A pot of black chana masala with a wooden spoon in it and some cilantro on the top.

Black Chana Masala Chickpea Curry

  • Author: Kristen Stevens
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian


This delicious Black Chana Masala is an easy to make chickpea curry made with black chickpeas. It’s bursting with flavor and is a healthy Meatless Monday vegetarian dinner recipe.



  • 2 cups dried black chickpeas (or 6 cups cooked black or regular chickpeas)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, finely minced
  •  pinch of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon each: mustard and cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 green chilis, finely minced (remove seeds for a less spicy chili. I used serrano chilis.)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons each: coriander and garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 128-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  1. Place the dried chickpeas in a large pot and fill it with water. Let it sit overnight on your counter, or for 8-24 hours. Drain the chickpeas and add fresh water to the pot. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until the chickpeas are soft. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and let it cook until it’s soft, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and add the baking soda to the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is dark brown, about 10 minutes. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, and chilis to the pan and cook until a dark brown paste forms, about 5 minutes more. (See the pictures in the post to see what it should look like.)
  3. Push this onion paste to the side of the pan and add the tomato paste. Let it caramelize until is smells sweet and darkens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the coriander, garam masala, and turmeric to the pan and let it cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan and gently break them up with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. You want some texture here, just not big chunks of tomatoes. Add the reserved cooked chickpeas, the sea salt, and a 1/2 cup of water to the pan and let it simmer for a half hour. If you’re serving this with rice, now is the time to start cooking it.
  5. Season with extra sea salt if needed and stir in the cilantro and lemon juice just before serving.


Prep time does not include the time you’ll need to soak the chickpeas. 

Pair with steamed basmati rice or cauliflower rice

Perfect basmati rice in a pot.cauliflower rice in a pan with a wooden spoon.

Mango chicken curry in a bowl with rice and a fork.

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