If you love chicken and chickpeas, you’ll definitely love this chana chicken recipe! This spicy, creamy, and hearty dish is easy to make and any leftovers taste even better the next day. A big serving of this chicken and chickpea curry along with rice and carrot poriyal, now that’s my idea of heaven!
This recipe uses canned chickpeas, so there’s no overnight soaking or pressure cooking required. In about 30 minutes, you can whip up this delicious curry for your family. Serve with rice or roti, and you have yourself a low-effort, super satisfying meal.
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What is chana chicken
Murgh is the Hindi word for chicken. Chickpeas are known as chana in Hindi and chole/cholay in Punjabi.
As the name suggests, chana chicken, also known as murgh cholay, is an Indian chicken and chickpea curry. Traditionally, it is made with dried chickpeas that need to be soaked before using. However, canned chickpeas are a quick alternative to this.
Depending on your preference, you can use bone-in or boneless chicken pieces to make murgh cholay masala.
Why you’ll love this chana chicken recipe
Here’s why you’ve got to try this dish:
- It’s easy to make. This chicken chole recipe doesn’t require any overnight soaking of dried legumes or pressure cooking. It uses canned chickpeas and boneless chicken pieces to make a quick, delicious meal.
- It’s protein-packed. This is a wonderful protein-packed dish that will leave you feeling satiated. Having low-protein meals often leads to hunger pangs and snacking/binging between meals. Enjoy this double protein whammy with chicken and chickpeas for a tasty meal that will keep you satisfied.
- Leftovers taste amazing. Like most Indian curries, any leftover chana chicken masala tastes even better the next day after all the flavors have had a chance to mingle together.
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Ingredients for my murgh cholay recipe
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this murgh chana recipe:
1. Canned chickpeas
This recipe, that serves 2 – 3 people, uses one 15oz (425g) can of chickpeas. When cooking with canned chickpeas, I usually rinse and drain the chickpeas to remove any excess sodium.
Additionally, I also peel the chickpeas before using. Canned chickpeas have a thin outer coating that often comes off during cooking. I prefer to peel the chickpeas for aesthetic reasons, but the outer coating is edible, so you can keep them on if you’re short on time.
To peel the chickpeas, gently squeeze each one between your thumb and index finger, and they slide right out.
2. Boneless chicken
For this recipe, I use cubed boneless chicken breast to keep things lean. Overcooking chicken breast can make it tough and unpleasant. Small pieces of cubed chicken take no more than 10 minutes to cook, so avoid cooking them for longer than necessary.
If you use larger pieces such as drumsticks, add the chicken and give it a 10 – 15 minute head start before adding the chickpeas and cooking for an additional 10 minutes. This way the chicken is cooked through and the chickpeas don’t get mushy.
This curry is thickened with tomato puree, giving the sauce a lovely tomatoey flavor. Tomato, ginger, and garlic are blended up and added to the chana chicken, forming the base of its aromatic curry sauce.
Many Indian curries are thickened using coconut milk, but tomato puree is a healthier option if you’re looking to cut down on fat.
No Indian dish is complete without aromatic spices! This murgh chanay recipe uses whole and ground spices including:
Curry leaves are an important part of South Indian cooking. It provides a subtle flavor and aroma that elevates any dish.
While murgh cholay is a North Indian dish that isn’t typically prepared with curry leaves, I love adding a South Indian touch to the dishes I make I my kitchen. If you don’t have curry leaves at home, you can skip this.
A squeeze of lime at the end can make a big difference! Adding a sharp, acidic element like lime or lemon juice helps to bring out the flavors of the dish.
Step-by-step instructions for making chana chicken
1. Prepare the puree.
Put the garlic, ginger and tomato into a blender. Blend to form a smooth puree.
2. Fry the spices.
Heat oil in a non-stick pot on medium-high before adding cinnamon, cumin, fennel, cardamom, cloves, and asafoetida. Fry for 1 minutes.
