This Instant Pot chana masala chickpeas stew is super satisfying comfort food that’s simple to make with canned chickpeas that are delightfully spiced in a rich tomato gravy.
Here is a dish that is easy to make and has so much to offer in terms of flavor and health benefits.
Chana masala is on the regular rotation at our house because we just can’t get enough of it. We love it for lunch and dinner any time of the year.
It’s so good that we even made some to take along on our camping trip.
Yes, that’s right.
Of all of the dishes out there, this is the one we wanted to have with us out in the wilderness.
Well, ok, maybe not wilderness exactly.
We just had to have this chana masala ready. Wherever we happen to be.
Come to think of it, next time we should bring some of that amazing tomato dal to go with it too!
Content in this Post
- What is Chana Masala?
- Ingredients in Instant Pot Chana Masala Chickpeas Stew
- Health Benefits of Chana Masala
- How To Make Instant Pot Vegan Chana Masala
- STEP 1 – Sauté Cumin and Kalonji Seeds
- STEP 2 – Sauté Onions
- STEP 3 – Sauté Tomatoes, Ginger, Garlic and Chili
- STEP 4 – Add Chickpeas and Spices
- STEP 5 – Stir and Pressure Cook
- STEP 6 – Add Amchur
- STEP 7 – Optionally, Mash and Sauté
- STEP 8 – Serve and Enjoy
- Can I Make Instant Pot Vegan Chana Masala With Dried Chickpeas?
- Chef’s Tips and Tricks
- What To Serve With Instant Pot Vegan Chana Masala
- More Recipes With Chickpeas
- Preparation and Storage Tips
- You’ll Also Love
What is Chana Masala?
In Hindi, chana means chickpeas and masala refers to a spice blend mixture or gravy. Chana masala is basically an Indian style vegan chickpea curry. It can range in spice level, from mild, medium to quite hot.
Chana masala and chole masala are often used interchangeably.
But, chana masala tends to be more tomato based while Punjabi chole masala usually has a darker brown curry sauce.
Punjabi chole masala is often served with a type of fried bread and the dish is called Chana Bhatura. We love chana bhatura as well, but tend to make this tomato based chana masala more often.
Ingredients in Instant Pot Chana Masala Chickpeas Stew
- Chickpeas — we use canned for convenience here. You can also soak dried chickpeas overnight in a large bowl with enough water to more than cover them.
- Tomato — chopped
- Onion — you can include red, white or yellow onion in this recipe
- Garlic Cloves — minced
- Ginger — grated
- Chili Pepper — chopped
- Avocado Oil — avocado oil is an excellent choice for stir frying your aromatics, although other types of oil (olive, coconut, vegetable, etc.) can be used if you prefer.
- Cumin — we incorporate both ground cumin and cumin seeds in our recipe
- Garam Masala — a savory blend of spices that provides an earthy flavor to the dish
- Coriander — we like coriander powder for convenience, although you can also grind some coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
- Nigella Seeds (Kalonji) — optional
- Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi) — also spelled kasoori methi, dried, optional
- Salt — Himalayan pink salt, ground
- Chili Powder — you can adjust according to your spice level tolerance or omit altogether.
- Amchur Powder — dried mango powder, this is added in after cooking. If you don’t have any, it’s ok to omit.
You can get away without some of the spice ingredients. That’s why we’ve listed some as optional.
Of course, they add more depth to the flavors in the curry, but they’re not all necessary. I would definitely still make this even if I only had the basic ingredients.
Plus, you’ll find that a lot of chana masala recipes differ from cook to cook. So, some may include them and others omit. It can come down to personal preference.
Health Benefits of Chana Masala
Chick peas are full of fiber, protein rich and are highly satisfying in flavor and texture. They will keep you full and energized for a long time.
In addition, chana masala offers a multitude of vitamins and minerals with tomatoes, onions, chilis, garlic and ginger as well as seeds and spices.
Chana masala is an excellent high protein option for vegetarians or those looking to incorporate more meatless dishes into their diet.
How To Make Instant Pot Vegan Chana Masala
STEP 1 – Sauté Cumin and Kalonji Seeds
In sauté mode, heat oil and add cumin and kalonji seeds, if using. Stir fry the seeds for about a minute, using a wooden spoon.
STEP 2 – Sauté Onions
Add onions and sauté for a few minutes until they begin to turn translucent.
STEP 3 – Sauté Tomatoes, Ginger, Garlic and Chili
Combine tomatoes, ginger, garlic and chili in your Instant Pot and give everything a good stir.
STEP 4 – Add Chickpeas and Spices
Pour in the canned or soaked chickpeas, as well as the spices (except for amchur that will be added after cooking).
STEP 5 – Stir and Pressure Cook
Mix everything together and fasten the lid securely. Move the pressure valve to sealing and set Instant Pot to HIGH pressure for, normal temperature for 25 minutes.
Once complete, allow for a natural pressure release (NPR) of 5 minutes and then quick release the remaining pressure by turning the pressure valve to venting.
STEP 6 – Add Amchur
If you have dried mango powder (amchur) you can add it in after cooking. Mix it into the chana masala well.
STEP 7 – Optionally, Mash and Sauté
If you like the sauce to be thicker, you can use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to break up some of the chickpeas. You can also boil the dish in sauté mode for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. Just be sure to stir often so that the contents don’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.
Although, if you prefer a thinner sauce, and all of the chickpeas intact, you can skip this step.
