Kala Chana Masala (Black Chickpea Curry)

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This tasty and super nutritious kala chana masala is a curry made with black chickpeas. It’s a naturally vegan recipe that’s easy to prepare in just 40 minutes. Black chana masala is a simple yet delicious dinner that’s perfect for a busy weeknight.

A photo of kala chana masala

I love simple vegan curries that don’t take too much time to cook, and they are often my go-to choice for those evenings when I want a nutritious dinner, but I’m not willing to work a lot for it.

This kala chana masala is a simple black chickpea curry that only takes approximately 40 minutes to make from start to finish so you can have a delicious plant-based dinner on the table quickly and with very little effort.

What is kala chana?

The name of the dish refers to the type of chickpeas used to make it. “Kala” means “black” in Hindi, and “chana” means “chickpea.” Kala chana is a variety of chickpeas native to the Indian subcontinent, and even though it’s not quite black, it has a dark brown skin that looks quite different from the regular chickpeas you might be used to.

Besides having a different color, black chickpeas also have a higher fibre content, and they are also a rich source of protein. They are also a bit smaller than light chickpeas. Kala chana is widely used in Indian cuisine not just for curries but also for stews and stir fry dishes.

A photo of a black chickpea curry with rice on the side

How to make kala chana masala?

This black chana curry is very easy to make, but it’s still bursting with flavour. The curry sauce is quite fragrant, and you can adjust it to be as fiery as you want.

The recipe is also great for meal prep because it reheats well, and you can serve it with fresh rice for both lunch and dinner.

Here’s how to make it:

In a large pan, heat the oil and then fry the onion for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Stir in the garlic, fresh ginger and green chili and continue to cook for another minute until fragrant.

Next, stir in the garam masala, ground coriander and ground cumin. Add the tomato paste and then the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine.

A step-by-step photo for making kala chana masala

Stir in the kala chana, add the water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer with a lid on for 25 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and fresh coriander, and serve over rice or with naan bread.

What can you serve with black chickpea curry?

Top the curry with extra fresh coriander and serve it with rice, naan bread or roti. Basmati rice works great here, but you can also choose to make it a gluten-free meal by serving the curry with quinoa or cauliflower rice.

Photo of a bowl of kala chana masala with a spoonful over it

How do you store it?

Kala chana masala will keep well in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Heat the curry in a pan before serving and make sure it’s piping hot. You can also freeze this curry for up to three months.

Extra tips

  • You can use dry kala chana if you want. You need to soak them overnight and then simmer for approximately 30 minutes before using them in this curry.
  • If you prefer a less spicy version, you can omit the green chili. On the contrary, if you’d like your curry to be fiery, you can leave the green chilli seeds in and even add some cayenne pepper or red chilli powder.
  • You can adjust the consistency of the kala chana masala as you wish. Add a bit more water if you want a slightly soupy consistency and less water if you want it to be thicker.

If you liked this kala chana masala, have a look at some of my other easy vegan curry recipes:

Aubergine and Red Lentil Curry

Jackfruit Rendang Curry

Thai Sweet Potato Curry with Spicy Chilli Peanuts

Looking for more delicious inspiration? 😄 Follow Skinny Spatula on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest!

Yield: 4

Kala Chana Masala (Black Chickpea Curry)

A photo of a bowl of black chana masala

This tasty and super nutritious kala chana masala is a curry made with black chickpeas. It's a naturally vegan recipe that's easy to prepare in just 40 minutes. Black chana masala is a simple yet delicious dinner that's perfect for a busy weeknight.

Prep Time 4 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 39 minutes


  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded if you don't want the curry too fiery
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 x 400 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400 g (14 oz) cans kala chana (black chickpeas)
  • 300 ml ( 1 1/4 cups) water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh coriander

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 477Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 44mgSodium 1066mgCarbohydrates 51gFiber 12gSugar 14gProtein 26g

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.

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