Simply Delicious Chana Masala

Before starting Vegan Rhapsody I would use my collection of food magazines, recipe books or social media sites (notably Pinterest) for cooking inspiration. I’ve noticed in the last few months that inspiration can be rather serendipitous….. an impromptu “water cooler” conversation, in spotting an ad on a transit bus on the way to work or in scanning the grocery items belonging to the customer ahead of you in the grocery aisle . Today’s recipe was inspired by a colleague who was asking for suggestions on what to bring to a potluck dinner this weekend.  Someone piped up “you can’t go wrong with Chana Masala”.  I certainly wasn’t thinking about Indian food prior to that moment,  but I instantly started visualizing chickpeas and fresh tomatoes sitting in a simmering tangy tomato-based sauce….and the creative spark was lit ☺️

I’ve shared a few variations on some classic Indian dishes, including Vegan Curry Sauce and Vegan Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice, but this time I wanted to take a ‘no frills’ approach with this curry sauce: no cashews, no coconut milk or no chilies. Here I use chickpeas, onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes and fresh herbs bursting with flavour – that’s it.  I wanted to let these simple ingredients shine….and they do. This sauce is delectable with the perfect balance of tanginess, sweetness and heat. You’ll notice that naan bread is ‘MIA’  from the photograph for this recipe – stay tuned 😉.  While I think of it, vegan-friendly paneer would be incredible….stay tuned for that as well . It’s going to be a busy next few months….just the way I like it!


Recipe Preparation

  • 1/Cook 1.5 cups dry chickpeas as directed (I recommend 4 cups cooked chickpeas for this recipe so you’ll need approx. 1.5 cups dry chickpeas)
  • 2/Cook 4 cups basmati rice as directed


  • 1 onion, halved (95g)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled (25g)
  • Ginger root, peeled (15g)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (15g)
  • Coconut oil (40g)
  • 1 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • Strained tomatoes/Tomato sauce (2 cups/485g)
  • Tomatoes, halved (225g) (I recommend a juicy, sweet variety such as Campari tomatoes, if available)
  • Cooked chickpeas (685-700g)
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar (10g) + 1 tsp (2g)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice or 1/4 tsp lemon juice concentrate
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • Optional: 2 Tbsp brown sugar


  • 1/Add onion, garlic, ginger root and cilantro to the Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to collect the minced mixture at the base of the bowl.
    Note: Skip this step if you’re coconut oil is soft/liquid at room temperature)
  • 2/Add coconut oil to the TM bowl. Cook 2 min/100C/Speed 1 (in order to liquify the oil)
  • 3/Add dry spices to the TM bowl (cumin, coriander, chili powder) and salt. Sauté 3 min/120C/Speed 1. Once again, use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and collect the sautéed mixure at the base of the bowl. 
  • 4/Add tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, chickpeas and water to the TM bowl. Cook 5 min/100C/Speed 1.
  • 5/Add brown sugar, lemon juice,  garam masala and salt to the TM bowl. Blend 30 sec/100C/Speed 3. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed (for example, for more sweetness add 2 Tbsp brown sugar)

Note: This recipe was made using a Thermomix appliance, however it can easily be adapted using similar food prep tools (e.g. mutli-function processor, immersion blender etc) or using a more traditional stovetop method.

4 thoughts on “Simply Delicious Chana Masala

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