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Image of a white bowl filled with fully cooked and prepared chana masala garnished with cilantro.
4.93 from 14 votes

Instant Pot Chana Masala Recipe

Chana Masala is a popular Indian dish made with raw chickpeas that are soaked overnight then and cooked in a flavorful and delicious combination of onions, tomatoes, and spices. Gluten-free and vegetarian, we're saving time and making this chana masala recipe in the Instant Pot.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Soaking time for dried chickpeas10 hrs
Total Time11 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 308kcal

Tools

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry chickpeas - see notes
  • 6 tablespoon ghee - or olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 6 whole dried red chili peppers - optional
  • 2 medium onions - minced
  • 2 Serrano peppers - or jalapeño (optional), seeds removed and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger - peeled and minced (approximately 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 (32 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoon amchur (mango powder)
  • teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoon salt - plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek leaves - kasoori methi
  • 5 cups water - or broth
  • cilantro - to garnish
  • fresh lemon juice - for serving

Instructions

  • Rinse and soak the chana (chickpeas) in water for 8-12 hours. Drain the water and rinse thoroughly. Set aside.
  • Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode. Add the ghee (or oil if you prefer to keep this recipe completely vegan).
  • Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, and whole dried chili peppers. Mix well and continue to cook until the cumin seeds are fragrant and toasted, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the onion and serrano or jalapeño pepper (if using). Mix well to combine with the toasted cumin seeds. Continue to cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions have turned translucent and have started to soften. Stir in the garlic and fresh ginger, mixing well to combine. Cook for an additional minute.
  • Scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the canned tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes if you prefer a less chunky tomato sauce). Mix well then add the chili powder, coriander powder, amchur (mango powder), garam masala, turmeric powder, cumin, salt, and kasoori methi (fenugreek leaves). Mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring as needed.
  • Turn off sauté mode. Check again to make sure there are no stuck-on brown bits on the bottom of your Instant Pot.
  • Add the soaked and rinsed chickpeas plus 5 cups of water (for a thicker chana masala, add 4-4½ cups of water).
  • Secure the lid and close the vent to the sealing position. Set your Instant Pot to "manual" mode high pressure. Set to cook for 45 minutes on high pressure. Once the cooking time has completed, allow your Instant Pot to release naturally for 10 minutes then manually release.
  • Carefully remove the lid and season with additional salt, to taste.
  • Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro and fresh lemon juice, if desired.

Notes

You may make this recipe using one of two types of chickpeas - desi or kabuli. Desi chickpeas (also known as kala chana) are smaller, about half the diameter of average chickpeas with a stronger flavor and firmer texture even after it's been cooked. Kabuli chickpeas, on the other hand, are larger and lighter with a smoother coat. Feel free to use whatever you have available. I used desi chickpeas.
I cooked the onions and spices in a separate pan rather than directly in my Instant Pot. This was intentional as it gives me more control over the temperature of the pot (sometimes sauté mode on the Instant Pot gets really hot, so it requires your full attention when cooking with spices to prevent burning). Feel free to cook everything directly in your Instant Pot if that is easier, however, before pressure cooking, double-check that any possible burnt-on brown bits have been scraped from the bottom of the pot.
Optional: blend or puree part of your chana masala in a food processor or mash with a potato masher to get a thicker, more blended chickpea curry.
Substitutions:
  • 1 (32-ounce) can of tomatoes or 3-4 cups fresh tomatoes
  • 2 cups dry chickpeas or 4 (15-ounce) cans of pre-cooked, drained chickpeas

Nutrition

Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 637mg | Potassium: 556mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 657IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 4mg
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