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Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala

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This Instant Pot Chana Masala or Chole Masala is deliciously spicy, tangy, vegetarian, healthy and protein-rich chickpea curry made in one pot. Chana masala makes the ultimate comfort food when matched with naan, lachha paratha, roti, or pulao.

instant pot chana masala served in a copper bowl

This chickpea curry is flawlessly balanced with the depth of aromatic flavors, taste of spicy and sour flavorings, and has a melt-in-mouth velvety texture. Plus, this healthy pressure cooker chana masala recipe is entirely gluten-free and nut-free. It can also be made into vegan.

This authentic Punjabi Chana Masala recipe is made in Instant Pot, but can also be made into a stovetop pressure cooker or pan. 

This page has a step-by-step video guide and all the necessary tips & tricks you’ll ever need to make your best restaurant style chana masala at home.

instant pot chana masala served in a copper bowl

Punjbai Chole Bhature or Chana Masala with whole wheat naan, and sometimes with some jeera rice was an integral part of my childhood. 

If you know someone from the Northern part of India, then they would tell you that Punjabi Rajam Masala and Chana Masala were the most common weekend meals they had. Being North Indians, my family was no different. 

On most of the Sundays my Mom cooked either rajma masala with some jeera rice or chana masala for lunch with any of the sides below:

Bhature

Garlic naan

Tandoori Roti

Puri

I can still remember my Mom soaking the chickpeas the night before, for cooking Chole masala for lunch the next day. It was so fascinating to see her doing the preparations in the night. 

Now my little one watches me soaking chickpeas and she can’t control her enthusiasm either. Some things never change even with the generations. A child can find happiness in the tiniest of things, such as knowing they will get favorite food. :)

What is Chana Masala?

This spicy chickpea curry or Chana Masala is one of the most common Indian curries served in Indian restaurants worldwide. So there are higher chances that you might be aware of this delectable Indian curry.

Chole or Kabuli Chana is a Hindi name for a large and light variety of chickpeas that is often used in Indian cooking.

Chana Masala or Punjabi Chole Masala is a popular North Indian curry made with overnight soaked chickpeas where chickpeas are cooked with some spicy onion tomato masala. It tastes best with any flatbreads or rice.

instant pot chole masala served in a copper bowl

Why to make Chana Masala in Instant Pot?

This is because Instant Pot Chana Masala would be the easiest Chana Masala recipe you have ever made. In the traditional recipe, you cook chickpeas individually and then mix it with onion tomato gravy. 

Whereas, in this recipe you don’t need separate cooking or babysitting. This chana masala is made entirely in one-pot. So in this version, there is no fuss about cooking onion tomato gravy separately.  

The great part about instant Pot chana masala is that you dump the ingredients in it, set the timer, and forget about it. And before you know, your chana masala would be ready. 

What are the ingredients used in the Instant Pot Chana Masala Recipe?

This recipe uses simple ingredients which are easily available at any Asian grocery store. These ingredients are:

  • Garlic, chopped

  • Ghee (optional)

  • Ginger juliennes

  • Green chilies

  • Kasuri methi

  • Oil

  • Onions, chopped

  • Powdered spices (red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chana masala, roasted Kasuri methi, amchoor (dried mango) powder, and garam masala powder, black salt and regular salt).

  • Raw chickpeas (Kabuli chana)

  • Tomato pureed

  • Water

  • Whole spices (cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, black cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns)

instant pot chole masala served in a copper bowl

How to make Instant Pot Chana Masala?

Instant Pot Chana masala or chole masala is simple and straightforward to make. This is how you cook it in 9 quick and easy steps.

Step 1: 

Rinse and soak chickpeas for 8 hours or overnight. When soaked, drain the water from the chickpeas and rinse well. Set them aside.

Step 2: 

Press the instant pot in the “SAUTÉ” mode. Add oil, whole spices (cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, cloves, and black peppercorns) and sauté for a few seconds or until redolent.

Step 3:

Add chopped garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. After that, add green chilies, chopped onions, and sauté 2 minutes.

Step 4:

Add powdered spices (red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chana masala, black salt, and regular salt). Mix well and cook for 1 minute.

Step 5:

Add pureed tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the soaked chickpeas, water, ginger juliennes, and stir well. 

Step 6:

Pressure or manual cook for 30 minutes on high pressure in Instant Pot with the vent in sealing position. Let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes.

Step 7:

Open the lid, add roasted Kasuri methi, amchoor (dried mango) powder, and garam masala powder. Mix well.

