It’s common in Indian recipes to leave whole spices in the dish for the individual to pick out. If this concerns you, feel free to remove the cloves, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods before serving to your guests.
- 1 1/2 cups dry chickpeas (soaked overnight), or a 28-oz can low sodium chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1-inch piece cinnamon
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1/2 cup minced red onion
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (garnish)
1 Prepare the chickpeas: If starting with dry chickpeas, rinse the chickpeas with water, transfer them to a bowl, and cover them with water. Soak them overnight or for 6 to 8 hours. The next day, add 3 cups water to the soaked chickpeas, and pressure cook them until tender. Set aside for later.
If you prefer, skip this step and just use canned chickpeas. Strain and rinse the chickpeas, and move to the next step.
2 Bloom the spices: In a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, add the oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the cloves, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, and green cardamom pods.
Once the oil sputters, add the red onion. Turn the heat to medium and cook onion for 5-8 minutes until it begins to turn golden. Once the onions take on color, add the coriander, ginger-garlic paste, salt, and turmeric. Stir well. Cook for another 15-20 seconds until the spices are fragrant.
3 Assemble the chana masala: Add the chopped tomato and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato cooks down and turns the masala into a loose paste. This should take about 5 to 8 minutes.
If you cooked your own chickpeas, add them along with the cooking liquid. If you’re using canned chickpeas, add them along with 1 1/2 cups of water. Add the garam masala and stir everything together.
4 Cover and cook: Cover and cook the ingredients on medium-high heat to let all the spices and sauce marry well and season the chickpeas, 5-8 minutes.
5 Garnish and serve: Turn the heat off. Uncover the pot and stir in the cilantro. Serve warm with a side of rice or bread.