Quick Chana Masala with Mushrooms – Chickpea Curry – Recipe

Chana Masala with Mushrooms

Chana Masala (spicy chickpeas) is one of those ten dishes you will find at pretty much every Indian restaurant in America. You can understand why: it is inexpensive to prepare, delicious, healthy and satisfying. The mass prepared versions are usually pretty good, but you can make a similar dish at home and enjoy fresher, more vibrant flavors.

If you have the ingredients on hand and use canned chickpeas, you can make this chana masala in just 20 minutes. I find that canned chickpeas are often undercooked and a little crunchy, so if I go that route, the first thing I do is put them on to simmer while I prepare everything else.

The mushrooms add a little textural counterpoint without being a main focus of the dish. You can certainly omit them or use a different vegetable to suit your needs.

Chana Masala with Mushrooms
Vegetarian, vegan if you use vegetable oil, and gluten-free
Serves 2 as a main course with basmati rice or 4 as part of a larger Indian meal

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (15 oz. can, drained and rinsed, or better, home-cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or clarified butter / ghee if you have it)
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, small dice
  • 1 medium tomato, cored, small dice (canned is an option)
  • 2/3 cups white mushrooms, quartered or thickly sliced
  • 1 small, hot red chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated turmeric, or 2 teaspoons dry
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • for tempering: 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • for garnish: cilantro
  1. If using canned chickpeas and, drain and rinse them, and put them in a saucepan with water to cover, then bring to a boil and simmer while you get everything else going. This will improve their texture. You can do this in the microwave too. Or skip this step completely if your chickpeas are already pleasantly soft.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over a medium-high flame. Add the mustard, fennel, cumin and coriander seeds. Cook for about 10-20 seconds until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Immediately add the garlic, onion and tomato.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until the liquid is mostly gone and everything is browning.
  4. Add the mushrooms and the drained chickpeas, the hot pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper, lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt, and a cup or so of water, so it is kind of soupy.
  5. Cook uncovered over a medium-low flame for about 15 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning. Does it need more salt? More lemon juice? A bit more cayenne?
  6. Finish for the texture you want – you can see how I like it in the picture above. Then in a separate skillet, heat the last tablespoon of oil over a high flame and fry the mustard seeds until they pop, just a few seconds. This is called tempering, and it is a great way to add a final layer of flavor.  Toss the contents of that skillet over the chickpeas and serve, with the cilantro for garnish.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, September 14th, 2009 in Favorites, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Kid Friendly, Main Courses, Recipes, Vegan or Modifiable.

30 Responses to “Quick Chana Masala with Mushrooms – Chickpea Curry – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    September 14, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    That has to be the ultimate comfort food!

  2. Reply
    September 14, 2009 at 10:51 am #

    that looks delicious and I need to try making it again. I once tried it using dried chana chickpeas also called black chickpeas (small and brown) and they never got soft, like eating pebbles.

  3. Reply
    September 14, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    Hey Mike,
    This looks yummy. I have never tried this combination – chana and mushrooms, but it looks good. I mostly make chicpeas and spinach. I think mushrooms will give a similar earthy flavour.

    Also havent added fennel seeds, but it sounds about right since they use fennel in north indian cuisine.


  4. Reply
    September 14, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    I love this kind of dish but have never made it with mushrooms. Good idea!

  5. Reply
    September 14, 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    Chana, choley – I could sing now 😀 Try adding potatoes to the same. Its just blissful. But I’m so going to try the mushroom version next time we have choley!

  6. Reply
    September 14, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    Oooh, fantastic! I am definitely trying this recipe!!

  7. Reply
    September 15, 2009 at 7:16 am #

    I love masala! I saw this dish on Twitter yesterday and had to check it out. I wanted to see what your version was. It looks delicious! It’s going in my “to make” folder.

  8. Reply
    September 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    you must have felt my vibrations: i have been looking for a trustworthy masala recipe. i will be making this tomorrow! om nom nom! 🙂

  9. Reply
    September 15, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    I just made this for lunch and it was super good.

  10. Reply
    September 16, 2009 at 12:06 am #

    I have never tried this recipe. I would love to try your recipe. It looks good and yummy.

  11. Reply
    September 16, 2009 at 5:02 am #

    I am drooling over this

  12. Reply
    September 18, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

    Beautiful photo and I love that you just used normal white mushrooms. It feels like they are out of fashion now with wild mushrooms pushing them out. I know I am going to have to try this recipe.

  13. Reply
    October 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm #

    Just discovered your blog (yay) and made this last night. Yummy! I used your technique of extra simmering for my canned garbonzos, and I’m sure it helped but I think I’ll cook my own next time (never done that before) since they never really softened. Also added more water for more sauce. Loved it. Looking forward to trying more!

  14. Reply
    October 27, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    Thanks for this! Just made it the other night, minus the mustard seeds and chili pepper because I had none. Very good! I was lazy about pans and just simmered everything together in one pan longer till the chickpeas were soft. Served it with butter chicken, rice, and a lentil and potato curry. Mmm.

