Hi there, I’m Neena from Paint the Kitchen Red and I want to thank Beth for giving me the opportunity to do a guest post for Red & Honey! I’m really excited to share my family recipe for Instant Pot Chana Masala.
Chana Masala is one of the more popular vegetarian curry dishes at Indian restaurants. Translated as ‘spiced chickpeas’, chana masala is prepared in many different ways all across India.
In South India, which is where I come from, we make our version with diced coconut. However, this Instant Pot Chana Masala recipe that I’m sharing is similar to the kind you might order in an Indian restaurant, which is the North Indian version.
This tomato-based chickpea curry has just the right combination of spicy, salty, sweet and sour to delight your taste buds. Served with basmati rice or naan, it makes a satisfying and flavorful meal.
On top of tasting wonderful, Instant Pot Chana Masala is packed with nutritious and healthy ingredients. From the antioxidants in turmeric, to the digestive benefits of cumin and coriander, to the lycopene in tomatoes, to the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger, this chickpea curry is one healthy dish.
If you’re new to Indian cooking, you might be overwhelmed by the different spices: coriander, cumin, garam masala, amchur… But don’t be intimidated; once you buy these spices, you’ll have them on hand and be able to use them to try out other Indian dishes.
I suggest you visit an Indian grocery store to buy your spices – you’ll be amazed at the affordability and selection of spices compared to a general grocery store, and you may come home with more than you were planning to!
A key flavor ingredient in this dish is the sour taste of the mango powder, amchur (pronounced aam-choor). It might be the only spice ingredient not commonly found in Indian dishes. If you choose not to use amchur, go ahead and substitute with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
This recipe can be made with canned chickpeas, but why not make the chickpeas from scratch, especially since they are so easy to make in the Instant Pot? You may never buy canned chickpeas again. Although the recipe calls for cooking only one cup of dried chickpeas (which yields 2 cups of cooked chickpeas), I often make 3 or 4 cups and either freeze what I don’t use immediately or roast them in the oven with spices and olive oil. I also sprinkle them liberally in my salads.
In this recipe, you don’t even soak the chickpeas. Just rinse them and cook them. If you’d like to soak them overnight, the cooking time can be cut to about 20 minutes.
An important step in this recipe is the browning of the onions. Make sure the onions are browned to a nice golden brown, but be careful not to burn them. This is the base of the curry. If you need to, turn off the Instant Pot periodically to let it cool down.
When you add the tomato sauce, allow it to cook until the oil separates from the tomato/onion mixture and it has a thick paste-like consistency. Next you add the spices and let them release their fragrance. Finally you add the chickpeas and water and pressure cook.
I love this recipe because it has just the right combination of spicy, salty, sour, and sweet for my tastes. But when you’ve finished cooking, taste the Instant Pot chana masala and adjust the seasoning to suit your tastes. I believe there is no right or wrong in cooking – make what YOU like!
Chana Masala tastes even better the next day once the flavors have a chance to mellow and meld. That is: IF you have any leftovers!Looking for more posts like this one? Check these out:
- 19 Easy (Real Food) Instant Pot Recipes for Hesitant Beginners
- 4 Things I Learned About My Instant Pot in the First 6 Months
Instant Pot Chana Masala (Indian Spiced Chickpeas)
- 2 Tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 cups onion finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp garlic minced
- 2 tsp ginger minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper chopped (optional)
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 to 1 tsp Indian red chili powder or cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp amchur / Indian mango powder or to taste
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups Instant Pot (cooked) Chickpeas recipe below or canned chickpeas
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- naan or basmati rice for serving optional
If Using Dried Chickpeas:
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 2 cups water
How to Cook Dried Chickpeas in the Instant Pot
- Cook on manual mode for 35 minutes.
- Pour chickpeas into the Instant Pot. Add water.
- Allow pressure to release naturally, then drain and rinse chickpeas, and proceed with recipe.
- Note: if you wish to soak the chickpeas overnight, cook for just 20 minutes.
