No Onion No Garlic Chana Masala or Easy Chana Masala

Chana Masala or Channa Masala or Chole Masala is a famous North Indian style side dish for any Indian flat bread, be it roasted or deep fried or even along with Basmati Rice. Chana Masala is traditionally prepared with onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chillies, blend of spices and soaked (and cooked) chana or chick peas.

No Onion No Garlic Chana Masala

This recipe is an adaptation of my mom’s Green Peas Masala recipe. While we were kids, she used to prepare Green Peas Masala to be paried with Chapathis. The gravy used to be so yummy, bright red in color with the right blend of spices, that I would eat the leftover gravy with bread too. Over years, the once favorite Green Peas Masala had been totally forgotten until I reminisced those days and wanted to have that appealing and tasty gravy. I set out immediately to prepare it, only change being I replaced green peas with chick peas and at the end, enjoyed one of the easiest and yummiest gravy with hot Chapathis for lunch. Also, prepared little Basmati Rice to be mixed and had with the gravy. Chana Masala mixed with hot steamed Basmati Rice and Papads as an accompaniment tasted delicious.

This version of Chana Masala is a “no onion no garlic” preparation and fits the bill perfectly on those days when you do not want use onion or garlic yet want to have something delicious. Also, this gravy is very easy to prepare Chana Masala and involves very less time and effort.


Chick peas or white/kabuli chana – 200 gms
Tomato – 1 large
Green chilli – 2
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste

To grind
Tomato – 2 large
Bay leaf – 1
Cinnamon – ½ “piece
Cloves – 2

To temper
Oil – 4 tsps
Jeera or cumin seeds – ¾ tsp


Prep Time – 20 mins (excluding soaking time)
Cook time – 20 mins
Total time – 40 mins
Serves 4


  1. Soak the chana or chick peas overnight or for 8-10 hrs in plenty of water. Pressure cook until soft by adding little salt. Set it aside until use.
  2. Finely chop one large tomato and two green chillies.
  3. Puree the ingredients listed under ‘To grind’ to a smooth paste in a blender and set it aside. No need to add water while grinding.
  1. Heat oil in a pan, add jeera and let them sizzle. Reduce the flame to medium and add finely chopped tomatoes and green chillies. Sauté tomatoes until they turn slightly mushy.
  2. Add the ground paste and cook till the raw smell of tomatoes disappears and also oil starts separating.
  3. Add all the spice powders, salt, cooked chana and about ¾ – 1 cup of water and cook for few minutes until everything blends well with the masala.

Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with Rotis, Pooris or Chapathis or with steamed Rice. Chana Masala goes well with Pulao and Jeera Rice too.

No Onion No Garlic Chana Masala


  1. I pressure cooked the chick peas for 5 whistles. Adjust the timing and whistles as per your cooker make.
  2. If you have forgotten to soak the chickpeas overnight, yet want to prepare Chana Masala, you can follow this easy method. Boil about 2 cups of water in a pan till the water comes to a rolling boil. Switch off the flame and add chickpeas to the water. Close the pan with a lid and leave it undisturbed for an hour. At the end of an hour, when you take a look at the chickpeas, they would be the same as overnight soaked and ready to be used.
  3. Though I did not use ripe tomatoes and Kashmiri chilli powder, using them gives a nice and natural red color to the gravy.
  4. Adjust the water added in the last step to get the desired gravy consistency. Reduce the water if you want the gravy thicker.
  5. I used whole garam masala and ground them along with the tomatoes. Instead you can add garam masala powder while adding other spice powders in the last step.