This is a simple recipe for a popular Indian spiced chickpea curry called Chana Masala. This hearty and delicious curry is made with chickpeas or garbanzo beans, which are rich in iron, protein and are naturally vegan & gluten-free. Enjoy it over aromatic basmati rice, or pair with Naan.
How to Cook Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans?
When I can plan ahead, I prefer to cook dried chickpeas or garbanzo beans. They turn out creamier than the canned chickpeas.
I soak them overnight, rinse them and pressure cook with the seasoning for 35 minutes, in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot.
The same process can be followed in any other pressure cooker too.
Cooking Chickpeas Separately
If you want to cook them separately and add the seasoning later, you can follow this easy recipe to cook chickpeas in 15 minutes.
How to Make this Chana Masala Recipe in under 30 minutes
By using canned Chickpeas, you can reduce the total cooking time to less than half for this channa masala recipe.
I simply rinse out the canned chickpeas and add them to the pot as per instructions, and pressure cook everything for 5-6 minutes.
Once the cooking is done, I wait 10 minutes before releasing the pressure manually.
Chana Masala in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
Cooking legumes and beans is a breeze in Instant Pot, or any electric pressure cooker. It’s an easy method, that is mostly hands-off, which means the chickpea curry practically cooks itself.
Pressure cooking method reduces the cook time considerably, which is always a big plus.
If I were to cook them in a pan over the stove, I would end up cooking them for around 50 mins-1 hour, to get a similar consistency. Plus, I would have to stir the pan every now and then.
Here’s how I cook this Easy Chana Masala Recipe in Instant Pot:
✓ I soak dried chickpeas in water overnight, or, for about 8-10 hours.
✓ Heat oil on saute mode (high).
✓ Add cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle
✓ Next, add onions, crushed ginger and garlic, tomatoes and saute for 1 minute.
✓ The garam masala and other spices go in next. If you don’t have all the spices listed below, you can find ready-made chana masala powder in many stores.
✓ Add the strained chickpeas and water. Close the lid and pressure cook for 35 mins.
✓ Let pressure release naturally and open lid after the pin drops.
✓ Using a potato masher, mash a few beans. This makes the Chana Masala creamier.
✓ Squeeze fresh lemon juice, about a teaspoon. Stir in roasted cumin powder and chopped cilantro. Serve warm with naan or Jeera rice.
What is the Difference Between Punjabi Chole and Chana Masala?
These days, I often find, that Indian food restaurants use both these names interchangeably, but in my opinion, there is a difference in taste and spices used for these two dishes.
Of course, like any classic recipe, there are a zillion variations of this dish.
Here are the differences between these two chickpea recipes based on how I’ve seen it being cooked in my family:
Punjabi Chole/ Punjabi Chana Masala/ Chole / Chole Masala is referred to a popular street-food style preparation of Indian chickpea curry. It is more spicy and tangy than Chana Masala.
You can find some of the most authentic Punjabi Chole preparations in and around Punjab and New Delhi.
It’s distinguishing factor is a dark-brown curry or gravy, and a slight tangy flavor, both of which are a result of cooking Chole (chickpeas) with a combination of dry-mango powder (amchur) and dry pomegranate seeds powder (anardana powder).
I also add a tea-bag while cooking Chole, to enhance that dark color.
I don’t add any turmeric to Punjabi Chole, and add very little tomato.
Click here for PUNJABI CHOLE RECIPE.
Authentic Chana Masala or chickpea masala on the other hand, is a tomato-onion rich gravy, with an iconic reddish-orange curry sauce.
I get that color by adding turmeric, Kashmiri red-chili powder (similar to paprika), and tomato puree, as detailed in the chana masala recipe card below.
The tomatoes form a foundation for this curry and give it a slightly sweet taste. That contrasts perfectly with the earthy spices.
That being said, both these chickpea curries are awesome, so no matter which one you make, you can’t go wrong!
More Instant Pot INDIAN VEGETARIAN RECIPES like this:
I have several more Indian recipes on this blog, including these vegetarian recipes, all of which are gluten-free:
★ Have you tried this recipe? Click on the stars ★ in the recipe card to let us know your feedback!
Instant Pot Chana Masala
- 1 cup dried chickpeas rinsed and soaked in 4 cups water, for 8-10 hours
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon crushed ginger 1 inch ginger
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 green chillies for mild spice, de-seed and remove ribs
- 2 roma tomato Deseeded and finely chopped, or pureed
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon garam masala adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel powder (optional) adds flavor and for easy digestion
- 2 cups water add more depending on your consistency preference
Soak Dried Chickpeas or Use Canned
- Rinse and soak dried chickpeas or garbanzo beans in about 4 cups of water, overnight, or at least 8-10 hours.
- Strain and rinse them once again before cooking. Alternatively, use canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans. Rinse well and strain them.
- Heat ghee/oil on SAUTE (high) in the instant pot, about 30 seconds, add cumin seeds.
- When cumin begins to splutter, add onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies, tomato and saute for a minute.
- Add spices, chickpeas and water. Close the lid, vent set to 'sealing', and pressure cook for 35 minutes at Bean or Manual mode. The time variation depends on how soft you like your chickpeas to be. If you're using canned chickpeas, reduce the cooking time to 5-6 minutes.
- Wait for the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Carefully release the remaining pressure and open the lid after the pin drops.
- Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, mash a few beans. This makes the curry creamy and thick.
- Garnish with cilantro and roasted cumin powder. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice. Serve with Puri, Naan, or Jeera Basmati rice!