Easy Chana Masala

I like to cook most things from scratch, but there are a few prepared foods that I consider my friends.  Canned beans.  Canned diced tomatoes.  Boxed stock.  They make my life easy.  Hence the title of this recipe.  If I were to use dry beans, I would have to leave the word “easy” out.

Perhaps I’m sacrificing authenticity, but easy takes precedence.  It tastes good, it is nutritious and that’s all I care about these days.

The cast of characters, minus the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, cilantro and jalapeno pepper.


Onions, jalapeno pepper, ginger/garlic paste and spices frying up to delicious goodness.


With diced tomatoes added as a basis for the sauce.


Add the beans with a cup of water and tomato paste to thicken up the sauce. Cover and let it simmer until the beans have soaked up the flavor and are tender to the touch.


A tip, I buy a large can of tomato paste and freeze them in small portions. The above was frozen using an ice-cube tray.  I throw them into a zip-lock bag and take them out as needed.

Ta-da! Serve over a bowl of rice or with naan.  I love saucy dishes like this over rice. Love, love, love. As in I can eat two bowls of it and still want another one.  I love Indian food in general, but Chana Masala and Dal are my all time favorite comfort food.


Easy Chana Masala

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Time: 15 min prep; 15 min cooking

Serves: 4


2 cans of garbanzo (chickpeas) beans, preferably low sodium, rinsed and drained
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seed removed, finely chopped (use green chillies if you like heat)
3 cloves of garlic, grated
1 inch piece ginger, grated
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander power
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon paprika (use chili powder for more heat)
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup water
salt to taste
handful fresh cilantro, chopped


Add olive oil to large frying pan with lid on medium-high heat.  When oil is hot, add cumin seeds and fry until the seeds sizzle and pop.  Add onions and peppers and saute until the onions start to soften.

Push aside the onions and add to the center of the pan the grated ginger and garlic.  Add the spices and some salt and saute until well mixed. 

Add diced tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes become soft. Add about 1 cup of water and tomato paste and bring to boil. 

Add the beans and stir.  Let the beans simmer under cover until the sauce thicken slightly and the beans become tender.

Stir in chopped cilantro and serve with rice or naan.


2 thoughts on “Easy Chana Masala

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