Love Indian food? Chana Masala or chhole masala is an easy and incredibly tasty chickpeas and potato curry. Its got a punch of flavour from the spices, and this recipe has instructions for instant pot, traditional pressure cooker and stovetop. The best part is that apart from being healthy, its vegan and gluten free.
If you've never tried chana masala before, this is the best time to start. Because I ate one bite of this curry and it brought me so much joy. I mean comforting joy. The kinds where you get all warm and fuzzy coz you tasted something so comforting.
This pressure cooker chana masala is a close cousin of this stovetop chana aloo masala that I've shared earlier. And its even easier to make now. I always use my Instant Pot now for any recipe that I want to try in a pressure cooker, but I have instructions below for a traditional pressure cooker too. Because I tested it in both with umm similar results. The traditional pressure cooker version was way thicker and I had to add more water in the end. But the instant pot version was perfect. Because the water stays locked in, in the Instant pot so you lose much less liquid when you use one.
Too technical, too fast? But I really wanted to put this out there and tell you why you need an Instant Pot so badly (affiliate link)! Sneaky, I know!
I've eaten chana masala hundreds of times now and I know what I like in a good chana masala. The chana or chickpeas need to be cooked well enough that I can easily smash them, and they should break down slightly so that the gravy is more chunky. Plus potatoes are a much. A lot of curries that I've eaten outside tend to be extremely oily, but ugh! I hate that. It makes me feel weirdly greasy and bloaty later. And you don't need so much oil to make something delicious like this pressure cooker chana masala. And you'll see how!
I have a few tips before we start the recipe to help you along the way.
Can I use canned chickpeas to make chana masala?
Absolutely! Canned chickpeas work really well in the recipe and there is no difference in flavour whatsoever. In fact, canned chickpeas make this recipe much faster. But I believe, dried chickpeas are better. Because they are healthier, there is nothing else added them, and they are cheaper.
How to soak dried chickpeas for this chana masala recipe?
Ideally, chickpeas should be soaked overnight to help them absorb water and make them easier and faster to cook. But I get you - I almost always forget to soak chickpeas and other dried beans the night before. A super easy trick is to place dried chickpeas in a casserole or hot pot that can be sealed properly; cover them with enough boiling hot water and add a teaspoon of salt to it before sealing it shut for an hour. The combination of hot water and salt helps in better absorption of liquid and speeds the process of soaking.
Of course, before we get to the recipe, lets talk about sides for a minute. The possibilities are endless. You can enjoy this with:
- steamed or jeera rice,
- rotis or parathas and bhaturas of course! Or just have all three. Indulge.
I hope you have fun making this chana masala. I've provided substitutes in the recipe where I could, but if you can get your hands on the real stuff - nothing like it!
Watch Chana Masala Recipe Video
This post was first published on June 27, 2018 and updated on 23 October, 2020 to include a step by step video with no changes to the original recipe
Pressure Cooker Chana Masala (Instant Pot and Stovetop recipes)
- 1 ½ cups Dry Chickpeas chana
- 3 tablespoons Oil
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 2 Bayleaves
- 2 Cardamom Pods
- ¾ cup Onion finely chopped (medium )
- 1 ½ cups Tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Garlic finely minced
- 1 tablespoon Ginger finely minced
- 2 Green Chillies finely chopped (Serrano Peppers will work)
- 1 ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder or Paprika Powder
- 2 Potatoes cut into quarters
- ¾ teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 tablespoon Kasuri Methi optional
- 1-2 tablespoons Ghee
- Chopped coriander for topping
- Soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight. Or you can follow my tip to soak chickpeas in an hour in the notes below.
Instant Pot Chana Masala
- Turn on the saute mode and heat oil in the instant pot. Add cumin seeds, bayleaf and cardamom pods. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the onions and cook till they are soft (about 3-4 minutes).
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, green chillies, salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder to the pot. Cook till the tomatoes break down and start becoming mushy (4-5 minutes). Add the chickpeas, potatoes and 2 cups water to the pot. Set manual pressure for 30 minutes and let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure.
- Turn on the saute function again and add garam masala, ghee and kasuri methi (if using). If the gravy is too thick, add ¼ to ½ cup water. Adjust salt to taste and simmer for 5 minutes before turning off the flame. Top with chopped coriander and serve hot.
Traditional Pressure Cooker Chana Masala
- Heat oil in the pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds, bayleaf and cardamom pods. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the onions and cook till they are soft (about 3-4 minutes).
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, green chillies, salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder to the pot. Cook till the tomatoes break down and start becoming mushy (4-5 minutes). Add the chickpeas, potatoes and 2 ½ cups water to the pot. Pressure cook for 6-7 whistles or till the chana can be easily broken between two fingers.
- Once the pressure is released, open the cooker and add garam masala, ghee and kasuri methi (if using). If the gravy is too thick, add ¼ to ½ cup water. Adjust salt to taste and simmer for 5 minutes before turning off the flame. Top with chopped coriander and serve hot.
- Stovetop Version: The instructions for the stovetop chana masala are here.
- Canned Chickpeas: If you are using canned chickpeas, drain them well before adding and reduce the time in the Instant Pot to 10 minutes; and the traditional stovetop cooker to 1 whistle. You will also have to reduce the amount of water to 1 cup
- Canned tomatoes: Canned tomatoes can be used to replace fresh tomatoes. Use 1.5 cups canned tomatoes to replace fresh tomatoes
- Spices: If you don't have the ground spices listed below, replace them with 1.5 tablespoons Curry Powder. This will change the flavour, but it'll be close
- Kasuri Methi: Kasuri methi (affiliate link) helps round the flavour in Indian dishes and really adds to them. A little goes a long way, and a pack will last you a while. If you make Indian food often, this is something I would seriously consider buying and keeping
- Garam Masala: I use homemade garam masala, but you can substitute it with any store bought garam masala. Please note that garam masala is different from curry powder