Instant Pot Kala Chana – black chickpeas curry made in the Instant Pot. This simple curry goes well with rice or roti.
If you want to make it vegan, just skip the paneer. It’s totally optional.
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Kala Chana aka Black Chickpeas – have you guys ever tried it? In India, it’s made quite often especially during the fasting season of Navratri.
Sookha kala chana (dried black chickpeas cooked with spices), poori (deep fried bread) along with halwa (sweet) is the quintessential prasadam offered to goddess Durga during Navratri.
In my house, other than the sookha kala chana mom also made this black chickpeas curry. She would also add potatoes or paneer to it sometimes.
This Kala Chana or black chickpeas curry is a very simple curry and there’s nothing fancy about it. This is how everyday curry in India looks like – no butter, no cream, just some basic spices and comfort food for the soul.
Few weeks back I was bored of eating the regular dal and curries and so I ended up making kala chana in my Instant Pot. It’s quite easy to cook beans and lentils in the Instant Pot.
This Instant Pot Kala Chana
✓ makes a quick weeknight meal
✓ simple curry made with basic Indian spices
✓ goes well with rice or roti
✓ can be made vegan by skipping paneer
✓ can be made gluten-free by skipping asafetida (hing) or using natural asafetida which has no gluten
I added paneer to this recipe and let it pressure cook along with the black chickpeas. If you don’t want to pressure cook the paneer for that long, simply add it towards the end once the chana is done and let it simmer in the curry for 2 minutes and serve.
Of course you can always skip the paneer, it’s completely optional. I added it to my curry mainly because I had some leftover paneer at home and I was looking for ways to use it.
I know we cook so often with the regular white chickpeas that we often forget the black ones. In fact they aren’t that popular at all in this part of the world. But did you know about their health benefits?
Black Chickpeas Nutritional Benefits
For the records, black chickpeas have a higher fiber content and lower glycemic index, so they are really good for you.
They are also low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals. Black chickpeas are a good source of protein. As a vegetarian, I mostly depend on lentils and beans for my protein fix so these are perfect for that.
If you have never tried cooking with the black chickpeas, now is the time! Start with this basic kala chana curry recipe, it’s so simple to make in the Instant Pot.
TIP: This recipe is not gluten-free as the hing (asafetida) that I have used here contains gluten. But if you are gluten intolerant, make sure that your hing is gluten-free. Just read the label before using hing in this recipe.
I recommend soaking the kala chana for 4 hours before using in the recipe. I have tried making it in the Instant Pot without any pre-soaking and it turns out okay but it’s so much better when it’s soaked.
Soak chickpeas in 3 cups water for 4 hours. Once 4 hours are up, drain the water, rinse the black chickpeas and set it aside.
1- Press the saute button on the instant pot. Once it displays hot, add the oil. Then add the cumin seeds and asafetida (hing). Once the cumin seeds splutter, add the onion and the green chili. Cook for 3 minutes until softened.
2- Then add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another minute.
3- Add the tomato puree. Cover the pot with a glass lid and cook for 2 minutes.
4- Then add the coriander powder, turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, red chili powder, salt and cook the masala for another 2 minutes.
5- Add in the paneer cubes (if using) and drained black chickpeas. Toss the chickpeas and paneer with the masala.
6- Add 2 cups of water and stir (fresh water, don’t use the one in which you had soaked the chickpeas).
7- Close the pot with its lids and press the bean/chili mode. Adjust the time to 38 minutes at high pressure (the default timer for bean/chili mode is 30 minutes so you have to adjust the time). The pressure valve should be in the sealing position.
8- Let the pressure release naturally. Open the pot, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice.
Garnish kala chana curry with cilantro and serve over rice or with roti.
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Instant Pot Kala Chana
- 1 cup kala chana also known as black chickpeas, soaked in water for 4 hours
- 1 tablespoon oil use oil of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon asafetida also known as hing
- 1 medium red onion 150 grams, finely chopped
- 1 green chili chopped, adjust to taste
- 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
- 3 large tomatoes 330 grams, pureed
- 1.5 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3/4 teaspoon garam masala divided
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 3/4 cup paneer cubes optional
- 2 cups water
- juice of half lemon
- cilantro to garnish
- Soak chickpeas in 3 cups water for 4 hours. Once 4 hours are up, drain the water, rinse the black chickpeas and set it aside.
- Press the saute button on the instant pot. Once it displays hot, add the oil. Then add the cumin seeds and asafetida (hing).
