Instant Pot Chana Masala is a speedy version of a beloved Indian dish. It's a naturally vegan chickpea curry that's protein-rich and healthy and pairs well with your favourite rice or naan bread.
Chana masala (also known as chole masala) is one of the best-known vegan Indian recipes. The authentic recipe is made on the stovetop, but this Instant Pot chana masala recipe puts dinner on the table super fast.
I use canned chickpeas to make the process even quicker. This Instant Pot chole masala is ready in just 45 minutes, and that includes the time needed for the Instant Pot to build and release pressure.
Chana masala is a one-pot Indian stew that's typically made with onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, chickpeas and a mix of spices that varies from one recipe to another.
While the Instant Pot is perfect for cooking dry chickpeas from scratch, I still like to make this chana masala with canned chickpeas.
That's because using canned chickpeas reduces the cooking time even more. If you have a busy schedule, you already know that every minute counts when it comes to feeding your hungry family.
Ingredients and substitutions
Coconut oil — I use coconut oil for this recipe, but any other plant-based recipe would do. If you don't want to cook with oil, you can saute the onion in some vegetable stock or water. In this case, skip the fennel and cumin seeds as they won't taste good.
Fennel seeds and cumin seeds — This mix of fennel and cumin seeds form the flavour base of the chana masala. You can use just fennel or cumin seeds if you don't have both.
Onion, garlic and ginger — Fresh onion, garlic and ginger are best for chana masala. You won't get the same flavour if you substitute them with frozen versions.
Red chilli pepper — You can substitute this with a green chilli or serrano pepper, or skip it altogether if you don't want your curry to have a bit of a kick.
Ground spices — I use a mix of ground cumin, garam masala, ground coriander, cayenne pepper and ground cinnamon for this chickpea curry. You can add some dried fenugreek leaves or ground turmeric, too, if you want.
Chopped tomatoes — Use the best quality chopped tomatoes you can for this curry because it really makes a difference.
Chickpeas — Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas before using them in this recipe. If you want to use dried chickpeas, soak them for 4 to 6 hours before making the curry and adjust the cooking time to 35 minutes on high pressure and natural release until the pin drops.
How to make Instant Pot Chana Masala?
Start the Instant Pot on saute mode and heat the coconut oil. Add the fennel seeds and cumin seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes until the seeds are sizzling.
Next, add the bay leaves and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until the onion softens.
Stir in the garlic, ginger and red chilli pepper and continue to cook for a minute until fragrant.
Add all the spices and stir well to combine. Cook for another minute, then stir in the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and water.
Turn off the saute setting and set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 5 minutes with the valve in the sealing position.
When the Instant Pot beeps, perform a quick release. When the pin drops, remove the lid and stir in the fresh coriander.
Season to taste and serve over rice or with naan bread.
Recipe notes and tips
- If you're not vegan, you can add some extra flavour to this Instant Pot chickpea curry by using ghee instead of coconut oil.
- If you want a thicker chickpea curry, you can use a potato masher to mash the chickpeas a bit after removing the lid.
- I used a 6-quart Instant Pot to make this recipe, but you can also use a 3-quart one.
If you liked this Instant Pot Chana Masala, you might also like some of my other easy vegan curry recipes:
- Aubergine and Red Lentil Curry
- Pumpkin Tofu Curry
- Jackfruit Rendang Curry
- Butternut Squash Chickpea Curry
- Easy Lentil and Chickpea Curry
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 small red chilli pepper, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 /2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 x 400 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
- 2 x 400 g (14 oz) can chickpeas
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- Fresh coriander, a handful
- Start the Instant Pot on saute mode and heat the coconut oil. Add the fennel seeds and cumin seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes until the seeds are sizzling.
- Next, add the bay leaves and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until the onion softens. Stir in the garlic, ginger and red chilli pepper and continue to cook for a minute until fragrant.
- Add all the spices and stir well to combine. Cook for another minute, then stir in the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and water.
- Turn off the saute setting and set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 5 minutes with the valve in the sealing position.
- When the Instant Pot beeps, perform a quick release. When the pin drops, remove the lid and stir in the fresh coriander. Season to taste and serve over rice or with naan bread.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 367Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 511mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 16gSugar: 13gProtein: 17g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.