Chana Masala & Coconut Rice

Chana is the Indian word for chickpeas (or garbanzo beans). This dish is probably one of the most popular menu items at Indian restaurants and it's almost always on the lunchtime buffets. It's pretty easy to make... once again I remind you that Indian food cooking is all in the spices. If you have the right ingredients, you can create many flavorful dishes!

For this recipe I am sharing with you an accompanying coconut rice made with white Basmati. I almost never use white rice anymore since it has practically zero nutrients, but once in a while I like the traditional taste of Indian rice which I find I can't achieve with brown rice. But you are certainly welcome to use any kind of rice you like! The recipe will work the same way.


  • 3 cans garbanzo beans
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala spice
  • 1-2 tsp red curry paste, depending on how hot you like it (see notes)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped (or ½ c tomato paste + 1 cup water)
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste (find in health food stores or online)
  • Handful of dried currants or raisins

  1. In a large pan, water saute the onion until tender. 
  2. Add the garam masala, ginger and red curry paste, stir and cook a few minutes until heated through.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and cook a few more minutes, until everything is incorporated. Add a little water if needed.


  • 2 cups Basmati rice (brown is best)
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 clove buds
  • ¼ cup dried, shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  1. Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover.
  2. Leave it alone until all the water has been absorbed by the rice. Don’t stir! The less you fuss with it the better. I usually just push the rice aside gently to see if there is any water still on the bottom of the pot.
  3. When the rice is done, add the coconut and fluff with a fork.

Helyn's Notes: If you live anywhere near an Asian market you can find prepared curry pastes. I like the brand pictured above. It does contain salt which I'm not excited about as an added ingredient but for the small amount needed in a recipe, I find this is the best way to go. I have made my own curry pastes before. It's a lot of work! There are so many different flavors of curries available in this brand, from Panang Curry to Green Curry, that I just find it easier. You can also find it online.

Serves 4. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

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