Kala Chana

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Kala chana masala or black chickpeas curry is a popular dish in North Indian cuisine. Black chickpeas are simmered in an onion, tomato-based sauce, and some aromatic Indian spices. Enjoy this flavorful, excellent protein-rich curry over steamed white rice or some naan. This recipe is VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE

 

Kala Chana

 

KALA CHANA [BLACK CHICKPEAS]

Kala chana, or black chickpeas, is a legume, commonly grown around the world. It belongs to the chickpea family and varies in color from brown to black. Color of the chana depends upon the time they are harvested. Green chana are the ones usually harvested early. Color varies from beige to tan and from brown to black. Kala chana is smaller than garbanzo beans.  

We all enjoy this simple, yet nutritious preparation of curry made with chana, rich in protein and fiber. I remember, sometimes my mom used to add some greens to make it more healthy and delicious. I love chana with steamed white rice and some roti on the side.

KALA CHANA [BLACK CHICKPEAS CURRY]

Kala chana masala or black chickpeas curry, is a popular dish in the northern state of Punjab, India. Typically, chana is soaked overnight. Next day it’s boiled and then simmered with onion-tomato sauce. To add flavor to the dish, some aromatic Indian spices are used. Cook the curry until all its flavors are well blended. The preparation of chana is quite similar to Lobia Masala ( Black-eyed peas curry). It takes a little longer to cook chana than lobia, black eyed peas.  

I am sharing my recipe for Kala chana masala. I love to cook chana masala in an Instant pot. You can use soaked or dry beans to make this curry. Please refer to the recipe card, at the end of the post for a complete ingredients list and detailed, step-by-step recipe.

Pic Shown: Kala Chana 

 

Kala Chana

INGREDIENTS FOR KALA CHANA 

1 cup dried Kala chana, soaked overnight or a minimum of 4 hours

2 cups water for pressure cooking

1 medium onion, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 green chili, adjust to taste

1/2 inch ginger, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon Jeera [Cumin Seeds] 

1Tej Patta [Bay Leaf]

1/8 teaspoon hing [asafetida]

2 whole green cardamom

1/8 teaspoon Baking Soda

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, adjust to taste

salt to taste

DRY SPICES

2 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, adjust to taste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon garam masala, adjust to taste

1/2 teaspoon dried mango powder [Amchur powder]

FOR GARNISH

A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Pic Shown: Kala Chana 

 

Kala Chana

 

HOW TO MAKE KALA CHANA 

Preparing for Kala chana ( Black chickpeas curry ) is very easy, the only preparation involved in this recipe is the soaking time. I prefer soaking beans overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours. Soaking the beans reduces the cooking time and enhances the flavors.

There are a couple of ways you can make this Kala chana. First boil the chana, and the cook chana along with onion, tomato gravy. Second, make it as one pot. First prepare the onion-tomato sauce. Next add soaked chana and pressure cook it. Today, I am sharing the one-pot method of Kala chana.

In India, a pressure cooker is used to cook the beans. I remember my mom always used a pressure cooker to cook beans. Cooking beans in a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot is a breeze.

Pic Shown: Kala Chana

 

Kala Chana

 

 

PREP FOR KALA CHANA

Soak the dried chana overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.

Chop all the veggies – onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, keep it aside.

INSTANT POT KALA CHANA 

You will need an Instant Pot

Drain the water from the soaked black chickpeas, rinse and keep it aside.

Turn on SAUTE (more). When the pot displays “HOT”, add oil. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, whole green cardamom, and chopped onions. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, or the onions are translucent.

Add chopped garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds.

Add chopped tomato, ginger, and green chili. Dry spices – coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, dried mango powder. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, or the tomatoes are soft.

Note: Add garam masala after pressure cooking the beans.

Add beans, baking soda, water, and salt to taste. Close the lid with a vent in sealing position.

Turn on PRESSURE COOK (high) for 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally, around 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually.

Open the Instant pot, and check if the beans are soft and cooked. If required, add a few minutes of pressure cooking.

Turn on SAUTE (more), and add garam masala, and lemon juice.

Note: Simmer for a few minutes or to the desired thickness. The sauce thickens as it cools.

Garnish with some fresh coriander. Serve hot with steamed rice, roti, or paratha.

 

kala chana

 

STOVETOP PRESSURE COOKER KALA CHANA 

Follow the recipe as discussed. Close the pressure cooker, after the first whistle, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. The rest of the recipe is the same as Instant pot.

