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Chana Masala

Chana Masala
Chana Masala

Chickpea curry is easy to make, but not easy to master. So many chickpea curries in the UK are simply made with onions, spices, tomatoes and chickpeas, and they all come out looking and tasting kind of samey . . . and a bit lazy. THIS is how a good chickpea curry should be made, proper Indian-restaurant style. The teabags and baking soda cook the dried chickpeas perfectly, as well as adding flavour and colour for a rich brown gravy.

This recipe is from our newest cookbook BOSH! On A Budget


Before you start

Soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of cold water overnight • Medium saucepan • Kettle boiled • Sieve • Wok or large frying pan


  • 200g dried chickpeas
  • 1.5 litres boiling water
  • 2 tea bags
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3⁄4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 green cardamom pods

For the spice mix

  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1⁄2–1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 5cm piece fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1–2 fresh green chillies
  • 200g dairy-free yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1⁄2 lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp dairy-free butter


  1. 1.

    Cook the chickpeas • Place the saucepan over a high heat • Drain the soaked chickpeas, then tip them into the pan • Pour over the boiling water • Add the tea bags, salt, baking soda and whole spices • Bring to the boil, then reduce to a medium–high heat and cook on a rolling boil until soft, about 75–90 minutes, using a spoon to discard any scum that comes to the surface • Once the chickpeas are cooked, turn the heat off • They should be covered by 1–2cm of water so add a touch more water if needed • Fish out the tea bags, cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamoms and discard (if you can’t find the spices it’s okay if they stay in)

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, prep the rest of the ingredients • Peel and chop the onion very finely • Peel the ginger and cut it in half, slice one half into matchsticks and grate the other • Grate the garlic cloves • Trim and finely slice the chillies • Measure the yoghurt into a small bowl and use a fork to quickly beat it, then pour it through a sieve to remove any lumps • Repeat until the yoghurt is really smooth and liquid

  3. 3.

    Cook the spice mix • Measure all the spice mix ingredients into a
    bowl and mix to combine • Place the wok or frying pan on a medium heat and add the 2 tablespoons of oil • Add the spice mix and cook
    for 2–4 minutes, until the oil is bubbling and the spices have turned
    a darker brown • Carefully pour the oil and spices into the pan with the chickpeas, being careful not to splash yourself as hot oil and water can spit • Put the pan back on a medium-high heat

  4. 4.

    Prepare the curry • Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan • Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes • Add the yoghurt, all the ginger, the grated garlic, tomato purée, pomegranate molasses and chillies and stir • Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently • Add the spicy chickpeas and liquid from the other pan, squeeze in the lemon juice and add the sugar and dairy–free butter • Mix to combine • Taste and season, adding more salt, lemon juice, chilli powder or coriander to achieve the perfect flavour • Bring to the boil and continue to cook on a medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 20–30 minutes, until you have a thick, gravy consistency and your chickpeas are cooked through • Spoon into bowls and serve hot