Step 8:

Switch to sauté mode and sauté 5 minutes. Also, mash chickpeas slightly with the back of a spoon. You can also use a potato masher. 

Step 9:

Add coriander leaves and saute 1 more minute. Transfer chana masala to a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves, ginger juliennes, and drizzle with a dollop of ghee. Relish with bhature, naan, or roti.

Check out the detailed instructions in the recipe box on this page.

instant pot chole masala served in a copper bowl

Can I use store-bought tomato puree for Instant Pot Chana Masala?

Yes, you can surely use any store-bought tomato puree you want. I made this recipe with all the fresh ingredients, so I made my own puree by just blending tomatoes in a blender. I did not remove tomato skins before pureeing them.

Can I use canned Chickpeas for Instant Pot Chana Masala?

Definitely, you can use it. In fact, canned chickpeas are excellent options when you have sudden cravings and you don’t have time to soak chickpeas. If you are using canned chickpeas for this recipe, then make sure to reduce the cooking time. 

Also, drain the liquid before adding them to the gravy. For canned chickpeas, you need to pressure cook it only for 12 minutes on high-pressure. Then do naturally release the pressure before opening the lid. 

How to reduce spice levels of this Instant Pot Chana Masala Recipe?

This Restaurant Style Chana Masala recipe makes a spicy curry. If you think that this recipe is too hot for your taste buds, then omit the green chilies, and reduce the amount of red chili powder. You can also swap red chili powder with cayenne pepper and reduce the amount to suit your taste. Also, reduce the amount of garam masala powder.

What to do if you forget to soak chickpeas?

If you forgot to soak chickpeas for 8 hours, then you can still make chana masala using raw chickpeas. 

This is what you need to do. 

To soak it faster, dry roast chickpeas for about 5 minutes or until they are hot. Then add 4 cups of hot water to it along with 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda. Cover it and then let it soak for 2 hours. 

After 2 hours, drain the water and rinse the chickpeas. Increase the pressure cooking to 40 minutes and let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes.

instant pot chole masala served in a copper bowl

How to serve Chana Masala?

Instant Pot Chana Masala is a spicy vegetarian curry that goes well with any flatbread or rice. 

Here are some of the recommended serving options:

Meal idea 1: Instant Pot Chana Masala, and Afghan Naan.

Meal idea 2: Instant Pot Chana Masala, and Bhature.

Meal idea 3: Instant Pot Chana Masala, and Paneer Stuffed Naan.

Meal idea 4: Instant Pot Chana Masala, Khoba Roti, and Brown Rice.

Meal idea 5: Instant Pot Chana Masala, and Potato Stuffed Tandoori Roti.

Meal idea 6: Instant Pot Chana Masala, and Duppad Roti - Pad Wali Roti.

Can I freeze Instant Pot Chana Masala?

Yes. This Instant Pot chana masala curry freezes well. You can freeze the leftovers in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. 

To freeze, allow it to cool completely. Then store and freeze. Simply thaw it at room temperature before serving and then heat it up in a microwave, stovetop pan, or in Instant Pot. To elevate the flavours, add some garam masala and fresh coriander leaves to chana masala curry.

instant pot chana masala served in a copper bowl

How to make Chana Masala Powder at home?

Chana Masala Powder is easily available at any Asian grocery store. However, if you don’t find chana masala powder, then you can make your own blend. 

This is how to make chana masala powder at home:

Ingredients for Chana Masala Powder:

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera)

  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds (anardana)

  • 1 teaspoon black salt

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder (dhaniya powder)

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (saunth)

  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Chili powder (lal mirch powder)

  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)

  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi powder)

  • 10 black peppercorns (kali mirch)

  • 10 cloves (laung)

  • 2 bay leaves (tej patta)

  • 2 black cardamoms (moti elaichi)

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds (dhaniya)

  • 3-inch cinnamon stick

  • 3 tablespoons amchoor powder (dried mango powder)

  • 4 dried Kashmiri red chilies (large)

  • 4 green cardamom pods (hari elaichi)

Instructions  for Chana Masala Powder:

  1. In a pan, add whole spices (cumin seeds, coriander seeds, pomegranate seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, bay leaf, black cardamoms, cinnamon stick, and Kashmiri red chilies). Dry roast for 1 minute or until they are fragrant. Keep stirring continuously, so the spices do not burn. Once they are crispy, turn off the heat and let them cool completely. 

  2. Add them to a spice or coffee grinder and grind into a fine powder.

  3. Now add all the powdered spices (red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, ginger powder, amchoor powder, black salt, and asafoetida) to it. Mix well. 

