A Chana Masala Inspired Recipe: Savory Chickpeas and Coconut Milk, Yum

It’s moving week! We’re moving out of the building that we’ve lived in for the last four years. And, in an effort to move as easily as possible, I’ve challenged myself to cook with only the ingredients I have buried in my cabinets. That means, NO food shopping. In digging through my pantry, I discovered I almost had enough ingredients to make one my favorite Indian dishes, Chana Masala. There is nothing quite like all the flavors that come together in the classic Indian dish. The chickpeas, savory spices, and tomatoes are everything my palate jumps for. Well, as I got to cooking, I realized I had about half of what I needed and would have to improvise the rest. So that’s exactly what I did.

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How do you make chana masala?

Chana Masala is a classic Indian dish made with chickpeas, tomatoes, a ton of savory whole Indian spices, onion, and garlic. The perfect pairing with this dish would be basmati rice, naan, or it can honestly be enjoyed by on its own. Now, since I didn’t have any of the aforementioned ingredients (basmati rice or naan), I chose to pair it with cous cous (I’m sticking very hard to my challenge of only using ingredients I have). The couscous worked perfectly as it added the perfect balance of starch and soaked up all the saucy goodness.

Traditionally, chana masala doesn’t have spinach in it, but since I had a whole bag of spinach that would be expiring any day, I threw a ton in there. And, as for the coconut milk, I didn’t have tomatoes at hand, so I mixed coconut milk and Thai red chili paste to make a creamy sauce.

Related Posts: Butternut Squash Soup , Cauliflower Tikka Masala, Shakshuka Recipe

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I can’t wait to hear what you think about this dish! When you make it, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@krispxkristin).

chana masala recipe

Chana Masala Inspired Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This chana masala inspired recipe is dripping in savory Indian spices along with coconut milk and a ton of spinach. The perfect comfort meal.


  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp of salt, more for taste
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric 
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes (optional to add more)
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/8 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp Thai red chili paste
  • 1/2  cup of coconut milk
  • 1 12oz can of chickpeas, drained 
  • 2 cups of spinach 
  • 1 lime


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet (around 12inches in diameter)
  2. Add your shallot and garlic and cook on low for about 2 minutes. Watch carefully so the garlic doesn't burn. Add a pinch of salt to let the shallots sweat.
  3. Add all your spices and let simmer for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add your Thai red chili paste and mix together until it's all coated with your spice mixture.
  5. Add the coconut milk and simmer.
  6. Add the drained chickpeas and cool for about 20 minutes.
  7. Once the chickpeas are softened, add your spinach until it cooks down and is wilted. Taste and determine if it needs more salt.
  8. Squeeze 1/4 lime juice and mix together.
  9. Serve with basmati rice, naan, or couscous.


This recipe will serve about 2 people, double to make for 4.

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