Chana masala powder is a traditional Indian spice blend, for seasoning chickpea dishes. For the best flavor, use this recipe to make it fresh at home!
Sometimes known as chole masala powder, chana masala literally translates to “chickpea spice.”
Indian cuisine relies heavily upon a wide variety of spices, and it’s very common for there to be different spice blends based on the main ingredient used.
The combination of sweet, spicy, sour, and savory notes blend well with the earthy flavor of chickpeas. Plus, this chana masala spice recipe tastes better than store bought and is made in small batches to stay fresh.
Difference between chana masala and garam masala
These spice blends are very similar and make great substitutes for one another when necessary. In fact, many chana masala recipes use garam masala instead of a separate chana masala spice mix.
First, this blend contains dried chilis, making it a bit spicier than garam masala. It also has a hint of sour, fruity flavor from the dry mango powder.
Also, garam masala is made with star anise, which adds notes of licorice that this blend doesn’t have.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Note: This is just a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Kashmari chiles - Substitute with a blend of cayenne and paprika, or use another dried red pepper like Guajillo chiles.
- Asafoetida - This is a staple spice used in Indian cooking. It can sometimes be hard to find, so replace with equal parts onion powder and garlic powder if needed.
- Fenugreek leaves - Can be replaced with fenugreek seeds instead.
- Green cardamom - This is different from ground cardamom, which is made from black cardamom, because it includes both the pods and the seeds. The flavor is more intense but doesn’t have the hot, smoky flavor that black cardamom does.
- Dry mango powder - While completely optional, this adds a sour and fruity flavor to the spice blend.
How to make chana masala powder
Simply combine all of the different spices together for a delicious homemade blend. It comes together in under 10 minutes!
Use this chana masala spice mix in my Vegan Chickpea Curry recipe or another other chickpea-based dishes.
- Toast: Add the whole spices and leaves to a dry pan over low heat, shaking the pan constantly so they don’t burn. This brings out their essential oils and intensifies their flavors.
- Grind: Let the toasted spices to cool completely, or the heat will cause it to form a paste. Then pulse with the remaining spices to make a fine powder.
- Storage - Keep this chana masala spice mix in an airtight container in a cool pantry. Use within 2 months, or the flavor and quality will start to diminish. Storing in the refrigerator may prolong the life of the spices as well.
- More uses - This blend can easily be used on vegetables, potatoes, and bread as well as in other stews.
- Health benefits - Not only is this spice mix delicious, but it also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. It can aid in digestion, contains antioxidants, and many of the spices included have anti-inflammatory properties.
OTHER SPICE BLEND RECIPES
It’s easy to make homemade versions of many popular spice blends, and the flavors are often bolder and more intense.
Chana Masala Powder
- 4 cloves (laung)
- 2 Kashmiri chiles dried red chilis (See Note 1)
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick (3-inch stick) (dal chini or 2 tsp ground cinnamon)
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds (dhania seeds, or 3 ¾ tsp ground coriander)
- 3 tsp cumin seeds (jeera seeds, or 3 ¾ tsp ground cumin)
- 2 tsp dry Fenugreek leaves (Kasturi methi or 1 tsp fenugreek seeds)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 1 tsp black peppercorns (kali mirch dane, or 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper)
- ¼ tsp asafoetida (See Note 2)
- ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- ½ tsp ground cardamom (elaichi powder, or 6 pods ground)
- ½ tsp dry mango powder (amchur, optional)
- ½ tsp salt
- In a sauté pan dry toast the first 9 ingredients on low heat until you can smell their aroma and the seeds start to pop. Shake the pan constantly so as not to burn for 3 minutes.
- Allow spice mixture to cool and then grind with the other ingredients to a powder.
- Store spice mixture in an airtight container for 2 months.
- As a substitute for Kashmiri chiles you may mix cayenne and paprika. The best ratio for this would be 3 parts paprika to 1 part cayenne. I often times also use Guajillo chiles as well.
- A substitute for asafoetida can be ⅛ teaspoon onion powder plus ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.