Instant Pot: Chana Masala or Curried Chickpeas

August 04, 2020 2 Comments

Instant Pot: Chana Masala or Curried Chickpeas - Indian As Apple Pie

Chana Masala is a classic. And now, my recipe from page 85 of The Indian Slow Cooker, is perfectly modified for the electric pressure cooker ahead of the release of my new book, Instant Pot Indian (available for preorder soon and out in April 2023). It took a few tries and I want to thank my recipe testers that provided feedback. It seems the original recipe was just a touch too brothy. So, I pulled back the water and I can't even tell you how much more I love this recipe. Try it and let me know what you think! Feeling a little overwhelmed? Check out my notes in Step 3 - you can literally substitute the turmeric, onion, ginger, and garlic, for one jar of our Punjabi Masala for perfect Chana Masala every time. 

Desi Corner: Chana Masala is slightly confusing. It's the name of the curried chickpea dish you order from your favorite Indian restaurant. It's also the name of the spice blend we use specifically for this dish. My Chana Masala spice blend is made slightly tart with dried pomegranate seeds and green mango powder. The instructions on how to make your own are in my books. You can also use any brand you have on hand. The key to Chana Masala? It has tart ingredients like dried mango powder and dried pomegranate seeds. If you don't have it, but still want to make this recipe? No problem. Add an extra teaspoon of garam masala and/or also add a teaspoon or two of dried mango powder (amchur powder)

Instant Pot Chana Masala, Curried Chickpeas

Pressure Cooker Size: 3 quart or larger
Warm-Up: 13 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Cool Down: 10 minutes NR + MR
TOTAL: soak + 53 minutes
Makes: 6 cups

2 cups kabuli chana (dried white chickpeas), picked over and washed
1 tablespoon oil or ghee
1 pinch hing (asafoetida) (optional)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 small yellow or red onion, minced
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 4 Thai, Serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and minced
1 small tomato, pureed
1 tablespoon unsalted tomato paste
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons red chile powder or cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chana masala
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups water, for cooking
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. Soak the chana in boiling water for at least 1 hour or in room temperature water at least 6 hours to overnight. 

2. Place the inner cooking pot in your Instant Pot. Select the SAUTE setting and adjust to MORE. When the indicator flashes HOT, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the hing and cumin. Stir and cook for 40 seconds until the seeds turn reddish-brown. Because the oil pools to the sides, push the spices into the oil along the border of the pot so they can cook fully.

3. Add the turmeric. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the ginger and garlic and stir and cook for 1 minute. Eliminate this step entirely with our PUNJABI MASALA. Just add the contents of one jar and follow the remaining instructions. 

4. Add the fresh chiles and cook for 1 minute. 

5. Press CANCEL. Add the tomato, tomato paste, garam masala, coriander, red chile, chana masala, salt, drained chana, and cooking water. Stir.  

6. Lock the lid into place and make sure the pressure release valve is set to the sealing position (upwards). Press the PRESSURE COOK button and then press the PRESSURE LEVEL button until the panel reads HIGH. Adjust the cook time to 30 minutes. 

7. Once the cooking is complete, release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Then, manually release the remaining pressure.  

8. Add the cilantro and serve over basmati rice or with Indian bread like roti or naan. If you want to thicken this up, break down a few of the chickpeas with the back of a spoon or blend a bit with an immersion blender. 







2 Responses


July 21, 2022

Becky … I agree! And because I was writing about it I had to eat it for breakfast at 10 this morning! Almost embarrassed to write this, but honestly super proud it was THAT good! LoL!

Becky Rajhansa
Becky Rajhansa

July 21, 2022

One of my favorites!

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