South Indian Restaurant Style Chana Masala

Chana / Chickpeas is something that I make very often. It's almost a staple at our place. If you ask me, it's kinda a universal side dish. It goes well with rice, roti, appam, dosa, neer dosa, puttu, upma… the list goes on.

Though this Chana recipe is my go to recipe, I'm always looking out for new recipes using chickpeas. I guess the meaty texture of chickpeas appeals to us and makes it a good side dish. Though I've already posted two chana masala recipes, both of them kinda fits into the “North Indian” style of chana masala.

This time I wanted to make a South Indian style Chana Masala, that you get in South Indian restaurants (the “dosa” places mostly) along with bhature or chapathi. Though I haven't got it exactly like the restaurant style, this comes pretty close. We both liked the flavour of the dish and the gravy is quite rich and thick, the way we like it :)

This recipe goes well with chapathi, plain rice, jeera rice, neer dosa, upma, peas pulao, ghee rice

If you are also a fan of chana, check out these recipes too.. Chana masala, Chickpeas Biriyani, Chana Masala, Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Chana Salad

Here is the recipe…

South Indian Chana Masala
  • Save

South Indian Restaurant Style Chana Masala

Print Pin
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 1 cup Chickpeas (Kabuli chana / Vella kadala) (soaked overnight)
  • 3 Cardamom
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 Bayleaf
  • Half of 1 Star Anise (thakolam)
  • 2 Medium Onion (chopped)
  • 1.5 tsp each Crushed ginger and garlic
  • 2 Green chilli (slit legthwise)
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 3 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala / Chicken masala (refer notes)
  • 1 big Tomato (pureed)
  • 1/3 cup Grated coconut
  • 7-8 Cashew nuts (refer notes)
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp Fennel seeds (perumjeerakom)
  • 1/4 tsp Poppy seeds (refer notes)
  • Salt
  • 2 - 3 tsp Oil / Ghee (I used ghee)
  • 2 tbsp Chopped Coriander leaves


  • Drain the chickpeas and rinse under the running water for a few times. Pressure cook the chickpeas with 2.5  cups water and salt, till it's cooked. Refer notes for details.
  • Heat oil / ghee in a wide and deep pan. Add crushed cardamom, cloves, star anise and bayleaf. Add chopped onion and cook till it browns.
    Step 1 Chana Masala 2
    • Save
  • Add crushed ginger and garlic and green chilli. Cook for 2-3 mins, till the raw smell goes.
    Step 2 Chana Masala 2
    • Save
  • Add kashmiri chilli, coriander, turmeric powders and garam masala / chicken masala. Fry for 2-3 mins, till the raw smell goes. Add 1 tbsp of hot water to bring together the masala.
    Step 3 Chana Masala 2
    • Save
  • Add pureed tomato and salt. Cook till it's done and oil starts appearing.
    Step 4 Chana Masala 2
    • Save
  • Add cooked chickpeas along with the stock (cooking water). Bring it to a boil and reduce flame to the lowest. Cover and cook for 7 - 8 mins.
    Step 5 Chana Masala 1
    • Save
  • Grind together grated coconut, soaked cashew nuts and poppy seeds (if using), fennel seeds with 2-3 tbsp water to a smooth paste.
    Step 6 Chana Masala 1
    • Save
  • Take the pan from the stove and add the coconut paste. Gently mix to incorporate the paste into the curry. 
    Step 7 Chana Masala 1
    • Save
  • Bring the pan back to fire and cook for 3-4 mins. Add chopped coriander leaves. Let the curry rest for half an hour, before serving. 
    Step 8 Chana Masala 1
    • Save


Poppy seeds is optional, if it's not available, skip that and continue with the recipe. Soak the cashew nuts and poppy seeds (if using) in 2 tbsp water for 10-15 mins.
I pressure cook chickpeas on high flame for 6 - 8 whistles. Switch off the gas and let the pressure drops. 
I've used chicken masala for a meaty flavour, but you can use garam masala instead. 
You can add more water if you dont want a thick gravy. 
I recommend using ghee for this recipe.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by...mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
  • Save

4 thoughts on “South Indian Restaurant Style Chana Masala”

  1. It turned out super delicious! Exactly like in restaurants. Book marked your site.

    I used garam masala, but if it is chicken masala, what should i use? is it the ckn masala used for gravy or fry?

    Also at the end I added small amount of ground chickpeas to the gravy, as mine was not getting thick.


Have you tried this out? We'd love to hear your thoughts...

Share via
Copy link