Chana Masala or Chole Masala Recipe | Learn how to make Chole Masala(Stove-Top/Indian pressure Cooker Recipe)
Chana Masala is one of the most popular Indian curry made with Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans in spicy onion and tomato masala.
An easy to make, a crowd pleaser curry that goes well with your favourite bread and rice.
Here is a detailed post on How to make your favourite Chickpeas Curry(North Indian Style) in Pressure Cooker the traditional Indian way.
- What is Chole Masala or Chana Masala
- My Love for Chole Masala /Chana Masala
- Ingredients to make Chana Masala or Chole Masala
- Can we used Canned Chickpeas to make Chole Masala
- How to make Chana Masala/Chole Masala using Bhuna Masala
- Can we Cook Chana Masala in Instant Pot
- What if I forgot to soak Chickpeas overnight or there is less time to soak..
- Why it is important to Pre-soak Chickpeas
- Do we need to add baking soda boiling Kabuli Chana/Chickpeas
- How to make Chana Masala
- Serving Suggestions
- Storing the leftovers and Shelf life
- Recipe card
What is Chole Masala or Chana Masala
Masala Chole or Chana Masala are Kabuli Chana or Chickpeas cooked in spicy, tangy paste of onions, tomato, ginger and garlic in spices and herbs. This is one of the most popular vegetarian dishes in Northern India.
Cholay Masala or Chole Masala is a completely Vegan and Gluten-free North Indian curry which is prepared in almost every household for weekend lunch, on festivals or special occasions and served in restaurants. Chole Chawal is a popular street food in Delhi and Northern India.
It is not only a North Indian favourite but also relished by people in different parts of India. It has become an International favourite too.
Other variations of Chana Masala from the blog which you may love to try
Nutritional value of Chickpeas
Due to its high fiber and protein content and various other nutritional benefits, chickpeas are one of the most popular food items preferred by vegetarians/ vegans all around the world. Also known as Garbanzo Beans, it also forms an important part of gluten-free diets.
Chickpeas are budget friendly and can be stored for quite a long time. It can used for making curries, added to salads(Vegan Chickpea Salad) or served as snacks(Baked Chickpeas, used in making Pulao(Kabuli Chana and Spinach Pulao)
Apart from the Indian subcontinent(especially India and Pakistan), chickpeas are widely used in other cuisines especially in Mediterranean cuisine or Central Asian Countries.
My Love for Chole Masala /Chana Masala
This Chana Masala recipe is my mom's recipe and I naturally learned from her. "Nobody makes as my mom" we all say and especially when we miss mom-made food!! We swear by Ma ke haat ka khaana!! There is a special kind of emotional bond with some dishes, no matter wherever we go, by just hearing their name only memories take us to our good old childhood days!!!
How many of you have this feeling /connection with Chole Chawal, Rajma Chawal, Kadhi Chawal and other any recipes? The recipe for these dishes is almost the same in every house with one or two variations but it is the special touch of mother's hand that makes these dishes so special for all of us!!! Chole Chawal (Chickpeas curry with steamed rice) is one of such dish for me.
Ingredients to make Chana Masala or Chole Masala
Every household has a different way of making Chole Masala. Here is my way of making Chana Masala in Onion Tomato Masala.
You can use Bhuna Masala to make it. Check out the section below on How to make Chole Masala using Bhuna Masala.
To Boil Chickpeas
Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans or Kabuli Chana- Use good quality chickpeas. I have used dried chickpeas in the recipe. Soak chickpeas overnight or at least 4-5 hrs.
To add the characteristic color to chickpeas you can add tea bag or dried or fresh Amla/Indian Gooseberry. If you do not want to add tea bags then you can also use dried pomegranate peel it also adds color to chickpeas
Optional-Whole Spices- Bay Leaf, Cinnamon stick, Black Cardamom, Cloves and Black Peppercorns.
Many people do not add whole spices while cooking chickpeas or add it while making onion tomato masala. My mom always added whole spices while pressure cooking chickpeas as according to her the chickpeas get more flavour from the whole spices when boiled along with it.
There are recipes that use baking soda while boiling chickpeas but I avoid it. If you want you can add 1/4 tsp.
For Onion Tomato Masala
Onion (use red onions), Tomatoes, Ginger, Garlic, Green Chillies, spices like Red Chilli Powder, Coriander Powder, Chana Masala powder.
Chana Masala powder is a special spice mix for Chana Masala curry. It is a blend of whole dry spices like Bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and dried pomegranate seeds or dry mango powder(amchur).
If you do not have Chana Masala then you can use Garam Masala along with 1/4 tsp of Dry Mango Powder(Amchur).
Will soon update the recipe for Chole Masala Spice Mix.
Can we used Canned Chickpeas to make Chole Masala
Canned Chickpeas can be conveniently used to make Chana Masala. Use these cuts down the soaking time and cooking time. Ideal for those who ware pressed on time or when unannounced guests arrive or you have Chana Masala cravings and no time soak the chickpeas.