  4. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature in a cold and dark place. You can use it for up to 2 months.

instant pot chana masala served in a copper bowl

Tips & variations to make your best Chana Masala at home. 

  1. This is a simple chana masala recipe, which is a bit different from the Amritsari Chole recipe I have shared previously. If you want to make Amritsari style Chole masala, then add 2-3 tea bags and some dried pomegranate seeds to the instant pot before pressure cooking.

  2. If using canned chickpeas, then use only 2.5 cups of water.

  3. I like to drizzle my chana masala with a dollop of homemade ghee at the time of serving. The addition of ghee brings out the most exotic and rich flavors of chana masala. If you want to make it entirely vegan, then replace ghee with vegan butter.

  4. Chana masala powder is an essential part of the chole recipe, so I would highly recommend it. You can easily get it at any Asian grocery store. For this recipe, you can use any chana masala powder that is available in your region. You can also make your homemade chana masala powder. The recipe is given on this page.

  5. If you think that this recipe is too hot for your taste buds, then omit the green chilies, and reduce the amount of red chili powder. You can also swap red chili powder with cayenne pepper. Also, reduce the amount of garam masala powder.

  6. You can easily double or half this recipe. The cooking time will be the same.

  7. If you don’t have dry mango powder, then you can substitute it with fresh lemon juice.

  8. Dry roasted Kasuri methi enhances the flavor of this chana masala recipe. So it is highly recommended.

  9. You can also add 1/2 cup diced potatoes to make aloo chana masala or aloo chole.

Have you already tried this recipe?

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instant pot chana masala served in a copper bowl

Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala [Recipe]

This Instant Pot Chana Masala or Chole Masala is deliciously spicy, tangy, vegetarian, healthy and chickpea curry made in one pot.
★★★★✰
(Rating: 5 from 2 reviews)

Prep time 🕐 Cook time 🕐 Total time 🕐
53 mins
Category ☶ Cuisine ♨ Serves ☺
Side Indian 4-5
Nutrition Info ⊛ Serving size ⊚
282 calories 1 serving

INGREDIENTS

For Instant Pot Chana Masala //
  • 1.5 cups chickpeas(chole/ chana /garbanzo beans)
  • 1 & 1/4 cup tomato puree (tamatar ki puree)
  • 1 cup onions (pyaaj), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro/coriander leaves (hara dhaniya)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger juliennes
  • 2 tablespoon roasted Kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves, (dry roast in a pan for 2 minutes)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic (lehsun), finely chopped
  • 2-3 small green chilies (hari mirch), slit
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • Water 4 cups for soaking + 4 & 1/2 cups for cooking
Whole Spices //
  • 1 black cardamom (moti elaichi)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 bay leaves (tej patta)
  • 2-inch cinnamon sticks (dalchini)
  • 4-5 cloves (laung)
  • 4-5 peppercorns (kali mirch)
Powdered Spices //
  • 1 tablespoon chana masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander (dhania) powder
  • 1 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder (garam masala)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 2 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder
  • Regular salt, to taste
For Serving //
  • Chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves
  • Some ghee (optional)
  • Ginger juliennes
  • Sliced onions

INSTRUCTIONS:

