Chana Masala


I’ve been making this since my mum’s neighbour made it for me when I was a teenager. I always used Yamuna’s recipe but have tweaked it to make it quicker and easier. It’s my go-to comfort food and freezes really well.

It is usually served in Indian restaurants as chana bhatura or chole bhatura, the humble chickpea elevated by puffed, deep fried breads – bhatura or puris. I was delighted to find it on the menu at Dishoom, served with halava (pictured above). A meal just like the ones we used to eat at the temple. Dishoom’s version includes potatoes which I approve of; add them or leave them out as pleases you. Adding potatoes turns this into a fairly substantial dish. Without them, I serve it in place of dal as part of a meal


Six tomatoes or a tin of chopped tomatoes

2 tins of chickpeas (I usually use East End but sometimes buy Napolina ones if I’m feeling especially fancy)

4 medium potatoes

1 bay leaf

3 inches fresh root ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon coriander

1 teaspoon hing

1 generous teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon salt

a pinch of chili

1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a big saucepan and grate the fresh ginger. Add to the hot oil and stir, frying until it sticks. Add the turmeric, coriander, garam masala and stir – once the mixture becomes sticky and fragrant, add the tomatoes and bay leaf and a couple of tablespoons of water. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally then add the chickpeas, drained of their liquid and rinsed.
  2. While the chickpeas and tomatoes cook over a low heat, steam the potatoes until soft. Add them to the chickpeas followed by the chili, lemon juice and salt and stir to mix. Add as much chili as you would like.
  3. You can soak the chickpeas in tea for a few hours before cooking, if you like. I used decaf tea, partly because I’m used to bhakti diet, partly because I’m a bit of an insomniac.