3. Brown the onions.
Next, add the onions, chili, and curry leaves. Sauté until onions brown, around 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Add tomato puree and spices.
Add the blended tomato puree along with turmeric and curry powder. Mix well and cook for 1 – 2 minutes before adding water and cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
5. Add chickpeas and chicken.
Then, add the chickpeas, chicken and salt before cooking, covered, for 10 minutes.
6. Finish the chana chicken with a squeeze of lime and garnish with chopped cilantro.
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Pro tips for making the perfect murgh cholay
1. Be patient.
Browned onions form the base of most Indian curries, so be patient and let your onions brown nicely. Add some salt to the onions to draw out moisture and help them brown faster.
2. Avoid overcooking the chickpeas and chicken.
Canned chickpeas are already cooked and ready to eat, so you don’t want to cook them too long. Otherwise, they become mushy. Cubed chicken breast can get tough is overcooked.
To get the perfect chana chicken masala, add the chickpeas and chicken to the curry sauce and cook for just 10 minutes.
3. Add asafoetida to reduce gassiness.
Eating legumes such as chickpeas can cause gassiness. Adding asafoetida, also known as hing, helps to reduce the gas.
How to serve chicken chana
Here are side dishes that you can make to go along with this curry:
How to store leftover chicken chana masala
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through before eating. Leftovers are great with rice, or you can use it as a filling for a hearty sandwich along with fresh tomato and cucumber slices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is chana good for health?
Yes. Rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, chana is highly nutritious and offers various health benefits including improved digestion, lower risk of disease, and weight management.
What is the difference between chana and chole?
Chana and chole both mean chickpeas, but in different languages. Chana is the Hindi word and chole is the Punjabi word for chickpeas.
What is chana masala made of?
Chana masala is a North Indian dish of curried chickpeas made with onions, tomatoes, spices, and herbs. Traditionally, it is made with dried chickpeas that are soaked overnight. However, canned chickpeas can be used instead as a quick and easy alternative.
How do you thicken chickpea masala?
Mash a few chickpeas into the gravy. This is a great way to thicken the gravy and make it creamier as well.
Why does my chana masala taste bitter?
If your curry tastes bitter, this could be because the spices and garlic are burnt. Adding too much fenugreek to the curry can also contribute to its bitterness. Avoid cooking your spices and garlic on high heat and don’t be too heavy-handed with the fenugreek.
How do you remove bitterness from masala?
You can reduce bitterness in your curry by adding a sweet ingredient (sugar, honey, or maple syrup) or an acidic ingredient (lime juice or tamarind paste). These ingredients will help to offset the bitterness in your curry, making its overall taste more pleasant for the palate.
How to make chana masala less spicy?
You can reduce spiciness by adding sugar, lime juice, extra tomatoes or even ketchup to your curry. Add a little, give your curry a taste, and add more if needed.
Can you reheat chana masala?
Most Indian curries can be kept in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. You can reheat a curry in the microwave or on the stove over medium-high flame until the curry heats through.
Chana Chicken Masala
- 1 425g (15oz) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and peeled
- 200g boneless chicken breast, cubed
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 3 cardamom pods
- 2 cloves
- ¼ tsp asafoetida
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 green chilies, chopped
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Salt to taste
- Squeeze of lime
- Put the garlic, ginger and tomato into a blender. Blend to form a smooth puree.
- Heat oil in a non-stick pot on medium-high before adding cinnamon, cumin, fennel, cardamom, cloves, and asafoetida. Fry for 1minutes.
- Next, add the onions, chili, and curry leaves. Sauté until onions brown, around 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the blended tomato puree along with turmeric and curry powder. Mix well and cook for 1 – 2 minutes before adding water and cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
- Then, add the chickpeas, chicken and salt before cooking, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Finish with a squeeze of lime and garnish with cilantro.
This murgh chole is a great choice when you want something tasty and satisfying, but don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. It’s quick and easy to make. Serve with rice or roti, and enjoy any leftovers in a hearty, low-effort sandwich the next day.