Pic Shown: Instant Pot Kala Chana 

 

Instant Pot Kala Chana

 

 

TIPS FOR DELICIOUS KALA CHANA 

SOAKING KALA CHANA

I prefer soaking chana overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours. Soaking helps reduce the cooking time and enhance the taste and flavor of chana. If using dry beans, double the cooking time.

SAUCE OR GRAVY 

Onion paste or chopped onions, both work fine in this recipe. If using the onion paste, cook the pastedown. Beans absorb flavors from the sauce. Depending upon how flavorful the sauce is, the curry will turn out.

FRESH OR CANNED TOMATOES 

I use fresh and canned tomatoes, depending upon the availability. With canned tomatoes, the sauce turns bright in color.

COOKING TIME

The quality of the beans, and the water used for cooking, affect the cooking time. Please use timing as a guideline, and adjust the cooking time as needed.

CAN I SKIP BAKING SODA 

Baking soda is optional. I find using just a pinch of it helps soften the chickpeas. You can skip baking soda, and increase the cooking time by 15 minutes.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

DO I NEED TO SOAK KALA CHANA

I prefer soaking chana overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours. Soaking helps reduce the cooking time and enhance the taste and flavor of chana. I remember my mom always use to soak beans for good reasons.

Soaking beans helps break down some of the complex sugars. It makes it easier to digest beans. Soaking reduces the cooking time.

Soaking the beans cleans them thoroughly. Soak beans in enough water overnight or for a few hours. Discard the water the beans are soaked in, rinse and use.

Cooking beans can be very tricky at times. Depending upon the quality of the beans, it may take longer to cook even after soaking them overnight.

FORGOT TO SOAK BEANS

Soak the beans in hot water for 45-60 minutes, covered. After 60 minutes, discard the water beans are soaked in, rinse beans with fresh water and they are ready to be used in the recipe.

HOW TO STORE KALA CHANA

Kala chana stays good for 3-5 days in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer.

CAN I FREEZE KALA CHANA

You can freeze chana for up to a month. Transfer the chana to a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag and freeze it. Defrost, reheat and serve.

HOW TO SERVE KALA CHANA

Kala Chana is served over steamed white rice (chawal), some yogurt, and some onion salad.

It pairs well with Gobi Aloo [Cauliflower Potato Curry] as a side dish and some homemade roti (Indian flatbread).

Pic Shown: Kala Chana 

 

Kala Chana

 

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Black Chickpea Curry

Kala Chana Masala ( Black chickpeas curry)

Jyoti Behrani
Kala chana masala or black chickpeas curry, is a popular dish from North Indian cuisine. Black chickpeas are simmered in an onion, tomato base sauce and some aromatic Indian spices. Enjoy this flavorful, excellent protein rich curry over steamed white rice or some naan. This recipe is VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine North Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

INGREDIENTS FOR KALA CHANA

  • 1 cup dried Kala chana, soaked overnight or a minimum of 4 hours
  • 2 cups water for pressure cooking
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green chili, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 inch ginger, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon Jeera [Cumin Seeds] 
  • 1 Tej Patta [Bay Leaf]
  • 1/8 teaspoon hing [asafetida]
  • 2 whole green cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, adjust to taste
  • salt to taste

DRY SPICES

Instructions
 

PREP FOR KALA CHANA

  • Soak the dried chana overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.
  • Chop all the veggies – onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, keep it aside.

INSTANT POT KALA CHANA

  • You will need an Instant Pot
  • Drain the water from the soaked black chickpeas, rinse and keep it aside.
  • Turn on SAUTE (more). When the pot displays “HOT”, add oil. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, whole green cardamom, and chopped onions. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, or the onions are translucent.
  • Add chopped garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add chopped tomato, ginger, and green chili. Dry spices – coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, dried mango powder. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, or the tomatoes are soft.
  • Note: Add garam masala after pressure cooking the beans.
  • Add beans, baking soda, water, and salt to taste. Close the lid with a vent in sealing position.
  • Turn on PRESSURE COOK (high) for 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally, around 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually.
  • Open the Instant pot, and check if the beans are soft and cooked. If required, add a few minutes of pressure cooking.
  • Turn on SAUTE (more), and add garam masala, and lemon juice.
  • Note: Simmer for a few minutes or to the desired thickness. The sauce thickens as it cools.
  • Garnish with some fresh coriander. Serve hot with steamed rice, roti, or paratha.

STOVETOP PRESSURE COOKER KALA CHANA

  • Follow the recipe as discussed. Close the pressure cooker, after the first whistle, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. The rest of the recipe is the same as Instant pot.

Notes

Please refer to the post earlier for the following:
  1. Tips For The Best Kala Chana
  2. Frequently Asked Questions

Disclaimer

Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.

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