Here is my EASY 10-minute recipe for homemade Chana Masala Spice Blend with authentic warm flavors and earthy aromas. This simple recipe will help you bring the flavors of the restaurant-favorite Chana Masala to your kitchen.
This recipe originally published on March 2016, has been updated with new photos, videos, and a step-by-step recipe. I have also modified the recipe slightly to use less amchur and more black peppercorns.
This homemade chana masala spice blend is a must for the restaurant-style chana masala recipe. Although there are many variations of this powder, this one uses basic spices that you may already have in your pantry. The masala powder has a perfect balance of seasoning along with the spicy and tangy flavors of chana masala. The best part is that you can make this spice mix ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Ingredients For Homemade Chana Masala Spice Mix
Here are the spices I use to make aromatic chana masala spice mix. You may also enjoy my Essential Indian Spices Guide for more detailed information on each of these spices:
- Dried Whole Chilies - I use Kashmiri chilies that add a brilliant orange hue and smokey flavors to the curries without adding too much heat. You can also add 1 to 2 tablespoons of mild ground red chili powder instead of whole chilies
- Coriander seeds - Adds earthy textures and robust flavor to the curry.
- Cumin seeds - An essential ingredient in Indian cooking, cumin adds nutty, warm flavors and dimension.
- Green cardamom pods - I always add the whole pods as the outer skin is aromatic and adds flavors. Once roasted the whole pods can be ground to make a fine powder along with other spices
- Cinnamon/Cassia Bark - Adds earthy flavors to curries and is essential in making spice blends. Just remember to break the cinnamon stick into small pieces so they are easy to roast and grind. I simply crush them a few times using mortar and pestle so they break into smaller pieces.
- Black peppercorns - Adds heat and warmth to the dish, fresh whole peppercorns also have a lot more flavor than pre-ground pepper powder
- Whole cloves - cloves add a sweet yet intense aroma and warm flavor
- Ground Turmeric - turmeric is a bright, healing spice that adds a peppery-woody taste and a deep golden color to curries.
- Amchur powder - Dry mango powder available in Indian grocery stores adds tangy flavors to the curry. Don't have Amchur powder? Use fresh lemon juice instead, Simply add it to the curry once it is done cooking.
How to Make Chana Masala Spice Mix
- Lightly roast all spices (except amchur and turmeric powder) in a pan until they are fragrant and hot to the touch, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir frequently and make sure not to burn by roasting too long. The goal is to make them a bit toasty so they are easy to grind. Take out the roasted spices in a dish and allow them to cool down completely.
- Add the spices to a spice grinder and make a fine powder. Add amchur powder and turmeric powder and pulse 2 to 3 times or until mixed well.
Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight for up to 6 months.
How to Use Chana Masala Spice
In addition to adding the spice mix to chana masala, you can also use it in other Indian curries, stir-fries, and lentils for enhanced flavors and aroma. Simply add one to two teaspoons and adjust as per taste. You can also use the spice mix to marinate chicken, seafood, or fish. We also love to sprinkle some on Popcorn for a spicy tangy kick.
- Use ground cumin in place of whole cumin
- Use 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon instead of one 3-inch stick
- Don't have Amchur Powder? Add freshly squeezed lemon juice to the cooked chana masala curry.
More Indian Spice Blend Recipes
If you enjoy cooking, you have to try making homemade spice blends that will elevate the flavors of any dish you make. You will be blown away by the taste and quality if you compare them to store-bought spices. From my easy 5-ingredient garam masala to the Mom's Garam Masala recipe, learn more about different spices and spice mixes in this cooking 101 guide.
Chana Masala Spice Blend
- 6 to 8 whole dried Kashmiri chiles use less if using a hotter variety of chilies
- 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 3 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 6 whole green cardamom pods
- 1 3-inch cinnamon sticks broken into smaller pieces
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 10 cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 teaspoons amchur powder
- Lightly roast all spices (except amchur and turmeric powder) in a pan until they are fragrant and hot to the touch, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir frequently and make sure not to burn by roasting too long. The goal is to make them a bit toasty so they are easy to grind.
- Take out the roasted spices in a dish and allow them to cool down completely.
- Add the spices to a spice grinder and make a fine powder. Add amchur powder and turmeric powder and pulse 2 to 3 times or until mixed well. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.
- If you do not have amchur powder, you can simply skip it and instead squeeze the fresh lemon juice into the chana masala once it is done cooking.
- Ground cumin can be used instead of whole cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon can be used instead of cinnamon stick
- This recipe makes about 4 oz or half a cup of chana masala spice blend