Kala Chana is a mildly spiced black chickpea curry made in the instant pot or a stovetop pressure cooker. This is a simple everyday Punjabi curry made in an onion-tomato gravy with ginger and garlic. Instant Pot Kala Chana is so easy to prepare and yet so delicious.

Punjabi Kala Chana or Black Chickpeas Curry made in Instant Pot. A homestyle mild spiced curry, best enjoyed with rice
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I recently talked to a colleague, and she mentioned that we like Indian food but don’t want to have it frequently as it is very fatty and 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 for cooking 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.

If you want to cook Kala Chana for Navratri without onion and garlic, check out my Sookha Kala Chana recipe. Or, if you like to make a chaat/salad, check out this delicious Black Chickpea Salad with avocados.

Want to find other easy Instant Pot Indian Recipes? Here are 29 Best Instant Pot Indian Vegetarian Recipes for you to try! 

Watch How to Make Punjabi Kala Chana

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 is 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, curries, or even salads, to get the benefits.

Curious about pulses used in Indian cooking? Check out my detailed guide about Indian Pulses.

How to make Kala Chana Curry in Instant Pot?

The first step in preparing kala chana is washing and soaking it in ample water for 6 hours or overnight.  Soaking is important for kala chana as they are otherwise pretty hard on the digestive system.

Before starting to cook, dice the ginger, garlic, and green chili (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, ginger, garlic, and chili. 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).

Instant Pot Kala Chana Curry. Black Chickpeas Steps

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

How to make Kala Chana Curry in Stovetop Pressure Cooker?

Traditionally, Kala Chana was cooked separately with salt, then tempering was done separately in a pan. Here I suggest a one-pot method, so the kala chana and tempering with ginger, garlic, onions, and tomatoes cooks along with the chickpeas.

The main difference from the above method for instant pot is the pressure cooking time on the stovetop. We will pressure cook on high flame until two whistles, then reduce to medium flame and cook for another 12 minutes.  Everything else remains the same.

Punjabi Kala Chana or Black Chickpeas Curry made in Instant Pot. A homestyle mild spiced curry, best enjoyed with rice

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

Here are some other recipes you might enjoy:

4.82 from 48 votes

Punjabi Kala Chana / Black Chickpeas Curry

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.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup Black Chickpeas (Kala Chana), 250 ml
  • 3 cup Water, for soaking
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 1 Onion, medium diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 Tomato, medium chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Green Chili Pepper, minced (optional)
  • 1″ Ginger, minced (or 1 teaspoon Ginger paste)
  • 5 cloves Garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon Garlic paste)
  • 2 cups Water, for cooking
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mango powder (Amchur), (can be replaced with lemon juice)
  • Cilantro, to garnish

Spices

Instructions 

  • Wash chickpeas and soak for 6 hours or overnight in 3 cups of water. The chickpeas will increase in size when they are soaked. 

Instant Pot Method

  • Start the instant pot in sauté mode and let it heat. Add oil, cumin seeds to it.
  • When the cumin seeds start to splutter, add chopped onion, ginger, garlic and chili pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and spices. Stir and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Drain the soaking water from kala chana. Add kala chana and 2 cups of fresh water to the instant pot.
  • Change the instant pot setting to bean/chili mode. This will automatically set the timer to 30 minutes.
  • When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally (NPR). If the pin has not dropped after 20 minutes, release the pressure manually.
  • Open the instant pot and add amchur (dry mango powder) to it. Stir well for a minute.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Kala Chana curry is ready to be served with rice or roti.

Stovetop Pressure Cooker Method

  • Heat oil in the pressure cooker on medium-high flame. 
  • Add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to splutter, add chopped onion, ginger, garlic and chili pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and spices. Stir and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  • Drain the soaking water from kala chana. Add kala chana and 2 cups of fresh water to the pressure cooker.
  • Cover the lid, turn the heat on high flame and pressure cook it until your hear two whistles. Now reduce the flame to medium and pressure cook it for another 12 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. 
  • Open the lid, add amchur (dry mango powder) and stir well for a minute.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Kala Chana curry is ready to be served with rice or roti. 

Video

Notes

Add greens: 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.
Soupy? 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. 
Green Chili Pepper: I typically use Thai, Birdeye or Serrano Chili Pepper in my recipes. Don’t forget to adjust to your taste. 
Using Bhuna Masala: You can use 1/2 cup of Bhuna Masala in place of the onion, tomatoes, ginger and garlic in this recipe. Add the oil and cumin seeds. Then add the Bhuna Masala and saute for a minute. Then add spices and follow the recipe. 

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 11gFat: 6gSodium: 658mgPotassium: 661mgFiber: 10gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 665IUVitamin C: 16.7mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 4mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: North Indian
Diet: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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4.82 from 48 votes (38 ratings without comment)

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51 Comments

      1. Hi Vinay – I would cook for 50 minutes on high pressure. If you have even 30 minutes, you can soak the kala chana in boiling hot water.

    1. Hi Mehboob – I have not tried the frozen Kala Chana yet, but if they are precooked, then pressure cook for only 5 minutes. Would love to hear back if you try!

  1. Just wanted to say I use this recipe every time I make this dish, it has become a staple for me. Thank you for all the detailed instructions especially the cool time with the instant pot!

  2. Hello, thanks for the recipe! When does one add garam masala in the instant pot method – its in the ingredients but not in the method. Thanks

    1. Hi Ayush – I add the Garam Masala will all the other spices. However if you prefer, you can add it at the end after pressure cooking the Kala Chana too.