Chana masala Instant Pot curry has all the flavor of the stove top version but it cooks in under an hour! Make this Punjabi chole masala for a delicious and hearty vegetarian meal!
Generally speaking, curries are very popular in Indian cuisine, but especially chana (chole) curries. The words chana and chole both refer to chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans).
What is Chana Masala?
Chana Masala, also known as Punjabi chole masala, is a popular meatless curry featuring chickpeas in a flavorful, spicy tomato-based gravy.
The dish is very hearty, and also healthy, because chickpeas are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and plant-based protein.
Just like a slow cooking stew, most curries need hours of cook time for the ingredients to mingle and the flavor to develop.
But not when you use a pressure cooker! With chana masala Instant Pot curry, the cook time is significantly less. Even with a natural pressure release, the dish goes from pot to plate in under an hour!
Ingredient notes for chana masala Instant Pot curry
- Chickpeas- You can use canned chickpeas or cook the dried beans . There are instructions for cooking dry chickpeas in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Chili peppers- The variety of chili you use is up to you and your preference for spicy heat. Chana masala isn't typically very spicy; I use serrano peppers, which add flavor without boosting the spicy heat too much.
For additional spiciness, you can include the seeds of the pepper.
- Diced tomatoes- Either canned or fresh Roma tomatoes are fine. If you'll be using fresh, you will first need to blanch them to remove the skins.
How to Blanch Fresh Tomatoes
1. Use a paring knife to cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato (the end opposite of the stem side).
2. Add the tomatoes to a pot of boiling water to cook for 3 minutes, then immediately transfer them to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
3. Starting at the X cut, use a paring knife to peel and remove the skins. Discard the skins and dice the tomatoes.
- Amchur- Also spelled amchoor, this powder is made from dried, unripe mangoes. The flavor is acidic and sour. Most Indian grocers keep it in stock, or you can purchase it online. If you're unable to find it, good substitutes for dry mango powder are lime or lemon juice.
- Seasonings- Using a wide variety of spices is key to a delicious chana masala Instant Pot curry.
Many of the spices in this Instant Pot chole are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, including:
How to pressure cook Punjabi chole masala
Making the meal in an Instant Pot is SO much quicker than making it on a stove top, and it tastes just a good as the slow cooked version.
BEFORE YOU START:
Will you be using dry chickpeas or canned?
How to soak and cook dried chickpeas
Rinse and clean 1 cup dried chickpeas. Cover with water by 2 inches and soak 4 hours or even better, overnight. Then drain, rinse and use in Step 2 of the recipe directions.
Quick Soak Method
Rinse and clean 1 cup dried chickpeas. Cover the chickpeas in a large saucepan with about 2 inches of water.
Bring the water to a boil and cook the chickpeas uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove the cooking pot from the heat and cover with a lid.
Let the beans soak in the hot water for an hour. Then, drain the beans into a colander, rinse and use.
DID YOU KNOW?
Soaking beans, chickpeas and other legumes reduces the amount of phytic acid in them. As a result, they are easier to digest and you'll be less gassy, too!
- Saute/soften the vegetables.
Softening the onion, garlic, and chile peppers serves two purposes; to add flavor and also to preheat the inner cooking pot. This way, it will take less time for the Instant Pot to come to pressure.
- Add remaining ingredients and cook.
If you're using canned chickpeas, manually set the IP to cook on high for 10 minutes.
For soaked dry beans, use the bean/chili setting and cook for 35 minutes.
IMPORTANT: After cooking, allow a natural pressure release, not a quick release.
- Add amchur (dry mango powder) and fenugreek leaves.
After adding the amchur and fenugreek to the pot, change the Instant Pot setting to saute and cook for another 5 minutes. This allows the punjabi chole to reduce and thicken.
Need a vegan masala recipe?
For a vegan option, make this recipe for vegan chickpea curry. It's fantastic!
Chana Masala Instant Pot Curry (Punjabi Chole)
- 1 cup dried chickpeas or canned (See Note 1)
- 3 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil (See Note 2)
- 2 red onions chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger paste
- 3 small Serrano chilies seeded and diced
- 28 oz diced tomatoes (See Note 3)
- 2 tbsp chana masala spice blend (optional, but HIGHLY recommended)
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp fenugreek leaves
- 1 tsp amchur (dried mango powder) (See Note 4)
- Lime wedges
- Chopped cilantro for garnish
- Warm Naan
- Set Instant Pot to Sauté mode and add the oil or ghee. Sauté the red onion, ginger, garlic and green chili. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomato, chana masala spice blend, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, salt and the drained chickpeas with 1 ½ cups water, stir well.
- Cover and set Instant Pot to Bean/Chile mode. Cook for for 35 minutes with vent in sealing position. If using canned chickpeas, cook for 10 minutes. When done, allow a Natural Release, not a Quick Release (the pin should drop within 20 minutes).
- If you prefer a thicker gravy, mash some of the chickpeas to thicken using the back of a spoon or potato masher.
- Add the dried fenugreek leaves and dry mango powder. Change the Instant Pot setting to Sauté mode and let it boil for 5 minutes and reduce.
- Serve with garnish of chopped cilantro, lime wedges and warm naan.
- If using canned chickpeas: You will need two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas for this recipe.
- If using dried chickpeas: Rinse and clean 1 cup dried chickpeas. Cover with water by 2 inches and soak 4 hours, or overnight is best. Drain, rinse and use in Step 2 above.
- If you forgot to soak the beans, use this Quick Soak Method. Rinse and clean 1 cup dried chickpeas. Cover the chickpeas in a large saucepan with about 2 inches of water. On high heat, bring the water to a boil and cook the chickpeas for 5 minutes uncovered. Remove the pot from the heat and cover with a lid. Let the beans soak in the hot water for an hour. Drain the beans into a colander, rinse and then use.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.