Drain the liquid from the canned chickpeas and rinse it in water 2-3 times.
Then add canned chickpeas to the onion tomato masala and pressure cook for about 10 mins.
Let the pressure release naturally. Check the chickpeas for softness and gravy for the consistency.
For the recipe take 2 15 Oz. cans of canned chickpeas.
How to make Chana Masala/Chole Masala using Bhuna Masala
With Bhuna masala you can save time in making onion tomato masala. Bhuna masala is very handy when we are short on on time. I make batch of bhuna masala and freeze it in small portions when I know that coming days are going to be busy.
Take 1 Cup Bhuna Masala for 3 cups of boiled or 2 15 Oz. canned chickpeas
To make Chole Masala, boil chickpeas as explained in the method above. Or, you can also used canned chickpeas.
In a pan heat 1 tsp oil, take bhuna masala about 2-3 tbsp.
Adjust the dry spices like coriander powder, red chilli powder and add chana masala powder.
Add water and cook masala for 2-3 mins.
Now add boiled chickpeas mix nicely , adjust the consistency of gravy cover and cook for 5-10 mins.
When using canned chickpeas you can make it directly in pressure cooker. Add bhuna masala, adjust the spices, add drained and rinsed canned chickpeas. Adjust the amount of water and salt and pressure cook for 10 mins.
Can we Cook Chana Masala in Instant Pot
Instant Pot is one of the most convenient ways to make Chana Masala. Cooking chickpeas on stove top takes a lot of time, around 1-2 hrs.
Cooking in IP cuts down the time and it is a much more convenient way to cook if you do not have Indian style Pressure Cooker.
Ever since I bought my IP I have been making Chana Masala in my IP only.
What if I forgot to soak Chickpeas overnight or there is less time to soak..
If you have canned chickpeas in your pantry then you can use it for making the curry. But many places (in India) canned chickpeas are not easily accessible or are very costly Here instant/quick soaking comes in picture.
If you have forgotten to soak chickpeas(or any beans/legumes) overnight or don't have canned ones too, then this trick definitely works.
Wash chickpeas. Heat water till tiny bubbles start to come. Take about 3 cups for 1 cup of Chickpeas.
Add 1/2 tsp salt to it and add chickpeas in boiling water. Switch off the gas and cover with a fitting lid. Leave it undisturbed for about 30 mins-1 hr.
When ready to make, drain the beans and discard the water in which you soaked chickpeas. Add fresh water and pressure cook chickpeas.(See recipe card)
You can also use the pressure cooker in which you will be making chickpeas. Remember to take out the pressure whistle and cover the whistle holder with some bowl so that the steam doesn't escape.
Why it is important to Pre-soak Chickpeas
Chickpeas need to be softened before we boil. Pre-soaking helps in reducing the cooking time. It also make Chickpeas more gut friendly. Directly cooking chickpeas without presoaking leads to digestive and gastric issues. So it is always better to pre-soak overnight or quick soak at least for an hour. Always remember to discard the water in which you soaked chickpeas.
Do we need to add baking soda boiling Kabuli Chana/Chickpeas
I do not add baking soda while cooking chickpeas. Soak chickpeas well for about 5-7 hrs. Properly soaked chickpeas cook nicely.
If you are running short of time and pre soaking in hot water then you can add a pinch.
How to make Chana Masala
Pressure Cook Chickpeas
Drain water from soaked chickpeas, transfer to pressure cooker.
Add water, about 2 cups for 1 cup of chickpeas.
Let the water boil. Some froth will accumulate on top, remove that and add whole spices, salt and tea bag or dried or fresh Amla/Indian Gooseberry or dried pomegranate peel.
Close the lid, let one or 2 whistles come on high flame. Lower the flame and cook for about 15-20 mins.
After that switch off the flame and let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid discard the tea bag or pomegranate peel and check chickpeas. It should be soft and easily smashed with spoon.
Make Onion Tomato Masala
Make paste of ginger garlic and green chilli.
You can also add store-bought ginger garlic paste. Grind green chillies with onions.
Puree tomatoes. Use store bought tomato sauce or puree if fresh tomatoes are not available.
In a pan or kadhai, heat oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds crackle, add ginger garlic and green chilli paste. Sauté it for a minute.
Add onion paste and cook till it starts turning light brown. Take care not to burn the onion. Add 1-2 tbsp water of the onion paste is sticking to the pan.
Once onions are cooked, add tomato puree. Cook till tomatoes start to leave oil.
Add the dry spices and mix nicely.
Now add cooked chickpeas. Adjust the amount of water if chickpeas are too dry or gravy is thick. Do not add too much water as the gravy will be watery.
Simmer the flame cover the pan with lid and cook the curry for 1 mins. Stir in between.
Serve hot with your favourite bread or rice.
