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  • Writer's pictureAvni R.

Creamy Chana

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

I just realized that I’ve not put up any Indian recipes except for Papdi Nu Lot, which was when I first started this page! **Oops** 

So here we are, finally! I visited home (NC) last month and while staying with my best friend of 27 years, who’s mom (basically my 2nd mom) is the most amazing cook EVER, made this Chana Nu Shaak that I easily inhaled. I couldn’t stop talking about it! It was soo good! On top of it all, she made it without onion and garlic - umm, WHAT?!! I would’ve never known had she not told me. I never knew something could be so tasty without the two ingredients I depend on so frequently! And although she made it without garlic, I decided to add it in there anyway but left out the onion so I’d have a nice, smooth gravy. Yes, I know I could blend the onion into a paste as well but I was feelin’ lazy. AND - I knew that if she could make it so delicious without onions, I had to try as well! It definitely was! 

So even though my version of Mina Auntie’s Chana contains garlic, you can leave it out and it’ll still taste just fine! You won’t even know it’s missing - all the other spices make up for it! Also, if you’re vegan, just replace the ghee with oil and sub coconut cream in place of the heavy cream. Hope you guys enjoy it!


Creamy Chana


  • 1 cup chickpeas, uncooked OR 2 cans of chickpeas, drained

  • 1 tbsp ghee (sub oil if vegan)

  • 2 tbsp oil

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 cloves

  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (omit for Jain/Swaminarayan diets)

  • 1 tbsp minced ginger

  • 3 tomatoes, puréed or 1 can tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup cashew powder**

  • 1 tsp red chili powder1 tbsp Kashmiri chili or paprika (for color)

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp cumin powder

  • 1 tsp coriander powder

  • 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp salt (adjust to taste)

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut cream (if vegan)

  • 1/4 tsp garam masala

(**For the cashew powder - I just crushed about 2 tbsp of raw, unsalted, whole cashews in a mortar and pestle and sifted it through a sieve. You can also blend it into a powder).


1. Soak chickpeas for at least 4 hours or overnight, then pressure cook with 1/4 tsp salt in Instant Pot for 35 minutes or if using a pressure cooker, for 3 whistles. If using chickpeas that have not been pre-soaked then just up that IP time to an hour or 7-9 whistles if using a regular cooker, (will have to open and check). Let pressure naturally release. Drain chickpeas and set aside.

2. In a large pot, on medium heat, add the ghee and oil. Once hot, add the bay leaves, cloves, and cumin seeds. Sauté until cumin is golden brown, about 2 minutes, then add garlic & ginger. Sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add tomato purée, cashew powder, red chili, Kashmiri chili, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, 1 tsp salt, plus half cup of water and stir well. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a cracked open lid (so some of the water can burn out) and simmer for about 5 minutes.

3. Next, toss in chickpeas and mix thoroughly. Add more water if needed, close lid again and simmer on low for about 8-10 minutes - the oil should separate.

4. Lastly, add heavy cream and garam masala. Stir and continue to simmer on low for another 5-7 minutes. Add water again as needed, the chickpeas absorb it rather quickly! Also, it makes for a smoother gravy as the tomato is a little gritty. I probably ended up using about a total of 1-1.5 cups of water throughout the simmering process.

5. Taste to make any adjustments as needed, and garnish with fresh cilantro! Voila - all done! Serve with either rice or bhatura! Enjoy!


Thanks again for visiting my page! Please tag me (@thecurriedcook) when recreating my recipes.

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