Chana Masala also called Punjabi Chole, is one of the most popular and iconic Indian curry recipe. Wholesome and nutritional powerhouse, this Vegan Chickpea Curry is also gluten free and soy free.
This rustic, earthy curry packs in superb varied flavors that are sure to entice your palate. Learn to make restaurant quality Punjabi chole using electric pressure cooker like Instant Pot as well as on stove top presure cooker. Like Rajma Masala and Aloo Matar, this curry is Indian Soul Food.
WHAT IS CHANA MASALA ?
Chana Masala is popular Indian curry originated in Northern Parts of India. Chana or chole means Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans. There are several different styles to make this curry. Some make it dry stir-fry like curry, some prefer it liquid curry( gravy)
PRO TIPS TO MAKE RESTURANT QUALITY CHOLE AT HOME
You can easily make Chole using electric pressure cooker like Instant Pot. You can make it on stove top as well. You simmer soaked chickpeas in onion, tomato gravy, along with aromatic spices and herbs. Authentic recipes are darker brown in color. To get the color, a black tea bag ( or two) is used cooking. The tea bag gives it nice rustic color. Don’t worry it does NOT change the taste of the curry at all.
Popular Indian Chickpea Curry
Punjabi Chole and its fan following spans across all walks of life. They are served in road side stalls in India (called Dhaba) to elegant and posh Indian wedding menus. Indian dinner scene is incomplete without Chole.
Chana Masala is authentic traditional dinner recipe. Just like any heirloom recipes, the treasure is passed on from generations to generations. Every family has it’s peculiarity and pride in making such dishes. This recipe is an adjusted version of my family favorite.
Easy Shortcuts to make Chole
Work smarter not harder my friends !! Seriously though, here are my few tips to make this Indian Chickpea Curry in a hurry.
- If you forget to soak chickpeas, use canned chickpeas. Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas before using. Cooking time gets reduced to 10 minutes.
- Use store brought Chole Masala. I prefer to use Everest Brand Chole Masala. Adding a amazon affiliate link to buy it here. They are not sponsoring this post. I just love the taste of this brand.
- Use Marinara Sauce. Instead of cutting and sautéing onion, tomato and ginger garlic in oil, use marinara sauce. It gives deep red color with tangy taste.
SMART HACK TO MAKE QUICK BHATURE TO SERVE WITH CHOLE
Chole are often served with Bhature. Bhature is fluffy thick Indian bread that is deep fried. Traditional method as always is very tedious and time consuming. My impromptu method to satisfy cravings includes this: Use small size Mexican tortillas and deep fry them oil. ( I know purists are hating me now) But this trick works like a charm. One of my most popular dinner menu includes Chole Bhature and I can’t tell you how popular and nostalgic and delicious it is.
This recipe makes it as curry ( gravy ) which can be served as a healthy side dish along with all types of rice, roti, naan, paratha, couscous, quinoa or even on a bed of salad.
CAN I USE CHOLE MASALA AS WEEKLY MEAL PREP?
You absolutely can !! You can double or triple this recipe and use the leftovers for multiple lunches. Cooking time will remain the same, even if you double the quantity. I often like to make multiple dishes at once using INSTANT POT pot in pot method. The trick is make the dishes that have same cook time.
For this recipe, since the actual cook time over 20 minutes, brown rice will cook along perfectly. Here’s how I pack Chole with brown rice for lunch.
The exact measurements and details are in recipe card. Here’s the ingredients with little more details.
- Chickpeas or garbanzo beans or chole are the main ingredient. You rinse and soak them in water for at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight for perfectly melt in mouth texture.
- The onion, garlic, ginger and tomato are sautéd in oil to make a base gravy.
- I like to use San Marzano Tomato Paste to add extra red color and tangy sweet taste. These tomatoes tend to be sweeter and less acidic.
- Dried fenugreek leaves or Kasoori Methi adds authentic Indian flavor to this scrumptious curry. If you don’t have it readily available, simply skip it. Adding Amazon link in case you want to buy it.
- Dry Mango Powder ( amchur) adds a wonderful tangy taste to the chole. If you don’t have dry mango powder or amchur, substitute it with 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
- Chole Masala– Chole Masala powder is blend of several herbs and spices. Cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, mint leaves, black and green cardamom, mace, cassia leaf and few other herbs are blended together. It brings amazing flavors and unique taste to this recipe. Adding Amazon link to my favorite Chole Masala in case you want to buy it.
Instant Pot Chana Masala
Rinse the chickpeas/garbanzo beans/ chole in cold water for couple minutes. Soak them in water for at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight for perfectly melt in mouth texture. Beans also double the size once soaked. When ready to cook, drain them in colander.
Heat the oil in the pan. Add cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon, minced ginger and garlic. When the cumin seeds and ginger and garlic turn slight brown, add onions and sauté for few minutes.