The curry gets thick after 1-2 hrs of making, as chickpeas absorb water. Adjust the consistency of gravy before serving it.
Chole Masala is one of the popular party menu item as it is easy to make and a crowd pleaser and pair up with rice and chapatis and any other Indian curry.
My mom also made a drier variation of this Chole Masala with less gravy for our birthday parties and served it with tangy tamarind(Imli) chutney and Cilantro(Coriander/Dhania) Chutney along with some crushed Mathri / Papdi)...feeling nostalgic !!! My kids too enjoy Chole this way, topped with papdi and sev, along with chutneys.
In U.P and Delhi region, Aloo Tikkis are also served with Chana Masala along with yoghurt and chutneys. Another Chaat with Aloo Samosas 'Chole Samosa Chaat' is very popular and mostly served in restaurants.
Storing the leftovers and Shelf life
You can make Chole Masala a day ahead of your parties . I prefer making it fresh on the same day. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an air tight container.
You can also freeze the curry in portions for about 1-2 weeks. Thaw in refrigerator a few hrs before reheating it.
Reheat in microwave on High for 1-2 mins. Add little water to adjust the consistency.
Or, reheat on stove in a pan.
Do not freeze again the reheated curry.
Chana Masala/Chole Masala
- Pressure cooker
- Measuring Bowls and spoons
- Grinder to for onion and tomato paste/puree
- Mixing bowl to soak chickpeas
- Pan/Kadhai to mak masala
- 1.5 Cups Dried Chickpeas
- 1 tsp Salt(or as required) to boil chickpeas
- 1 Tea Bag or 1-2 dried amla/pomograte peel(small)
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Cinnamon Stick(small)
- 1 Black Cardamom
- 4-5 Black Peppercorns
- 4-5 Cloves
For Onion Tomato Masala
- 2 Onions(Medium)
- 3-4 Tomatoes(Medium)
- 4-5 Garlic Cloves
- Ginger small piece
- 1-2 Green Chillies as required
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1-2 tsp Coriander Powder
- Red Chilli Powder as required
- 1-2 tbsp Chana Masala store bought or homemade
- 2 tbsp Oil
- Fresh Cilantro/Coriander Leaves for garnish
Cooking/Boiling Chickpeas to make Chole Masala
- Wash nicely and soak chickpeas in about 3 cups or enough water.1.5 Cups Dried Chickpeas
- Drain water from soaked chickpeas, transfer to pressure cooker.
- Add water, about 2 cups for 1 cup of chickpeas.
- Let the water boil. Some froth will accumulate on top, remove that and add whole spices, salt and tea bag or dried or fresh Amla/Indian Gooseberry or dried pomegranate peel.1 tsp Salt(or as required), 1 Tea Bag, 1 Bay Leaf, 1 Cinnamon Stick(small), 1 Black Cardamom, 4-5 Black Peppercorns, 4-5 Cloves
- Close the lid, let one or 2 whistles come on high flame. Then lower the flame and cook for about 15-20 mins.
- After that switch off the flame and let the pressure release naturally.
- Open the lid discard the tea bag or pomegranate peel and check chickpeas. It should be soft and easily smashed with spoon.
Make Onion Tomato Masala for Chole Masala
- Make paste of ginger garlic and green chilli.4-5 Garlic Cloves, Ginger, 1-2 Green Chillies
- You can also add store bought ginger garlic paste. Grind green chillies with onions.
- Grind onions to fine paste or chop it very finely.2 Onions(Medium)
- Puree tomatoes. You can also use store bought tomato sauce or puree. Adjust the amount accordingly.3-4 Tomatoes(Medium)
- In a pan or kadhai, heat oil and add cumin seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add ginger garlic and green chilli paste. Sauté it for minute.1 tsp Cumin Seeds, 2 tbsp Oil
- Add onion paste and cook it till it starts turning light brown. Take care not to burn the onion. Add 1-2 tbsp water of the onion paste is sticking to the pan.
- Once onions are cooked, add tomato puree. Mix and cook till tomatoes start to leave oil.
- Add the dry spices and mix nicely.1-2 tsp Coriander Powder, Red Chilli Powder, 1-2 tbsp Chana Masala
Make curry(mix masala and boiled chickpeas)
- Now add cooked chickpeas. Adjust the amount of water if chickpeas are too dry or gravy is thick. Do not add too much water as the gravy will be watery.
- Simmer the flame cover the pan with lid and cook the curry for 1 mins. Stir in between.
- Serve hot with your favourite bread or rice.
- The curry gets thick after 1-2 hrs of making, as chickpeas absorb water. Adjust the consistency of gravy before serving it.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves just before serving.Fresh Cilantro/Coriander Leaves for garnish
Some other recipes with chickpeas from the blog
Do try this delicious Chole Masala Curry and remember to give your feedback. If you have any queries or questions on the recipes please do ask in the comments section.
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