Hina Auntie's Chana Masala with Puri


Toasting and grinding whole spices instead of relying on pre-ground spice powders adds unparalleled depth of flavor to this spicy chickpea dish from western India. This dish is a specialty of Hina Mody, Restaurant Editor Khushbu Shah's auntie who emigrated from the Indian state of Gujarat.

Hina Auntie’s Chana Masala with Puri
Photo: Gerard + Belevender
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
8 to 10 serves -


  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds

  • 2 dried whole red chiles (such as chiles de árbol) 

  • 2 whole cloves 

  • 1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick 

  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds, divided

  • ¼ cup ghee (or neutral oil) 

  • 1 medium-size white onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 ½ tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger

  • 5 medium garlic cloves, grated

  • 1 dried bay leaf 

  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango powder) (optional) 

  • ½ teaspoon kala namak (black salt) (optional) 

  • 8 cups cooked and drained dried chickpeas 

  • 2 ½ cups water

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 3 green cardamom pods, smashed 

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

  • Sliced red onion, sliced cucumber, tomato wedges, lemon or lime wedges, and sliced fresh serrano chiles, for serving 

  • Puri


  1. Toast coriander seeds, dried chiles, cloves, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon cumin seeds in a medium skillet over medium, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; grind spices into powder in a spice grinder, about 30 seconds. Set ground spices aside.

  2. Heat ghee in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium. Add remaining 1 tablespoon cumin seeds; cook, stirring constantly, until seeds begin to pop, about 30 seconds. Add white onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until almost translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and bay leaf; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce; cook, stirring occasionally, until ghee begins to separate from tomato mixture, about 3 minutes. Stir in ground spices, and, if using, amchoor and kala namak. Stir in chickpeas and 2 ½ cups water; season with kosher salt to taste. Sprinkle with smashed cardamom. Bring to a simmer; cook 5 minutes. Using back of a spoon, mash about one-third of the chickpeas. Stir in lemon juice; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro; serve with red onion, cucumber, tomato, lemon or lime wedges, serrano chiles, and puri.


Find amchoor and kala namak at South Asian grocery stores or online.

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