Chickpea (Channa) Masala

Chickpeas cooked in a sweet and spicy tomato sauce that is creamy and oh so delicious. This dish can be made with so many variations, there's just no right way of making it. The most important part is to have fun making it and enjoy eating it even more. Best served with buttered (vegan butter of course) naan or roti.

When my husband I were in Oahu, we decided to try this Indian food truck after a long day of hiking. The food truck was one of the few that had Vegan options, so we were really happy to see the various options they offered. One of the dishes listed was Channa Palak (Chickpeas & Spinach Masala). All I remember is not being able to share it with my husband, making him get his own. It was out of this world good; literally had me licking my fingers. As soon as we got back home, I tried to recreate it. I was able to make the masala, but it just wasn't tasting the same (or even close). I tried a ton of variations, different kind of coconut creams or milks, different masalas and spices too. After about 3 or 4 attempts, I finally figured out what the missing ingredient was...sugar!!

You can use canned chickpeas if you want to, I do find that it tastes better and more fresh when you cook them in a pressure cooker though. You'll want to rinse the chickpeas the night before you cook them though, it helps them get softer and takes less time to cook.

Note** If you want to make this in a larger quantity or just like to have more gravy then use 2 cans of coconut cream instead of one. Just make sure you cook it long enough to get thick and creamy.


1/2 red onion - finely chopped

1 seranno peper - finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

2-3 medium roma tomatoes - finely chopped

1-2 tbsp garam masala

1 tbsp turmeric

1 tsp chaat masala

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp coriander powder

salt to taste

1 can coconut cream or milk

1/4 cup white sugar

1-2 tbsp oil (I use Avocado oil)

2.5 cups garbanzo beans - soaked for 6 hours or overnight (omit soaking if you're using canned)

cilantro for garnish


1. Rinse the soaked garbanzo beans and add them to a pressure cooker, fill with water 2-3 inches above the beans. Cook for about 5-6 whistles and drain. If you are using canned chickpeas then you can skip this step.

2. While the chickpeas are cooking, heat a pan and add 1 tbsp oil

3. Add the onions and pepper to the pan and sauté until the onions turn translucent

4. Add in the tomatoes and cook until soft

5. Once the tomatoes are cooked through, mash the onion tomato mixture to almost create a paste

6. Add in all the spices and mix well, let that cook for about 5 minutes on low

7. Add in the coconut milk or cream and mix well, make sure you combine all the spices with the cream. Cook for about 5 minutes

8. Add in the sugar and cook for another 5 minutes

9. Add in the chickpeas and mix well

10. Simmer for about 5 mins or until the gravy is thick enough.

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