In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat oil and add onion. Saute until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and chili and saute until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook until tomatoes are very soft, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
Puree mixture in blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pan and place over medium heat. Add paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and lemon juice. Add chickpeas and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
Cover and simmer until sauce is thick and chickpeas are soft, about 45 minutes. Stir pan about every 10 minutes, adding water as needed to prevent burning. Stir in cilantro, adjust salt as needed and serve with cooked rice, if desired.