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Easy Instant Chana Masala

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Like ramen, I believe every great food needs an instant version. Something that’s not quite as good as the real deal, but fairly close and still absolutely delicious. This Chana Masala might not earn any authenticity awards, but it’s done in ten minutes and you don’t even need to bust out the cutting board.

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Cutting The Shortcuts

Chana Masala is one of my favorite vegan dishes. Scratch that. It’s one of my favorite dishes, period, and it just so happens to be vegan. It has such a complex and full-bodied flavor that even with a few time-saving shortcuts it’s still absolutely delicious. However, if you want to put forth the effort to make a more authentic (and probably more delicious) version, here’s how you can.

Use Fresh Aromatics

This recipe uses garlic-ginger paste in place of fresh ginger and garlic. It also just completely omits onion and peppers. If you want to boost your chana’s flavor then you’ll need to take the time to dice the onions and pepper, and make your own garlic-ginger paste from fresh ingredients.

Use Dried Chickpeas

Dried chickpeas tend to taste slightly better than the canned stuff. The only downside is that they need to soak in water at least overnight, and boil for another two hours before being added to the sauce. But if you want to maximize flavor then replace the canned chickpeas with about 3 cups of dried ones.

Otherwise, by using the paste and canned ingredients, you can have dinner ready in 30 minutes without even needing to bust out the knife and cutting board.

Easy Instant Chana Masala



Prep timeminutes
Cooking time




  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste

  • 1 tbsp garam masala

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1 14 oz can roasted crushed tomatoes

  • 2 15.5 oz cans chickpeas

  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk

  • 3 oz baby spinach

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat a pot on medium heat. Add the oil, garlic ginger paste, garam masala, and turmeric. Stir fry for 30 seconds to a minute, until fragrant.
  • Add the canned tomatoes. As well as about half a can’s worth of water, roughly ⅓ cup. Drain the canned chickpeas and add them to the pot.  Add the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer. Simmer on low for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally, until the sauce is glossy and thickened.
  • Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy with rice or bread.

Recipe Video

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