Instant Pot: Chana Masala Made with Our Punjabi Masala

June 26, 2024

Instant Pot: Chana Masala Made with Our Punjabi Masala


This Chana Masala was made with two key short cuts - the Instant Pot and our jarred curry starter - Punjabi Masala. Why use my premade sauce when you can  cook from scratch? Well, believe it or not, there are days when even I can't find the time to grate and grind down the onion-ginger-garlic. Typically in an Indian household we make a large batch of this blend and keep it in the fridge and freezer to dole out like a soup stock. I've just created a shelf-stable version that now anyone can grab and even on crazy weeknights can whip up a batch of Chana Masala and dozens of other dishes. You'll also feel good knowing that we've kept the ingredients in our Punjabi Masala simple, natural, and wholesome. It's stored in a glass jar rather than metal or plastic. Remember, the term Chana Masala is slightly confusing. It's the name of the curried chickpea dish you order from your favorite Indian restaurant (pictured above) and it's the name of the spice blend used specifically for this dish. My Chana Masala blend is made slightly tart with dried pomegranate seeds and green mango powder just like my grandmother made. Despite the shortcuts - please note there were no shortcuts on taste. You will be very happy with the results. 

Instant Pot: Chana Masala Made with Our Punjabi Masala 

Pressure Cooker Size: 3 quart or larger
Warm-Up: 13 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Cool Down: 10 minutes natural release + manual release
TOTAL: soak + 1 hour 3 minutes + manual release time 
Makes: 6 cups

2 cups kabuli chana (dried white chickpeas), picked over and washed
1 tablespoon ghee or oil
1 pinch hing (asafoetida) (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 small tomato, pureed
1 tablespoon unsalted tomato paste
1 - 4 Thai, Serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and minced
1/2 cup Punjabi masala 
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1-2 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 chickpeas in boiling, hot water for at least 1 hour or in room temperature water at least 6 hours to overnight. Drain and discard the water. 

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 ghee or 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. Press CANCEL. 

3. Carefully add the tomato, tomato paste, fresh chiles, Punjabi masala, garam masala, coriander, red chile, chana masala, salt, chickpeas, and cooking water in that order. Moisture from the tomato can make the hot oil splatter. Stir and break down the tomato paste with the back of your spoon or spatula. 

4. 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 40 minutes.

5. Once the cooking is complete, release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Then, manually release the remaining pressure, press CANCEL, and remove the lid. Garnish with cilantro and serve over basmati rice or with Indian bread like roti or naan. All the spices are edible. If you want to thicken it up a bit, break down a few of the chickpeas with the back of a spoon or blend a bit with an immersion blender.

There are so many ways to cook every dish, and I love giving you all sorts of options. For chana masala made from our sauce on the stovetop click here, or for an Instant Pot version from scratch click here. The reason I don't typically embed my recipes within each other is because in order to get optimal results it often takes a slightly different set of instructions and if I stacked them together it would get confusing. If you are near a retailer in the Midwest that offers Indian As Apple Pie on their shelves grab a jar of our Punjabi Masala. If not, order from our website. And, if your favorite grocer does not know about Indian As Apple Pie yet, how about telling them about us? We'd appreciate it!  

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