Chana Masala (Worker’s Curry)






I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: no one does vegetarian food better than the Indians.  The way they carefully and lovingly work with vegetables and spice is genius.  I always judge a new Indian restaurant by it’s vegetarian Thali.  Why do I order that specific dish (or rather, mezze), you may ask?  Simple, I want to taste as many vegetable curries as possible and nothing is better for that than those little bowls full of food.  Impress me with your culinary prowess in those vegetable curries and I’ll order another meat dish or two. Okay, probably three more dishes.


This curry does not have the ‘pizazz’ that some Indian dishes seem to carry. There aren’t any bright colors nor does this curry give off that chili pepper heat that makes you sweat.   It’s a simple curry with simple ingredients, like the humble chickpea, simmered in a tomato gravy.  Some could call it ‘peasant food’ not fit for a king like a lamb biryani.  However, in my humble opinion, ‘peasant food’ is the best food.  It stands the test of time and is comforting to the soul.  Give me a bowl of chaChena masala, top it with some fresh cilantro/coriander, tomato, red onion and a squeeze of lemon and I’m happy.  Peasant food all the way.






Chana Masala (Worker’s Curry)

  • Author: Spicepaw
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4 1x


Chickpeas simmered in a tomato gravy then topped with fresh chopped red onion, tomato, coriander and a squeeze of lemon. A comforting curry! #vegan #vegetarian #Indianfoodrecipes #chickpeas #curry #healthyrecipes



2 large onions (about 2 cups) (finely diced)

2 tablespoons of ginger (crushed, then minced)

2 tablespoons of garlic (crushed then minced)

1 small red chili pepper (diced) (optional)

1 tablespoon of ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon of ground coriander

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp sea salt

34 tablespoons of butter or olive oil

1 x 400 g (14 oz) can of stewed tomatoes

1/2 cup (120 ml) of water

2 x 400 g (14 oz) can of chickpeas (drained and washed)

fresh cilantro/coriander for garnish

1 tomato

slice of lemon

1 red onion (chopped)


In a large pan, heat butter or olive oil over medium heat.

When hot and butter is melted, add onions and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes).

When onions are translucent, add minced garlic and ginger.  Stir and cook until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes).

Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala and salt.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Open can of tinned tomatoes, place in a bowl and crush with your hands.  Add to onion mixture along with 1/2 cup (120 ml) of water.

Bring to a boil then add drained and washed chickpeas.

Reduce heat to low or whatever provides a low simmer, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes.

When liquid has reduced and chickpeas are cooked through, turn off heat.

Garnish with chopped red onion, diced tomato, a sprinkling of cilantro and of course, a squirt of lemon.

Serve with Basmati rice or naan bread.


Make your spices go the distance!  Make sure to get good quality spices.  Instead of adding prepackaged ground, simply toast together 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds and 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds with some garam masala and turmeric.  Grind together via mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder or whatever you have that works.

Not all garam masalas are made equal.  Each one varies with spices and seasonings so find the one you like best and use that.

  • Category: Curry, Vegetarian
  • Method: Simmering
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: Chickpea, curry, Indian food, vegan, vegetarian






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