For Chana Masala
- Heat Instant Pot on 'Saute' mode, at 'Normal' temperature.
- Heat ghee or oil and saute cumin seeds till fragrant, about 10 seconds.
- Saute onions, garlic and ginger and jalapeno pepper until onions are golden brown, being careful not to burn, about 7 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, stirring frequently. Cook for 5 minutes, until tomato mixture thickens and becomes paste-like.
- Add turmeric, chili powder, black pepper, coriander, amchur, salt, brown sugar and garam masala. Stir till fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Deglaze with water, stirring to make sure tomato mixture is not stuck on the bottom.
- Add chickpeas and stir well.
- Cook on 'Manual' mode for 6 minutes.
- Let pressure release naturally.
- Open the Instant Pot and stir the chana masala. If you would like the gravy to be thicker, cook on 'Saute' mode for a few minutes. Top with cilantro and a teaspoon of ghee, if desired.
- Serve with naan or basmati rice (recommended)
Neena writes about her Instant Pot adventures on her blog, Paint the Kitchen Red. She loves to create Instant Pot recipes that have an international, ethnic flair and has made it her mission to convert all her family favorite recipes to the Instant Pot, one recipe at a time. One of Neena’s most popular dishes is her authentic Instant Pot Indian Chicken Curry, adapted from her mom’s recipe.
I have been having fun with Indian cooking in my InstaPot and this has become a favorite. I have done it a couple of times and improved as I go along. I am a big fan of using what I have and substituting when I am able. In this case, I use chopped tomatoes with either Serrano or Habano peppers. I like the spicier version but the Serrano is more widely popular. I also use lemon and Tandoori Paste instead of amchur. The result is now one of my favorite Indian dishes.
Onions DO NOT take 7 min to brown… This recipe is a lie.
Even after 12 min onions are not brown, and by then the garlic is burnt
Can I do this in a regular Dutch oven? If so, how does it affect the times?
Is there a way to do this all in one? Ie cook the chickpeas with the spices and tomatoes and water all at once?
Hi Holly! I’m not sure. I do that with my chili recipe (also published here at R&H) but I don’t know if it will work as well with chickpeas as it does with kidney beans. And even that tends to be finicky depending on the person – if you want to do it, I would say to soak the chickpeas ahead of time to make sure they get cooked, then add some extra time to the IP cook time in the recipe. If you try it – let me know how it turns out!
Awesome recipes. Everyone loves it. Thank you
Fantastic! My husband, who doesn’t like chickpeas and turns up his nose at “anything curry” even loved it! I didn’t have tomato sauce so subbed part of a can of fire roasted tomatoes and squished them while they sauteed. I also cooked my own beans in the IP (first time making garbanzos myself) and highly recommend–this may be why my husband liked them!
Also, I didn’t have the amchur on hand so subbed fresh lemon juice as suggested. YUM.
I subbed umeboshi paste (made from a Japanese fruit) for the amchur. I had a feeling that it might be similar, so I googled “umeboshi” and “amchur” and , sure enough, several articles call amchur “Indian umeboshi”. I will look for amchur next time i find an Indian grocery store.
I’m so glad it was successful for you! 😀
Fantastic recipe. Made this last night for dinner guests. I doubled every ingredient, but made the mistake of doubling two 14.5 fl oz of diced tomatoes instead of using one. Still worked (I used a hand mixer to soothe out the diced tomatoes)!
I had made a garam masala mix earlier, and it’s freshness was totally evident.
Thanks so much!
Absolutely wonderful! Was demolished by my family. I added quite a bit of salt at the end of cooking but of course that’s just personal taste preferences. Will go into regular rotation. Thank you!
Awesome, Jamie! So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Melissa @ Insider The Kitchen
Mmm this is my favorite Indian dish! I’ve been looking for a recipe for them so I could make them on my own. I’ll definitely be giving this one a try!
Wow this looks so yummy would really like to try this