My authentic Instant Pot Chana Masala Recipe takes just 45 minutes! This hearty chickpea curry is seasoned with an iconic blend of warm, earthy, and spicy Indian seasonings. Serve with fresh limes and warm, soft naan to scoop up every last bit.
Chana masala is a spicy, earthy chickpea curry. It’s a great vegetarian dish that is also very filling, flavorful, and full of healthy herbs and spices that are iconic in Indian cuisine.
Also commonly known as Punjabi chole, chole being the Punjabi word for chickpeas, this dish has its roots in Northern India. Now this Indian comfort food has spread all around the world, and those who love its uniquely savory, and spicy flavors are always looking for ways to enjoy it on a regular basis. That’s how I came up with a chana masala Instant Pot recipe!
It’s entirely possible to make an authentic punjabi chole recipe right in your pressure cooker. With pre-mixed, homemade spice blends and canned ingredients, it can be made even faster! I recommend having my Chana Masala and Garam Masala spice blends on standby to make this chana masala recipe that much faster and easier to prepare.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Ghee - This is a clarified, skimmed milk butter. If difficult to find, you can use vegetable oil instead.
- Red Onion - A sweet, crisp onion. Yellow or white onions are appropriate substitutes.
- Garlic - A couple of minced cloves add a sharp flavor that becomes almost nutty when cooked.
- Ginger Paste - A staple ingredient in Indian cuisine that adds a spicy sweetness. Use fresh whenever possible!
- Diced Tomatoes - You can use either canned or fresh.
- Chana Masala Powder - A perfect pairing for all of your favorite chickpea dishes, I use my own curated spice blend in this chana masala recipe.
- Cumin - This earthy spice adds a subtle, citrus-like sweetness. Coriander would make a good substitute.
- Turmeric - A bitter, peppery spice. If you dislike its flavor, paprika is a milder alternative.
- Garam Masala Seasoning - This is an incredibly common, flavorful Indian spice blend that’s far more flavorful (and cost effective) to make at home!
- Chickpeas - Either dried or canned — cooking time will vary. You’ll need to add an additional 25 minutes of cooking time if using dried.
- For Serving - Have a couple of lime wedges, some chopped cilantro, or fresh naan to serve alongside your Instant Pot chana masala.
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.
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!
HOW TO MAKE MY CHANA MASALA RECIPE
- Sauté Onions, Garlic, & Chiles. With your Instant Pot on Sauté, add the ghee and cook the red onions, ginger, garlic, and serrano chiles. It’ll take about 5 minutes for the onion to become translucent and the garlic to become aromatic.
- Add Remaining Ingredients. Throw in the tomatoes, chana masala spices, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, salt, chickpeas, and water. Mix everything together and cover.
- Cook. Set the Instant Pot to its Bean/Chili setting and cook with the vent in the Sealing position. Cook time varies: for dried and soaked chickpeas, cook for 35 minutes. For canned chickpeas, cook for 10.
- Release the Pressure. Do a Natural Release for 20 minutes after cooking, followed by a quick release, before removing the lid.
- Serve & Enjoy! For a thicker gravy, mash some of the chickpeas. Otherwise, top with the chopped cilantro and it’s done! Serve with fresh naan and limes.
What is chana masala spice made of?
The spices used in chickpea curry vary from recipe to recipe. In this punjabi chole recipe, I use my personal Chana Masala Powder blend, which includes cloves, dried red chilies, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, Fenugreek, asafoetida, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and mango powder.
It’s a well-balanced, carefully curated blend of sweet, spicy, sour, and savory. A must-have for chickpea dinners!
How do you reheat Instant Pot chana masala?
The best way to reheat any leftovers is on your stovetop. Use a medium heat and simmer to allow the chickpeas to become soft. Alternatively, cover and reheat in the microwave in short bursts.
Is chole and chana masala the same?
Chole is simply the Punjabi word for chickpeas. Chana is the Hindi word for chickpeas.
Masala, on the other hand, is the Hindi word to describe a mixture of various spices. When used to name a dish, it’s describing a spiced gravy flavored with some kind of Indian spice blend.
How long does it take to make chana masala in an Instant Pot?
It takes just 45 minutes to prepare an authentic, traditional chana masala recipe in your pressure cooker: 15 minutes to cook, and 30 minutes of pressure build and release time. All of these ingredients can easily be bought canned or prepared beforehand, saving you plenty of time.
This post, originally published on Silk Road Recipes July, 2020, was updated with new content, photos and/or video in May, 2022.
Instant Pot Chana Masala Recipe
- 3 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
- 2 medium red onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon fresh ginger paste
- 3 small Serrano chilies or other fresh green chile, seeded and diced
- 28 oz diced tomatoes canned or fresh (See Note 2)
- 2 tablespoon chana masala powder (See Note 3)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning optional
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup dried chickpeas or canned (See Note 1)
- 1 ½ cups water
- lime wedges
- chopped cilantro
- naan or other flatbread of choice
- Set Instant Pot to Sauté mode and add ghee/oil. Sauté the red onion, ginger, garlic and green chile. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, chana masala spice blend, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, salt, drained chickpeas and 1 ½ cups water, stir well.
- Cover and set Instant Pot to Bean/Chili mode. Cook with vent in sealing position for for 35 minutes for soaked chickpeas, or 10 minutes for canned.When done, allow a Natural Release of pressure for 20 minutes before quick releasing any remaining pressure. Remove pressure cooker lid.
- If you prefer a thicker gravy, use back of a spoon or potato masher to mash some of the chickpeas to thicken the curry.
- Add dried fenugreek leaves and dry mango powder. Change the Instant Pot setting to Sauté mode and let mixture boil for 5 minutes to reduce.
- Serve with garnish of chopped cilantro, lime wedges and warm naan.
- Chickpea options
- Canned chickpeas: You will need two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas for this recipe.
- Dried chickpeas (soaked): Rinse 1 cup dried chickpeas in sieve under tap water.
Place chickpeas in a bowl and cover with 3 cups water. Soak for 4 hours (minimum) or up to overnight. Drain, rinse and proceed with Step 2 of instructions, above.
- Dried chickpeas (quick soak method): Rinse 1 cup dried chickpeas in sieve under tap water. Place 1 cup dried chickpeas in the Instant Pot with 3 cups water. Cook at high pressure for 2 minutes, followed by a 10 minute natural pressure release. Release any remaining pressure and remove lid. Drain and rinse the beans in a colander, and proceed with Step 2 of instructions, above.
- If using fresh Roma tomatoes, removing skins is optional. To remove the tomato skins, cut a small X on the opposite end of the stem side. Drop tomatoes in boiling water for 3 minutes, then transfer to ice water bath to stop the cooking. Using a paring knife, peel back the skin from the X cut, discard the skins and dice the tomatoes.
*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.