Treat your family to the exotic flavors of India with this homemade chana masala Instant Pot recipe!
This spicy recipe tastes like it’s been slow-simmered for hours. No one will believe you made this in just one pot, and in under 30 minutes! The comforting and satisfying dish is made with all vegetables, but is rich enough to serve as an entree!
What is Chana Masala?
Chana masala is roughly translated as “spicy chickpeas,” which are the main ingredient in this richly seasoned dish. Think of it as Indian comfort food!
Other ingredients typically include tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, and a generous quantity of garam masala, a spice mixture. Garam masala combines warming, savory and aromatic spices and has a different flavor profile from savory curry powder in that it tends to include more cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, or mace.
Instant Pot Chana Masala
- Who needs meat when chana masala is on the menu? Protein-packed chickpeas are a great meat substitute and filling enough to serve as a main entree, especially for vegetarians.
- Low-calorie and healthy chana masala doesn’t need to be cooked with fats or oil and is a great dish for dieters.
- Chana masala is traditionally made with dried chickpeas, but this version uses canned chickpeas so there’s no need to soak the beans or cook for long.
- This dish tastes luxurious enough to impress company, but is quick and easy enough to make for everyday meals!
- This is the perfect dish for the Instant Pot because pressure cooking quickly infuses mild-flavored chickpeas with intense flavor. It’s a quick, easy-to-prep one-pot dish.
- Serve chana masala as a side dish with peanut chicken, or as a main entree over basmati or jasmine rice.
Ingredients and Variations
Chickpeas – Use canned chickpeas for maximum convenience, or try the recipe with dried chickpeas if you want to avoid cans. To prepare for the recipe, they will need to be soaked overnight, then cooked for 45 minutes on high in the Instant Pot.
Garam Masala – This spice mixture gives a distinctive flavor to this dish, but go ahead and use curry powder instead if that’s what you have on hand. They will still be “spicy chickpeas.”
Tomatoes – Canned diced tomatoes work best, but you can use, whole, sauced, or pureed canned tomatoes as well. Fresh plum tomatoes are also an excellent option.
Additions & Garnishes – Add some green to this dish if you wish. Fresh or frozen spinach or peas add color and flavor, and can be tossed in at the end after releasing the pressure, but while the pot is still hot. Top with creamy yogurt and sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro, parsley, or green onion.
How to Make Chana Masala in the Instant Pot
- Set the Instant Pot to “Saute” and cook onion, garlic, and ginger as per the recipe below.
- Add water and seasonings and scrape the pan, then add the rest of the ingredients.
- Adjust the setting pressure cook-normal, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Release the pressure, then remove the lid and stir.
- Serve over rice or homemade bread, and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Leftovers will taste even better the next day as the flavors intensify. Store chana masala in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, and in the freezer for up to two months. Reheat on the stovetop on medium heat, and take care when microwaving chickpeas, as they tend to explode.
Instant Pot Chana Masala
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 cans chickpeas (16 ounces) drained & rinsed
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
- Heat the olive oil using the Instant Pot Saute function. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until tender.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute.
- Deglaze the pan by adding the water and scraping any browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon.
- Add the garam masala, cumin, and coriander. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the chickpeas and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine. Attach the Instant Pot lid and set it to Pressure Cook-Normal for 15 minutes. Make sure the valve is in the “sealing” position.
- When the Instant Pot has finished cooking, carefully turn the valve to the “venting” position and allow the pressure to release.
- Remove the lid and stir the chana masala. Serve with rice and fresh cilantro. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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