency

3 tbsp fresh coriander

1 tbsp lemon juice


Cooking Instructions  

  1. Heat the oil in a pan, when hot, add the cinnamon stick and cumin seeds and leave to sizzle for a few seconds.  Turn off the heat, then add the asafoetida quickly followed by the gram flour.  Stir the gram flour into the oil and cook for a minute, the latent heat will be sufficient. (gram flour burns very quickly)
  2. Turn on the heat to low and add the garlic and ginger, infuse with the cinnamon and cumin for about 2 minutes before adding the tomatoes and puree and increase the temperature to medium to bring the sauce to a simmer.  Return to a lower heat once it has regained simmer temperature.
  3. When the oil separates, and the water has evaporated from the tomatoes, lower the heat and add the spices; ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder, jaggery, salt, garam masala, half of the fresh coriander and dried fenugreek. Cook the spices over a low heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chickpeas, stir through ensuring the chickpeas are thoroughly coated.  Keep the temperature on a gentle heat and cook for 5 minutes with the lid on to allow the spices to meld into the chickpeas and to cook with the steam and the heat.  Add a little water to create a sauce.
  5. Garnish with lemon juice and the remaining fresh coriander or strips of ginger if you prefer.


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