How To Make Instant Pot Chana Masala //
  1. Rinse chickpeas well and soak them in 4 cups of water for 8 hours or overnight.
    Image of the cooking step-1-1 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  2. After soaking, drain the water from the chickpeas and rinse them well. Set them aside.
    Image of the cooking step-1-2 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  3. Press the instant pot in the SAUTÉ mode.
    Image of the cooking step-1-3 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  4. Add oil, whole spices (cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, cloves, and black peppercorns) and sauté for a few seconds or until redolent.
    Image of the cooking step-1-4 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  5. Next, add chopped garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-1-5 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  6. After that, add green chilies, chopped onions, and sauté 2 minutes or until translucent.
    Image of the cooking step-1-6 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  7. Then add powdered spices (red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chana masala, black salt, and regular salt).
    Image of the cooking step-1-7 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  8. Mix everything well and cook for 1 minute.
    Image of the cooking step-1-8 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  9. Now, add pureed tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-1-9 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  10. Stir in the soaked chickpeas, water, and stir well. Add ginger juliennes and mix well again.
    Image of the cooking step-1-10 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  11. Cover the instant pot with lid, set the valve to sealing position.
    Image of the cooking step-1-11 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  12. Select MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK and cook on HIGH pressure for 30 minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-1-12 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  13. Once the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-1-13 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  14. Open the lid, and press cancel and press 'saute' mode.
    Image of the cooking step-1-14 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  15. Add roasted Kasuri methi, amchoor (dried mango) powder, and garam masala powder. Mix well.
    Image of the cooking step-1-15 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  16. Lightly mash some of the cooked chickpeas with the back of a spoon. You can also use a potato masher. This will thicken the gravy.
    Image of the cooking step-1-16 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  17. Cook for another 5 minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-1-17 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  18. Add chopped coriander leaves and cook 1 more minute.
    Image of the cooking step-1-18 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  19. Turn off the Instant Pot. Your Instant Pot Chana Masala is ready.
    Image of the cooking step-1-19 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  20. Transfer chana masala to a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves, ginger juliennes, and drizzle with a dollop of ghee. Relish with bhature, naan, or roti.
    Image of the cooking step-1-20 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
How To Make Chana Masala In A Stovetop Pressure Cooker //
  1. Rinse chickpeas well and soak them in 4 cups of water for 8 hours or overnight.
    Image of the cooking step-2-1 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  2. After soaking, drain the water from the chickpeas and rinse them well. Set them aside.
    Image of the cooking step-2-2 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  3. Heat a pressure cooker over medium heat.
    Image of the cooking step-2-3 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  4. Add oil, whole spices (cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, cloves, and black peppercorns) and sauté for a few seconds or until redolent.
    Image of the cooking step-2-4 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  5. Next, add chopped garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-2-5 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  6. After that, add green chilies, chopped onions, and sauté 2 minutes or until they turn transparent.
    Image of the cooking step-2-6 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  7. Then add powdered spices (red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chana masala, black salt, and regular salt).
    Image of the cooking step-2-7 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  8. Mix everything well and cook for 1 minute.
    Image of the cooking step-2-8 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  9. Now, add pureed tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-2-9 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  10. Stir in the soaked chickpeas, water, and stir well. Add ginger juliennes and mix well again.
    Image of the cooking step-2-10 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  11. Cover the pressure cooker with lid and pressure cook chickpeas on high heat for 6-7 whistles, and then cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-2-11 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  12. Let the pressure go off completely, before opening the lid.
    Image of the cooking step-2-12 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  13. Remove the lid from the pressure cooker.
    Image of the cooking step-2-13 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  14. Then, add roasted Kasuri methi, amchoor (dried mango) powder, and garam masala powder. Mix well.
    Image of the cooking step-2-14 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  15. Lightly mash some of the cooked chickpeas with the back of a spoon. You can also use a potato masher. This will thicken the gravy.
    Image of the cooking step-2-15 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  16. Cook for another 5 minutes.
    Image of the cooking step-2-16 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  17. Add chopped coriander leaves and cook 1 more minute.
    Image of the cooking step-2-17 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  18. Turn off the Instant Pot. Your Pressure Cooker Chana Masala is ready.
    Image of the cooking step-2-18 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala
  19. Transfer chana masala to a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves, ginger juliennes, and drizzle some ghee. Enjoy with roit, puri, or naan.
    Image of the cooking step-2-19 for Instant Pot Chana Masala - Pressure Cooker Chole Masala

WATCH VIDEO:


NOTES:

  1. This is a simple chana masala recipe, which is a bit different from the Amritsari Chole recipe I have shared previously. If you want to make Amritsari style Chole masala, then add 2-3 tea bags and some dried pomegranate seeds to the instant pot before pressure cooking.
  2. If using canned chickpeas, then use only 5 cups of water.
  3. I like to drizzle my chana masala with a dollop of homemade ghee at the time of serving. The addition of ghee brings out the most exotic and rich flavors of chana masala. If you want to make it entirely vegan, then replace ghee with vegan butter.
  4. Chana masala powder is an essential part of the chole recipe, so I would highly recommend it. You can easily get it at any Asian grocery store. For this recipe, you can use any chana masala powder that is available in your region. You can also make your homemade chana masala powder. The recipe is given on this page.
  5. If you think that this recipe is too hot for your taste buds, then omit the green chilies, and reduce the amount of red chili powder. You can also swap red chili powder with cayenne pepper. Also, reduce the amount of garam masala powder.
  6. You can easily double or half this recipe. The cooking time will be the same.
  7. If you dont have dry mango powder, then you can substitute it with fresh lemon juice.
  8. Dry roasted Kasuri methi enhances the flavor of this chana masala recipe. So it is highly recommended.

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