Instant Pot Chana Masala

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Master Chef
Nov 21, 2018
Woodbury, NJ
This is simply spicy chickpeas, and the term can be used to refer to the dish, or the spice mix used to make the dish, which is different everywhere, of course.

This isn't quite made entirely in the Instant Pot, but almost, and if I had made up a generous batch of that spice mix in advance, which I may do in the future, it would be entirely in the IP.

I first soaked the chickpeas overnight - not necessary, but helps keep the skin on, plus the baking soda helps with the gas! Then cooked them briefly - much longer if not soaked.

1 1/4 c dry chickpeas
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tb kosher salt
6 c water

Mix well, and soak overnight. Rinse well, and place in the IP, with 6 pieces of black kokum (optional - didn't really flavor it much - just the color-more sour from the pomegranate seeds), 5 c water, and 2 tsp salt. set on manual/pressure for 15 minutes, and let pressure release naturally.
Cooked chick peas, dark from the kokum in the water. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Meanwhile, make the masala:

measure out the following spices, while heating up the toasting pan over medium heat (my method for doing this, so I start with the hot pan) -
4 black cardamom pods
2" piece of Sri Lankan cinnamon, broken up
1 large, or 2 medium tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
5 whole cloves
10 black peppercorns
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp pomegranate seeds (anardana)
1 tsp ajwain seeds
4 whole kashmiri or byadagi chilis
Toss the spices in the heated up pan for about 2 minutes, until well toasted, but not burned. Cool, then grind.

3/4 tsp turmeric, to be ground with the toasted spices

Spices for chana masala by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Spices for chana masala, toasted. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Ground up spices, for chana masala. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Next, release any pressure in the IP (shouldn't be any), drain the chickpeas, saving some of the liquid (I only used about a cup of it for this, but it's still good).

The remaining ingredients:

3 tb oil
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped, or a 14 1/2 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 lb low fat ground beef (optional, if a vegetarian dish, cook more chickpeas with it)
salt, to adjust flavor
amchur powder, or lemon juice, to adjust the sour

Chopped cilantro, minced ginger, and chopped onion, for garnish, as desired.

Heat oil on sauté in IP, and cook the ginger and garlic a minute or so, then add onion, and cook about 5 minutes, until it starts to brown; add the meat, and cook until red is gone, chopping up any large pieces.
Spices added to the meat mix, for chana masala. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Add masala, and cook, stirring, until aromatic, and totally mixed up with the meat, then add the tomatoes, and mix well. Turn off, then on sauté/low, to cook a few minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the chickpeas, adding a little of the chana cooking liquid, to make it a little liquidy (it will cook down), bring it to a fast simmer, then turn off, and on slow cook fast mode - this keeps it at a fairly fast simmer, without needing constant attention. Adjust the salt, and let it simmer for 15-20 min. (I put a splatter screen over it here). Adjust the flavor of the salt, and the sour here (with the amchur or lemon juice), mash a little of the chickpeas in it, to thicken it, if desired, and serve with roti, naan, or over rice, with some cilantro, chopped onion, and/or minced ginger.
Finished chana masala, with tomatoes fairly broken down. by pepperhead212, on Flickr
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