- Once the cumin seeds splutter, add the onion and the green chili. Cook for 3 minutes until softened.
- Then add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomato puree. Cover the pot with a glass lid and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the coriander powder, turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, red chili powder, salt and cook the masala for another 2 minutes.
- Add in the paneer cubes (if using) and drained black chickpeas. Toss the chickpeas and paneer with the masala.
- Add 2 cups of water and stir (fresh water, don't use the one in which you had soaked the chickpeas).
- Close the pot with its lids and press the bean/chili mode. Adjust the time to 38 minutes at high pressure (the default timer for bean/chili mode is 30 minutes so you have to adjust the time). The pressure valve should be in the sealing position.
- Let the pressure release naturally. Open the pot, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice.
- Serve kala chana curry with rice or roti!
18 thoughts on “Instant Pot Kala Chana (Black Chickpeas Curry)”
I love this recipe so much. I double it and eat it for every meal for like a week. I use mustard oil as my oil of choice and o man is it good. Thanks so much for this great recipe!
Not sure what happened but I ended up with a huge amount of fluid — enough to call it a soup with a few chickpeas, which threw off the taste some as well. My only change was to swap paneer for some cooked cannelloni beans. I soaked the black chickpeas for 5 hours and cooked in the IP for 38 minutes. Never had an issue with your other recipes. Wish I knew what went wrong to fix for next time.
Hi Elaine, sorry to hear that. You can definitely reduce the amount of water next time. Maybe it’s just the type of curry that this is? In India, we often make quite watery home-style curries to eat with rice etc. They are supposed to be very basic, thin and not creamy at all and this is definitely one of those. But it should definitely not be bland and I have used 1 cup chickpeas and 2 cups water which is definitely not a lot so I am not sure why it turned out to be like a soup? I hope you drained the water in which you soaked the chickpeas and then pressure cooked it?
Reduce water next time and once done, open the lid- mash some of the chickpeas with a potato masher and simmer for few minutes on saute. That will thicken up the sauce for you.
Thank you! Yes, I definitely drained the soaked beans. I suspect the puréed tomatoes added too much liquid, and with the lid on prior to the IP cooking it did not cook down. Will try again this way. Thank you!!
How would I adapt the cooking time to either (a) a large dutch oven on a stove top or (b) a slow cooker? I just recently purchased some black chickpeas and very much want to try this but don’t have an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker. It seems like everything up until you add the water could be done on the stove top, but wanted to know how much time I should anticipate for cooking minus the pressure feature. Thanks!
Soak the chana overnight and then cook on stove-top until done. It should get soft in 45 minutes-1 hour on medium heat.
I made a stew yesterday which was a version of your lovely recipe. I soaked the black chickpeas about 24 hours and pressure cooked everything in the Instant Pot for 25 minutes, which was perfect. I don’t do well with tomatoes but I added half of a medium kabocha pumpkin, peeled and cubed (went really well). My spices were similar to yours but I certainly didn’t get it “right.” But it tasted good. I don’t have hing so I used a bit more garlic and red onion than the recipe called for. My recipe was vegan. Thanks so much!
Can I double the recipe (I assume there is more than enough space in Instant Pot) and how does this effect cooking time? I will soak chick peas overnight…..
– but first need to see if I have black chana or just regular…..though when I cook regular I do like to use the tea bag method of darkening them.
Thank you very much!
You can double the recipe, cooking time will remain same.
I think you should indicate in the recipe that if one has soaked the Chana for 24 or more hours then the cooking time can be reduced to 20 or 25 minutes. I just put the insta pot on and followed your instructions and realised that instead of 35 minutes I should have put the timer for 25 minutes because the Chana had soaked for almost 48 hours.
yes if you soak for 24 hours, then 20-25 mins is sufficient. I will add a note.
I’m curious why this has such a long cooking time. The channa masala recipe in your cookbook cooks at high pressure for 25 minutes, and the white garbanzos are much larger. Is it the higher fiber content that makes the black garbanzos require extra cooking time?
because the chickpeas for chana masala are soaked overnight, while this is soaked for 4 hours only. Soak overnight and then you can cook for much less time. Hope this helps!
First time cooking kala chana, and not my last. The recipe is so simple, yet the taste is so complex…I’m addicted. I used canned crushed tomatoes instead of fresh since we don’t have tasty, ripe tomatoes here in NYC.
glad you enjoyed it! and do try it with fresh tomatoes next time 🙂
Looks filling and very delicious!