What is 'chana' in the Indian dish 'chana masala'?
Chana masala, also known as channay, chole masala, chhole masala, chhole or chholay (plural), is a dish originating from the Indian subcontinent. The main ingredient is a variety of chickpea called 'chana' or 'kala chana' ('black chana'). They are half the diameter of typical chickpeas with a stronger flavour and texture even after being cooked.
'Chole' is the name for the larger and lighter coloured chickpea commonly found in the West. These are known as 'kabuli chana' in Hindi. Chana masala is fairly dry and spicy with a sour citrus note (the flavor usually comes from coriander and onion). 'Chana' are usually replaced by 'chole' in most restaurants, and both versions are widely sold as snack food and street food in the Indian subcontinent.