  15. Reply
    November 14, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    Made this for dinner tonight along with three tried-and-true veg*n favorites from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking, and count it a fabulous success. Forgot the last bit of tempering mustard seeds, so I’m sure my next attempt will be even more delicious (and I also look forward to testing my intuition that this might be one of those recipes that makes excellent leftovers). Thank you!

  16. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    November 14, 2009 at 9:58 pm #

    So glad you liked it! You are right, it will only taste better tmw… and you could still add the tempering then if you have time.

  17. Reply
    February 5, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    Nice channa masala recipe with mushroom. A regular channa masala at Channa Masala

  18. Reply
    May 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe! I’m living in Buenos Aires right now and can’t find any decent Indian food here. Happily I was able to find all the ingredients I needed, except the black mustard seeds, so I used a teaspoon of curry powder that contained mustard. I even got lucky and found some spicy little peppers at the local produce stand, which are not easy to find here because people generally don’t eat spicy food. I also added a little more mushrooms and a little more water so I could simmer it longer. It was amazing, really hit the spot for a girl craving the comfort of Indian cooking!

  19. Reply
    May 10, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    Thanks Michael
    This is the first recipe of yours that I have tried, it’s really lovely. Like dillydoodle I added more mushrooms (and an extra tomato) and simmered for longer before putting the chickpeas in. I was also lucky enough to have some homemade stock in the freezer so I put that in instead of the water.
    I look forward to trying more or your recipes!

  20. Reply
    Chihana Schiffer
    February 2, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    Michael- this recipe was SO great. I also made it using vegetable oil and substituted brown mustard seed for black. If I used ghee and the black mustard seed, does it make a huge difference? I am making a bigger batch tonight with ghee and bl. mustard seeds which I plan to go get today!

    • Reply
      February 2, 2012 at 7:50 am #

      Glad you liked it! Yes, I think you will taste some difference with the ghee and black mustard seed. The ghee of course tastes a bit richer, and the black mustard seed has a bit different flavor and texture.

  21. Reply
    March 13, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    Looks great! I have not used fennel seeds before while cooking chickpea curry. Will give it a try.

    Couple of suggestions, in step 4. perhaps add the dry spices like turmeric before adding chickpeas & mushroom and roast for say 30 seconds. This will mean that the curry will not have the pungent taste of uncooked turmeric. Also, if using dry turmeric, reduce the quantity to 1/2 – 1 tsp.

  22. Reply
    August 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    You are great at what you do. I am a novice cook and even I was able to follow the steps and make a delicious dinner. I loved the use of whole seeds in this – I’ve tried to cook Indian before using mostly powdered spices and I thought this version had a more intense flavor. Thanks for sharing your work with us!

    • Reply
      August 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

      I’m glad it came out well for you, Sheebah, and thanks for taking the time to come back and leave a comment!

  23. Reply
    August 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Glad to have found your space. I love chana masala and love the idea of tempering it at the end. I have never tried that before with this dish, can’t wait to give it a try!

  24. Reply
    October 11, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    I was looking for vegan recipes and I’m happy to have found your website. I prepared this recipe yesterday and it was delicious! Thank you Michael!

  25. Reply
    August 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    I am not vegan but am trying to learn to cook some vegan dishes since my daughter is. Just wanted to tell you what a delicious dish this is. I will definitely make it again. Thanks for a great recipe!! 🙂

  26. Reply
    August 5, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

    I just tried this recipe for dinner…It was my first time using all these Indian spices, which smelled marvelous. I ate it on it’s own, but for me it felt like something was missing. I didn’t want to eat meat today, but it seemed to me like it would have tasted complete with the taste of meat in it. I hope to get over that feeling. I’d like to eat less and less meat until I can stick with being a vegetarian. Does anyone know what I’m taking about? Or how I can get over the meat taste syndrome?

  27. Reply
    January 4, 2018 at 9:46 am #

    I have to disagree with most of the reviewers; this recipe is somewhat confused- it’s almost as if the writer just decided to throw nearly every Indian type spice he had in his cupboard at the dish and as such it’s just a bit of a mess really. It’s not horrible to eat and is edible but it really needs stripped back form loads of things that it really doesn’t need. So, cloves, cinnamon… far too overpowering and unnecessary…omit them…. mustard seeds at the end? It’s true, thi said may work but only if it’s tripped back… cayenne pepper and chilli too? Not required here… maybe just chilli eh? And lemon juice? Yeah that’s. Nice idea but it makes it really sour and alongside all the other crazy choices of spices it’s just too much… so yeah, it’s tastes far too busy so strip it back a bit… (and I’ve been cooking quality, authentic regional curry dishes for years)

  28. Reply
    August 18, 2018 at 6:21 am #

    Been making this for years… there’s a careful balance in acid and the roundness of the spice that is tricky. I agree it’s better if you roast the powdered spices a little before adding the peas- and a much longer simmer once everything’s in the pan improves it too. Thanks for this one!

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