STEP 8 – Serve and Enjoy
Now it’s time to enjoy this comforting, restaurant quality dish. You will be so impressed with the results and marvel at how easy it was to throw together!
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can toss the ingredients into a crockpot slow cooker and let it simmer for a few hours until you’ve reached your desired chickpea tenderness.
Can I Make Instant Pot Vegan Chana Masala With Dried Chickpeas?
Yes, you can! It’s especially easy when you remember to soak the chana in water overnight. Then, in the morning, you can follow the recipe as it is the same for soaked chickpeas.
If you haven’t soaked the chickpeas overnight, that’s ok. You can still make this dish, but the pressure cook time will be longer. Just set your Instant Pot to 60 minutes.
There is also an “instant” method for soaking chickpeas that involves boiling water to pour over top of the dry chickpeas and allow them to soak for one hour.
Chef’s Tips and Tricks
Even though canned chick peas are precooked, we love to pressure cook our chickpeas for enough time so that they are tender!
Just add the canned chickpeas to an Instant Pot (with the chick pea liquid if you like, or you can drain and rinse the chickpeas and add a cup and a half of water to the Instant Pot) and set on high pressure for 20-30 minutes, depending on how tender you’d like them to be.
The same applies to soaked chickpeas, the extra 20 minutes or so of pressure cook time will produce tender chickpeas that make all the difference in this dish!
If you’re using dried chickpeas and have forgotten to soak them overnight, don’t worry. Just add the dried chickpeas to a bowl and top with boiling water and allow to soak meanwhile you prep ingredients and gather your spices.
What To Serve With Instant Pot Vegan Chana Masala
Chana masala is perfect with a rice dish or any Indian style flatbread like naan, roti or chapati.
A side salad kachumber style is another great option for a fresh and delicious side dish.
You may want to add a vegan raita or yogurt based raita to your meal to help cool down and balance the spicy heat from curries.
- Instant Pot Basmati Rice
- Instant Pot Vegetable Biryani or Chicken Biryani
- Lemon Dill Raita
- Cucumber Raita
Here’s an easy Indian inspired menu that we love to make often:
Instant Pot Chana Masala with Instant Pot tomato dal with basmati rice or vegetable or chicken biryani. Don’t forget to include a cooling yogurt sauce on the side such as popular cucumber raita or lemon dill raita.
Indian Vegetarian Dishes:
- Instant Pot Eggplant Bell Pepper Curry
- Bhindi Masala Okra Curry
- Instant Pot Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower and Potato Curry)
- Instant Pot Chana Dal With Spinach
- Instant Pot Radish Sambar
- Instant Pot Potato Masala With Beets
- Instant Pot Masoor Dal Sambar With Okra
- Instant Pot Capsicum Rajma Curry
- Instant Pot Lemon Artichoke Sambar
Indian Meat and Seafood Dishes:
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)
- Instant Pot Mango Chicken
- Instant Pot Fenugreek Chicken (Methi Murgh)
- Skillet Shrimp Tikka Masala
Instant Pot dishes are so convenient to prepare and cook. You’ll love how much you can accomplish with them.
More Recipes With Chickpeas
With all of the health benefits, it makes sense to include chickpeas in your diet regularly.
If you like to save time, you can soak and/or pressure cook extra chickpeas at the same time and cook up a variety of delicious chickpea recipes.
Here are some easy ways to get more chickpeas into your rotation:
- Instant Pot Hummus
- Instant Pot Eggplant Chickpea Curry (Maghmour)
- Instant Pot Green Hummus
Preparation and Storage Tips
Chana masala can be frozen and thawed when you need it.
We recently brought some leftover frozen chana masala and a batch of cooked basmati rice with us on our camping trip.
We let the chana masala thaw and heated it in a skillet. It was amazing! Perfect, of course, with a nice cup of coffee or tea!
You’ll Also Love
This super easy and satisfying bhindi masala okra curry is a simple stir fry with big flavor.
You’ll love the intriguing texture of this vegetable with a sizzling combination of onions and spices that you can cook right on the stovetop.
You can stir fry this while your chana masala is cooking in the Instant Pot!
Instant Pot Chana Masala Chickpeas Stew
- 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Nigella Seeds, kalonji, optional
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 inch Ginger, grated
- 2 Chili Pepper, chopped
- 1 Tomato, chopped
- 38 ounces Canned Chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Coriander
- 1 teaspoon Fenugreek Leaves, dried
- 1 teaspoon Salt, Himalayan
- ¼ teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Amchur Powder
- Press Sauté on the Instant Pot. When the display reads HOT, add oil and cumin seeds. Let sauté for a few minutes until the seeds start to sputter.
- Add the chopped onions and green chilies. Sauté for 3-5 minutes until the onion is tender.
- Add the tomatoes, minced garlic and grated ginger. Let sauté for 5 minutes.
- Pour in the canned chickpeas, liquid included and add all the spices aside for the amchur.
- Mix well and secure the lid on the Instant Pot. Move the pressure valve to sealing and pressure cook on HIGH pressure, normal temperature, for 25 minutes. Let naturally pressure release (NPR) for 5 minutes and then quick release.
- When the pressure is released and it is safe to do so, carefully open the lid. Add the amchur and stir.
- If you like the Chana Masala thicker, you can mash a few of the chickpeas using a potato masher and sauté the dish for 5-10 minutes.
The above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide. If you are following a specific diet or have dietary restrictions, please use your preferred nutritional calculator. If you have a food allergy please ensure that none of the listed ingredients are part of your restrictions. As well, always use a food thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperature of the food items.