Olive Magazine
A chickpea curry with spinach and a red chilli on top

Saag chana masala

Published: March 24, 2021 at 11:03 am
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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
    • + Soaking
  • Easy
  • Serves 4-6 as a side or sharing main

Green and red chillies elevate this spinach and chickpea curry, the perfect veggie Indian side dish from Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express

  • Gluten free
  • Vegan

Make this saag chana masala, then check out our chana masala, saag aloo, saag paneer, chicken saag and more easy curry recipes.


  • 350g dried white chickpeas
  • 3 dried red chillies
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • finely grated to make 2 tbsp ginger
  • 1 green chilli, broken in half
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp amchoor (dried mango) powder
  • 500g baby spinach


  • STEP 1

    Rinse the chickpeas under cold running water in a colander. Tip into a large bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.

  • STEP 2

    Drain the chickpeas, tip into a pan and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil, add the dried chillies, cover and simmer for 1 hour until the chickpeas are soft (depending on the type of chickpeas, this could take up to 2 hours). Drain the chickpeas and chillies, and set aside.

  • STEP 3

    Heat the oil in a deep pan over a medium-high heat and fry the onion for 15 minutes until deep brown. Add the garlic, ginger and green chilli, and stir for 1 minute. Add the cumin, coriander, chilli powder, tomato purée and 500ml of warm water. Return the chickpeas and dried chillies to the pan, along with 1 tsp of fine sea salt.

  • STEP 4

    Simmer the mixture until the liquid has reduced, is thick and clinging to the chickpeas. Add the garam masala and amchoor powder, and continue to cook until the oil rises to the surface and the chickpeas are glistening. Add the spinach, stir and remove from the heat. Season and serve.

*This recipe is gluten-free according to industry standards

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