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Easy Chana Saag Recipe


chana saag

I made this in 20 minutes and that included taking the photos!

It might be simple, but this easy chana saag recipe is amazing!

Hi everyone. My new chana saag recipe is the first in a series I will be writing of recipes that you can make with ingredients you might already have on hand or can easily pick them up.

This chana saag recipe may not be exactly as I would normally make it but I promise, you will get great results. It’s tasty and can be whipped up in less than 20 minutes.

The chana saag can be easily amended to what you have on hand too. Just after the recipe instructions, I have listed ingredient substitutes that will work very well. I used what I have on hand but have tried all the substitutes and know they will work for you.

So think of this simple chana saag recipe as a guide but feel free to use up what you have.

I should point out that I would normally cook this recipe the British Indian Restaurant (BIR) way using my base curry sauce recipe and perhaps about 35ml (1/8 cup) tomato puree. If you have these ingredients on hand, go ahead and use them instead.

Using a base curry sauce, the cooking time will be even faster!

Making chana saag

The fresh ingredients needed for the curry. Red onion could also be used and you could use garlic and ginger paste.

Making chana saag

Infuse the oil with the delicious flavour of the cumin seeds for about 20 seconds.

Making chana saag

Fry the onions until soft, translucent and lightly browned. Add the chillies and ground spices.

I would like to mention here that frozen spinach is an excellent substitute for fresh. In fact some say it is the better option.

Frozen spinach is available at most supermarkets and often comes in cubes. 2 cubes should be enough for this recipe.

Making chana saag

Blend the tomatoes, garlic, ginger and half the spinach to a paste.

Making chana saag

Once the onions are light brown, add the tomato and spinach paste.

Making chana saag

Reduce the sauce down by about one third and then add the chickpeas and remaining spinach.

making chana saag

Cook the spinach until it wilts into the sauce. Then reduce the sauce down until you are happy with the consistency.

Be sure to read my ingredient substitutes below this chana saag recipe!

Looking for another easy recipe using ingredients you might already have on hand? Try my new cumin chicken curry!

Prep Time
5 minutes

Cook Time
15 minutes

Total Time
20 minutes


  • 2 tbsp ghee or rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 onion – finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic – smashed
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger – roughly chopped
  • 400ml tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 – 3 green bird’s eye chillies – finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 400g tin of chickpeas (garbonzo beans)
  • 3 handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves – roughly chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro) finely chopped


  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer.
  2. Stir in the cumin seeds and let their flavour infuse into the oil for about 20 seconds.
  3. Add the chopped onion and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time until soft and translucent.
  4. While the onion is frying, place the tomatoes, garlic, ginger and half the spinach in a food blender and blend to a smooth paste. Set aside.
  5. When your onions are soft and lightly browned, stir in the chopped chillies and all the ground spices except for the garam masala.
  6. Stir the spices and chillies into the fried onions and fry for about 30 seconds. Then add the blended tomato mixture.
  7. Let this simmer for about five minutes or until it has reduced by about half and is quite thick.
  8. Add the chickpeas and the remaining spinach and cover the pan. The spinach will cook down as it releases moisture into the pan. Stir occasionally.
  9. To finish, season with salt to taste. Sprinkle with the garam masala and garnish with the chopped coriander.

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The main idea behind this chana saag recipe was to offer you a curry recipe that tastes amazing using ingredient you have on hand. Following are a few ideas for ingredient substitutes. All work really well.

Fresh Spinach: You can use frozen spinach with equally good results.
Chickpeas (garbonzo beans: Use another bean such as tinned kidney beans or black eyed beans.
Tinned (canned) tomatoes: You can substitute about 4 medium tomatoes.
Garlic and ginger: If you have garlic and ginger paste on hand, that works just as well.
Fresh chillies: Deliciously spicy but not required. You could use more chilli powder to taste or omit completely.
Curry Powder: You could also use more garam masala. Curry Powder usually has chilli powder and turmeric in it, so a good curry powder will work if you don’t have the turmeric and/or chilli powder on hand.

chana saag

This is a delicious and easy recipe to serve 2 to 3 with a healthy meal.


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