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How do you turn white chickpeas into black chickpeas?

Chick peas are cooked in dozen of ways in India but this is one of my favourite recipes to make channa with chai. In this recipe, tea is added to change the colour of white chickpeas into black. Whenever I am cooking, I always think about how a particular recipe came into being but this one always makes me wonder more than others: Why did someone think to add tea to the chick pea? Were they trying to get a different colour or were they trying to get a different taste? I guess we’ll never know but I really like this recipe for making channa masala with chai. I sort of created this recipe on my own (apart from the addition of the tea) few years ago.

First time I made channa in this style was when my best friend who was visiting me in Seattle. She really liked it so I started making the channa masala with chai whenever she would visit. Now that we live oceans apart, I think of her whenever I make this dish. I hope you will give it a try.

Go on now and make it!

Recipe for making channa w chai
Channa with chapatti

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Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories/Serving 193kcal


  • 1 cup white chickpeas
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 teabags black tea / 2 tbsp loose tea chai
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves
  • 2-3 tbsp. ghee clarified butter or cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 2-3 small dried red chillies
  • 4 small onions 1-2 inch in diameter, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 inch ginger peeled and sliced lengthwise in narrow slivers
  • 2 fresh green chillies sliced length wise
  • 1/2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tbsp mango powder amchoor
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder optional
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves chopped


  • Wash and soak the chickpeas in water overnight; just before cooking, drain the water.
  • Bring the 5 cups of water to boil and add the tea; simmer for about 7-8 minutes until the water turns black. Remove the tea bags strain the tea if using loose tea.
  • Add the chick peas, black tea, garlic and salt to the pressure cooker on high heat. After the first pressure (whistle), turn the heat to low.
  • Cook the chickpeas for about 40-45 minutes. Once the pressure cooker cools down, remove the lid.
  • Simultaneously, in a separate pan, heat the ghee (oil). Once the oil is hot, add the black cardamom, cloves, bay leaves and dried red chillies. About 10-15 seconds later, add the cumin seeds.
  • As soon as the seeds start to sputter, add the sliced onions. Turn the heat to low and saute' the onions until they turn golden brown and translucent (see the main picture); in about 15-20 minutes.
  • Halfway through cooking the onions, add the ginger and green chillies.
  • Once the onions are cooked, add the garam masala, mango powder and red chilli powder. Cook for another 2-3minutes.
  • Mix the chickpeas with the onions mixture and add the coriander. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve with chapattis, paranthas or naan. Enjoy!


You can reduce the amount of spices if you want to reduce the heat
Tried this recipe?Mention @Incredible.kitchen or tag #myincrediblekitchen!



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Channa Masala Served with Chapatis

6 Replies to “Channa Masala w Chai”

  1. 5 stars
    I tried your recipe and it results in a beautiful dish which everyone in my family loved it even my kids which are difficult eaters!!

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