Lonely Planet Writer

How to make chana masala

Chana masala Try making Curry Up Now's chana masala at home © Uncle Gussy © Michelle Edmunds

Here's how to make chana masala – one of the delectable dishes served at Curry Up Now in San Francisco, USA, and featured in our latest Lonely Planet Food title, Around the World in 80 Food Trucks.


- 2 x 400g (14oz) cans chickpeas
- 1L (13/4 pints) water
- 2 teabags (preferably Red Label)
- 50ml (2fl oz) rapeseed oil or ghee
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbs ginger garlic puree pinch of salt
- 150g (5oz) tomato puree
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp coriander leaves, chopped
- cooked rice, to serve

For the spice blend:

- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp pomegranate seeds
- 2 cloves
- 2 black cardamoms
- 4 green cardamoms
- ½ stick cinnamon
- 2 small bay leaves
- 4 dried red chillies
- salt, to taste


1. Drain the chickpeas and put in a pan with the water and teabags. Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes. Remove the teabags.
2. To make the spice blend, put all the ingredients in a dry frying pan and toast, shaking often, for 1–2 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind into fine powder.
3. Heat the oil or ghee in a frying pan, add the onion, ginger, garlic puree and salt and sauté for 8–10 minutes or until softened.
4. Stir in the spice blend and cook for 10 more minutes. Add 1 tbs of the chickpea water to prevent sticking.
5. Add the tomato puree and cook for 5 minutes.
6. Pour in the chickpeas and water. Cook for 20 minutes or until thickened, then stir in the lemon juice.
7. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with rice.

Find out more about the food truck where this dish is served: 10 of the world's coolest food trucks.

Lonely Planet has taken to the streets to bring you 80 fast, fresh and mouthwatering recipes from the most exciting chefs on four wheels. From sea bass ceviche to old-fashioned American peach cake, discover how to cook some of the world’s most crowd-pleasing dishes, meet the chefs and hear the stories behind their passion projects.