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Chana masala is a tomato-based Indian chickpea curry served with rice or flatbread. It’s vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free, and this quick Instant Pot chana masala is an easy dinner recipe for busy weeknights. If you’d like to try an easy Indian recipe for kids, chana masala is a perfect starting point!
Indian food is amazing. I’m probably biased – growing up, I ate Indian food probably 6 days a week. Still, the flavors and textures are so fresh and vibrant. It’s one of my favorite reasons to visit India!
My family is from South India – land of dosas and idlis and thick stews. We often attended Indian cultural events, though, most of which were potluck. Chana masala, or chole, which hails from Northern India, was a very popular offering. As I grew older, my mom began to incorporate some of these dishes from other parts of India into our home cooking. This chickpea curry was a favorite with the whole house. And while it’s vegetarian, it’s hearty enough that even meat eaters will love it.
Instant Pot Chole
Indian food can take a long time to cook – this chickpea stew traditionally simmers for several hours on the stove. With 4 kids, work, school, and activities, though, I rarely have time to babysit a pot of beans. I’d made (and loved) Deb’s version for years but wanted something even simpler, something I could throw together and that would be waiting, warm, after baseball or music lessons.
If you’re looking for an easy dinner recipe, this Instant Pot chana masala comes together in a flash, and is healthy to boot. And most importantly, it’s delicious. This chickpea curry is easy to prepare as mild or as spicy as you’d like, so it’s perfect for the whole family. And with all that time you saved, you can enjoy a little conversation about India with the Global Learning Guide over some mango lassis!
Instant Pot Chana Masala Recipe (Indian Chickpea Curry)
Adapted from here
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 heaping t garlic powder)
1 t ground ginger
2 t ground cumin
2 t ground coriander
1 t ground turmeric
1 t garam masala
2 t paprika (I like smoked)
1 t salt
2 cups tomatoes, chopped, or 1 15-oz can of whole tomatoes with juices, chopped
2 cups dried chickpeas
4 cups water
1/2 lemon, juiced
- Turn Instant Pot on sauté setting and add oil. When hot, add onions and cook until translucent.
- Add garlic and cook for another minute until golden.
- Pour in all the spices and toast for about 1 minute, stirring. Do not let burn.
- Include tomatoes and dried chickpeas and stir until well coated.
- Pour in water and change setting to manual high pressure. Make sure vent is sealed and set to cook for 50 minutes.
- Release pressure manually when done cooking, and add lemon juice and additional salt if needed. Eat with rice or flatbread (naan, roti, and poori are all good choices). Curry will be even better the next day (should it last that long), and also freezes well.