Channa masala is a popular north Indian chickpea curry that is flavored with garam masala and onion tomato gravy. Its a hearty, vegan, gluten free one pot meal perfect with rice or rotis or just chilli style.
Chickpea is a popular legume around the world especially in the mid- east and south east Asian countries. Its high in protein and high in fiber making it a very important ingredient for vegetarians.
Growing up in Bhopal I for the first time tasted the fresh green chickpea from the pod and it tastes amazing. Alternatively it can be boiled with salt and pepper as well. The pods will pop right open with just a little press. Each pod holds just one or two chickpeas and it can be a super fun activity with kids. Its a inexpensive and nutritious snack that is easy to make and store.
Its also known as chole or chholay. Its prepared many different ways but the main ingredients but the popuar chole masala is prepared with chickpea, chana or kala chana, onion tomato gravy and spices mix. The sourness from the tomatoes and mango powder adds depth to the gravy.
This is a easy weeknight menu and can be done with little preparation. I usually soak my channa in bulk and freeze it in small batches. This helps me get a head start and whip up choole anytime. Now if you are like me you probably have some garam masala handy. These days it is not hard to find caned channa in the super market so you can also use that.
So, all you need to do is grind up onion tomato, add the whole masala and ginger garlic paste and cook it up with the chole for 20-30 mins and garnish it fresh cut ginger and coriander leaves. Serve it with hot rotis or rice. I have tasted many varies of chole and love each in its own right. Now this dish can hardly be made bad its that simple.
Even kids have grown to like it. My Older one is getting better with eating different cuisines and her spice tolerance has also gotten better… ufff its such a relief… Being a spice lover I always worry about how to get kids to try and enjoy the flavors….. so there is still hope for me LOL…
- Channa soaked 2 cups
- Moong dal 2 tbs
- Onion 2 medium
- Tomato 2 medium
- Ginger-garlic paste
- Green chillis – 3-4 slit
- Garam masala 2 tsp
- Turmuric powder 1 tsp
- Amchoor powder 2 tsp
- Cumin Powder 2 tsp
- Coriander powder 3 tsp
- Bay leaf 1-2
- Cinnamon – 1 stick
- Cloves 3-4 nos
- Cardamom – 3 nos
- Fennel seeds – 2tsp
- Fresh Coriander for garnish
- Soak channa dal for 5-8 hrs or you can use 2 cans of canned chickpeas.
- Set InstantPot to saute mode and when it heats up add the oil and add fennel seeds.
- Once it starts to crackle add in all of the whole spices – cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf and cook till the masalas start releasing the aroma.
- Then add the chopped or grated garlic-ginger, the slit green chillis, chopped onions and tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes
- Add in all the masala powders – amchoor powder, coriander powder, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir in once.
- Add the soaked chickpeas to the mix and add water as needed to adjust consistency and add enough salt.
- Turn InstantPot to Bean/chilli mode and cook for 40 mins or so and let the pressure release naturally for at least 15 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure.
- Turn on the saute function again and add in the garam masala and give it a quick mix. Let the chole simmer for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves
- Chole Masala is best served with a dab of butter on top with basmati rice , some naan, and thick yogurt.
Stove top method:
- Soak channa dal for 5-8 hrs or you can use 2 cans of canned chickpeas. Cook the soaked chickpea with some moong dal, salt and whole spices (optional) for 3-4 whistles in pressure cooker
- Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-low heat and add the oil and add fennel seeds. Once it starts to crackle add in all of the whole spices – cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf and cook till the masalas start releasing the aroma.
- Then add the chopped or grated garlic-ginger and the slit green chillis. Cook for 1-2 minutes till the garlic is cooked. ( make sure to cook in low flame as garlic could burn quickly)
- Now add in the chopped onions and tomatoes and cook for about 5-10 minutes until translucent and soft.
- Once done, add in the masala powders – amchoor powder, coriander powder, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir in and let cook for 10 more seconds.
- Add the boiled chickpeas to the mix and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes in low to medium flame stirring occasionally.
- Add water as needed to adjust consistency and adjust the salt. Then add in the garam masala and give it a quick mix. Let the chole simmer for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves
- Choole Masala is best served with a dab of butter on top with basmati rice , some naan, and thick yogurt.
- If are unable to not soak the channa for 8 hrs simply add hot water to channa and let it soak for 2-3 hrs. That should do the trick. That is what I did for this recipe.
- But for best results it is better to soak it overnight.
- Usually potaos are added to the dish to give it the consistency. You can also replace moong dal with potatoes if you want to avoid potatoes.
- Mash up the channa after it is cooked for give the gravy a bit more body.
- Also note that the gravy thickens as the channa masala cools down so do not make it too thick