Quick and Easy Chana Masala

I haven’t had many strange cravings during this pregnancy so far (except for maybe chocolate milk… but let’s be real, who doesn’t crave that normally?), but one thing I can say is that now that the weather is getting a tiny bit cooler, I want stew every night! Last week I made a crock pot minestrone stew that somehow didn’t make it onto the blog, and this week I wanted something spicy! Chana masala sounded really good.

This recipe was adapted from Cookie and Kate’s Quick Chana Masala recipe and I LOVE how many of the spices I already had in my spice drawer. No going out to a specialty food store or trying to substitute with spices that don’t really work for Indian.

I did decide to leave out the serrano pepper (because I’m too cheap) and used some red pepper flakes instead, plus a little more cumin and whole coriander seeds. But you can definitely adjust the amount of spices to fit your taste!

Quick and Easy Chana Masala
Recipe Type: Stew, Vegetarian, Vegan
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
A quick version of the classic Indian dish that will have your loved ones believing it’s been simmering all day long! Spice levels can be adjusted to taste.
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp whole coriander
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger (about 1 inch piece)
  • 1/2 tsp each ground cumin and turmeric
  • 1 tsp finely ground sea salt
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes and juices
  • Cooked rice blend of choice (I used a blend of basmati and lentils that I found at Harris Teeter)
  • Greek yogurt, for garnish
  • Avocado slices, for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Pita, for serving
  1. Cook rice according to directions (or in rice cooker).
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat.
  3. Reduce heat to med-low and add cumin and coriander seeds and toast for 1 minute or so, watching and stirring frequently until fragrant (not burned!)
  4. Add garlic, onion, and ginger and continue to stir frequently for 4-5 minutes or until soft.
  5. Stir in all spices.
  6. Add tomatoes and break up with back of a wooden spoon.
  7. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a low bubble.
  8. Cover and reduce heat to low, then simmer 15-20 mins before serving. *Alternatively, you can transfer the stew to a slow cooker and cook on high for 2-3 hours to really allow the flavors to meld!
  9. When ready to serve, top your rice with a few scoops of masala, then garnish with yogurt, avocado slices, cilantro and lemon wedges. Serve with pita.
Quick and Easy Chana Masala

The best part about this recipe is that if you want to make this earlier in the day but still want that “oh my goodness what smells so good” factor when you walk in the house, you can transfer the stew to the slow cooker to finish up for a few hours. Or if you want to serve right away, just simmer it on the stovetop.

Don’t forget to serve this with pita points and a squeeze of lemon to finish! Enjoy!

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