Punjabi Channa Masala

by Leena Kohli (@leenakohli)
Prep Time
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Punjabi Channa Masala is a popular dish originating from the northern Indian state of Punjab. This classic recipe features tender chickpeas cooked in a fragrant blend of spices and herbs, making it a staple in Punjabi cuisine. You can serve it with Indian bread such as roti, naan, and kulcha or pair it with steaming hot rice. The dish's tangy and spicy flavour makes it renowned, and people often top it with chopped onions, green chillies, and fresh coriander


6 Servings
  • 1tbsp
    Tea Leaves
  • 1cup

For Boiling

  • 2cup
    Chickpeas (Kabuli Channa)
  • 1/2tsp
    Baking Soda
  • Water
  • 2
    Cinnamon stick (small)
  • 2
    Black Cardamom
  • 1tsp
  • 2
    Onion (medium-sized) (sliced)
  • 3
    Green Chilli (medium hot) (chopped)

For Gravy

  • 5tbsp
  • 2
    Bay Leaves
  • 4
  • 1tbsp
    Cumin Seeds
  • 1tbsp
    Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 3
    Tomato (chopped/ground)
  • 1tbsp
    Coriander Powder
  • 1tbsp
    Cumin Powder
  • 2 1/2tbsp
    Channa Masala
  • 1tsp
    Red Chilli Powder
  • 2tbsp
    Dry Fenugreek Leaves
  • 1tsp
    Garam Masala
  • 2tbsp
    Dry Mango Powder (Amchur)

For Tempering

  • 2tbsp
  • 1tsp
    Cumin Seeds
  • 2
    Dry Red Chilli
  • 1tsp
    Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder


  1. To make tea water, place tea leaves or tea bag in a pan with 1 cup of water and boil for 3-4 minutes, strain and set aside.

For Boiling

  1. Wash and soak chickpeas in water (5 cups approx.) with baking soda, preferably overnight.

  2. Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a pressure cooker. Add enough water to cover them by an inch, along with cinnamon, black cardamom pods, salt, sliced onions, and green chillies. Cook for 4-5 whistles on medium-high heat. Turn off the flame and let the steam release naturally.

  3. In a heavy-bottomed deep pan or wok, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add bay leaves, cloves, cumin seeds, and ginger garlic paste. Saute until golden.

  4. Add chopped or ground tomatoes and cook until soft and the oil oozes.

  5. Add coriander powder, cumin powder, channa masala, red chilli powder, kasuri methi, amchur powder, and garam masala. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle water to prevent the tomato paste from sticking to the wok's bottom.

  6. Add the boiled chickpeas and mix well. Pour in the tea water and stir again.

  7. Mash some chickpeas gently with a masher and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the gravy thickens and the chickpeas are well coated with the spices.

  8. Check seasonings and adjust them to your taste.

For Tempering

  1. Heat ghee or oil in a small frying pan on medium heat. Add cumin seeds, dry red chillies, and kashmiri red chilli powder. Once the seeds splutter, add this tempering to the chickpeas.

  2. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with roti, bhatura, naan, kulcha, poori or paratha.

Tips & Tricks

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight with baking soda to soften them and speed up the cooking process.

  2. Use tea water to give the dish its signature colour. Adding too many tea leaves is not advised, as it can make the dish bitter.

  3. Use a heavy-bottomed pan to prevent the gravy from sticking to the bottom and burning.

  4. Mash some of the chickpeas with a masher to create a thicker consistency.

  5. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste. You can add more spices, salt or chilli powder if you prefer a spicier flavour.

  6. You can add more amchur powder if you prefer a tangier flavour.

  7. You can also use canned chickpeas instead of boiling them from scratch to save time.

  8. For added texture and flavour, you can also add chopped onions, tomatoes or green chillies as a garnish. .

  9. The number of servings will depend on the quantity of the dish served.

Leena Kohli
Recipe by

Leena Kohli


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