Friday recipe: channa masala

October 7, 2011 —

I made the mistake earlier this week of getting sucked into the website for this weekend’s World Food Festival in Des Moines – a mistake because my mouth began watering, my food fantasies ran wild and I was for some time distracted from what I should have been doing. With optimum weather in the forecast, the event will be a great time to taste foods from around the world, from America to Ethiopia (I’m still obsessing over last year’s spicy doro wot), Trinidad to Thai (ahh, spring rolls!), Mexican to the Mediterranean and much more. Live music, street performances, cooking demonstrations and other entertainment will add to the fun.

Prospects of the World Food Fest inspired me to offer an easy recipe for channa masala, a spicy vegetarian dish from India. While it does require a well-stocked spice rack – fortunately for us central Iowans, we have both AllSpice and Penzeys Spicesin town – but, trust me, your tastebuds will thank you.

Wake up your senses with this spicy dish.

Channa masala

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon amchoor powder or lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic and sauté over a medium heat until browned, three to five minutes. Turn heat to medium-low. Add the coriander, cumin (not the roasted cumin seeds), cayenne and turmeric. Stir for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes until browned lightly.

Add the chickpeas and a cup of water and stir. Add the roasted cumin, amchoor, paprika, garam masala, salt and lemon juice. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove the cover add the minced chili and ginger. Stir and cook uncovered for 30 seconds. Yummy as a side dish or served with naan or over rice.


Endlessly curious and easily entertained, Barb Dietrich Boose loves being a member of the friendly, fascinating DMU community and its creative communications team. The University's publications director and DMU Magazine editor, Barb is always on the hunt for story ideas, good books and new recipes to try out on her family, such as her surprisingly tasty pork-and-bean bars.
  • Techuth

    I am from Pakistan and I love Channa masala. Barb Boose you figured it out very well. Yuummmmm !