Add tomato, paste and all other spices. Continue to sauté for few more minutes. You should sense the aroma. The oil will start to separate on the sides. ( this step helps bring out all intense flavors)
Add soaked chickpeas, teabag and water for cooking. Stir well. Make sure to scrap through the bottom so nothing is stuck there. (de-glaze).
Pressure cook on high for setting. When they are cooked, Carefully remove and discard the tea bag, bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Stir well. Using the back of ladle or spatula mash some of the chickpeas for thicker gravy. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm.
Our Popular Instant Pot Indian Curry Recipes
Do you like Indian Food? We have compiled some delicious and easy to prepare Indian Instant Pot Recipes on our website. Do check it out. Some more easy Indian meal ideas you might want to try:
- INSTANT POT DAL MAKHANI
- PUNJABI KADHI PAKORA
- PALAK PANEER
- EASY UNDHIYU IN INSTANT POT
- BEST PANEER JALFREZI
- INSTANT POT MATAR CHAT
★ If you make this INSTANT POT CHANA MASALA – PUNJABI CHOLE RECIPE do let us know how you like it by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below.
for Chole Curry
- 1 cup dry Chickpeas soaked overnight in 4 cups of water
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 medium Onion finely diced
- 2 small Tomatoes chopped
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste
- 2 cups Water for cooking
- 1 black teabag for color
- Cilantro to garnish
Spices and Herbs
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 1 tbsp Chole Masala
- 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick or 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tbsp Dry Fenugreek leaves
- 2 tsp Dry Mango powder ( substitute 1 tbsp lemon juice)
- Salt to taste
Wash the chickpeas in cold water. Soak chickpeas in 4 cups of water for at least for 4+ hours , or preferably over night. Drain them and discard the water just before cooking.
Instant Pot Instructions:
Start instant pot in SAUTE mode. Add oil, cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon, minced ginger and garlic.
When the cummin seeds and ginger and garlic start to sizzle, add onions and sauté for few minutes. Add tomato, paste and all other spices. Continue to saute for few more minutes. You should sense the aroma. The oil will start to separate on the sides. ( this step helps bring out all intense flavors)
Add soaked chickpeas, teabag and water for cooking. Stir well. Make sure to scrap through the bottom so nothing is stuck there. (de-glaze) Cancel Saute.
Close the Instant Pot lid . Select MANUAL high pressure mode for 30 minutes with vent in sealing position. Alternatively, you can choose BEAN mode too.
When the instant pot finishes cooking , let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Release the leftovers pressure manually. Open the instant pot lid. Carefully remove and discard the tea bag, bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
Stir well. Using the back of ladle or spatula mash some of the chickpeas. If the curry looks too thin or watery, turn the instant pot setting to sauté mode and let it boil for 2 minutes.
Garnish with chopped cilantro. For added flavor, crush some dry fenugreek leaves on your palm and sprinkle them over. Chole Masala is ready to be devoured. Serve warm.
For Pot in Pot cooking: Brown Rice
Prepare the curry mixture in main insert. Place the tall trivet in the middle of main insert. Combine water and brown rice in a InstantPot safe stackable container. Place the container on top of the trivet. Close the lid.
After it's done cooking, use tongs or oven mitts to carefully lift the bowl of brown rice. Then take out the trivet. Handle with extreme caution since it will be steaming hot.
For Stovetop Pressure Cooker Chana Masala
Heat oil in the pressure cooker on medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, bay leaves, ginger and garlic. When the ginger and garlic start to sizzle, add onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add tomato, paste and all other spices. Mix well and continue to saute til you sense the aroma and oil starts to separate on the side.
Drain the soaking water from chickpeas. Add chickpeas and water for cooking. Mix well. Close the lid.
Pressure cook on medium high heat til you hear 6-7 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid.
Use a hand masher or the back of your spatula to mash the chole a bit. Add extra dried fenugreek leaves crushed in your palm for extra kick of flavors.
Garnish with cilantro. Chole Masala is ready to be served
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Everest Chhole Masala 100g
Rani Amchur (Mango) Ground Powder Spice 3oz (85g) ~ All Natural, Indian Origin | No Color | Gluten Free Ingredients | Vegan | NON-GMO | No Salt or fillers
Rani Fenugreek Leaves Dried, All Natural (Kasoori Methi) 28g (1oz) ~ Gluten Free Ingredients | NON-GMO ~ Vegan
Insta-Pot-Accessories-Set, Instapot Accessory Compatible with Instant Pot 6 Qt 8 Quart, with Steamer Basket Cheesecake Pan Egg Steam Trivet Silicone Mold Mitts Tong, Made of 18/10 Stainless Steel
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 278Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 198mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 10gSugar: 10gProtein: 13g