Punjabi Kala Chana / Black Chickpeas Curry – Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Kala Chana Instant Pot

Kala Chana is a mildly spiced black chickpeas curry made in instant pot or pressure cooker. This is a simple everyday Punjabi curry, made in a onion-tomato gravy with ginger and garlic. It is so easy to prepare and yet so delicious.

I was recently talking to a colleague and she mentioned that we like Indian food, but don’t want to have it frequently as it is very fatty, always loaded with cream.  I understand why this perception – all the popular Indian curries that you eat in a restaurant are pretty heavy on cream (think butter chicken…yum!).   However contrary to these popular curries, most Indian households do not use much cream in their cooking.  Like in this simple comforting curry, where there is no cream.

Kala chana is perfect to cook in a pressure cooker or instant pot, as it takes longer to cook.  We usually have Kala Chana curry with rice or roti.  But another great way to consume them is as a soup.  Add 2 cups of chopped spinach or kale after the kala chana preparation in this recipe, and enjoy it as a soup.

Kala Chana Nutrition

Kala chana is an excellent source of protein.  One cup of cooked kala chana provides 15 grams of protein or 30% of the daily value, hence it a great addition to a vegetarian diet.  They are also low in fat and high in fiber providing 13 grams of dietary fiber, which is almost half the daily requirement.   Add kala chana to your regular diet, in soups or curries or even salads, to get the benefits.

Preparing Kala Chana Curry in Instant Pot

The first step in preparing kala chana is washing and soaking it in ample water for 4 hours or overnight.  Soaking is important for kala chana as they are otherwise pretty hard on the digestive system.

Before starting to cook, grind the ginger, garlic and green chili to a paste (you can use a store brought paste too).  Chili is optional, so add it based on your taste and availability.  When you are ready to start cooking, put the instant pot in sauté mode.  Heat oil and add cumin seeds.  Then add in chopped onions and the ginger-garlic-chili paste.   Sauté for about 3 minutes until the onions are cooked and the raw smell is gone.  Then add the chopped tomatoes and spices.  Finally add the soaked kala chana (drain the soaking water) and 2 cups of water for cooking.  Stir well.

Change the instant pot setting to bean/chili mode and close it.  The timer will be automatically set to 30 minutes. When the instant pot beeps, release the pressure naturally (NPR).

Kala Chana Instant Pot

Kala chana curry are almost ready, just stir in amchur or dry mango powder. You can also add lemon juice if you don’t have amchur powder.

Garnish with cilantro and kala chana curry is ready to be served with rice or roti.

Kala Chana Instant Pot


Punjabi Kala Chana / Black Chickpeas Curry - Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
Kala Chana is a mildly spiced black chickpeas curry made in instant pot. This is a simple everyday Punjabi curry, made in a onion-tomato gravy with ginger and garlic.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: North Indian
Diet: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Method: Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
Servings: 4
Calories: 250 kcal
Author: Piping Pot Curry
  1. Wash kala chana and soak for 4 hours or overnight in 3 cups of water.
  2. Grind ginger, garlic and green chili to a paste.
  3. Start the instant pot in sauté mode. Heat oil in it and add cumin seeds to it.
  4. When the cumin seeds start to splutter, add chopped onion and ginger, garlic, chili paste. Sauté for 3 minutes.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and spices. Mix and sauté for 2 minutes.
  6. Drain the soaking water from kala chana. Add kala chana and 2 cups of fresh water to the instant pot.
  7. Change the instant pot setting to bean/chili mode. This will automatically set the timer to 30 minutes.
  8. When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally (NPR). If the pin has not dropped after 20 minutes, release the pressure manually.
  9. Open the instant pot and add amchur or dry mango powder to it. Stir well for 1 minute.
  10. Garnish with cilantro. Kala Chana curry is ready to be served with rice or roti.
Recipe Notes
  • Add 2 cups of chopped spinach or kale after the kala chana preparation in this recipe. Let it boil for a minute and enjoy it as a soup.
  • Traditional punjabi style, Kala Chana Curry is soupy and a has extra liquid, as it is mostly enjoyed with rice. If you like it to be less soupy, you can reduce the amount of water for cooking to 1.5 cups. 
Nutrition Facts
Punjabi Kala Chana / Black Chickpeas Curry - Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
Amount Per Serving
Calories 250 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Sodium 1239mg 52%
Potassium 661mg 19%
Total Carbohydrates 38g 13%
Dietary Fiber 10g 40%
Sugars 8g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 13.3%
Vitamin C 20.2%
Calcium 9%
Iron 22.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.


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8 thoughts on “Punjabi Kala Chana / Black Chickpeas Curry – Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

    1. Hey Nina – If you want to make this like a dry chaat, then it would be good to boil the chana and potatoes separately, as their cooking times are different. If you want to make it like a curry, then make the kala chana as in the recipe with 2 cups water for 25 minutes at high pressure. Then open and add cut potatoes and pressure cook for 3-5 mins or you can also just cook them on saute mode (that can help the curry to completely dry). Hope that helps!

  1. This worked out wonderfully. My kids and wife loved it. Thank you for posting instant pot recipes. My mom used a regular pressure cooker and I’ve never really got the hang of it. I’m going to try your rajma recipe next. Tx. Ash from Canada.. and I’m going to post this in my Fbook group.

    1. Thanks for sharing back, Ash. I am glad your family enjoyed it. Stovetop pressure cookers are definitely more clunky. I have used them a lot and am relieved to have the instant pot which I don’t have to babysit. I would love to hear how you like the Rajma 🙂

  2. I followed this pretty much exactly, but with 1.5 cups chana and 3 cups water. The NPR took forever so I gave up and released pressure after 35 minutes of waiting for the pin to drop. The flavors were wonderful but I thought the beans were a little undercooked and gritty. Is that the texture they are supposed to be or should I cook longer?

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and sharing your feedback, Bonnie.

      If you felt the chickpeas were undone, I suggest to add 10 more mins on manual high pressure next time. You could also soak the chickpeas for longer, if you did not already soak overnight. A lot depends on the quality of chickpeas.

      It is usually okay to wait 20 mins and if the pin has still not dropped, release the pressure manually. I will update this and future recipes to mention that.

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