instant pot kala chana (brown chickpea curry)

  • Author: My Heart Beets
  • Yield: serves 2-3
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian


These brown chickpeas have a “meaty” quality to them. While they do soften after cooking, they don’t absorb much liquid or break down the way other legumes or lentils do. Because of this reason, I only use a little water in this recipe. I enjoy eating this curry over basmati rice.


  • 1 cup brown chickpeas (kala chana), soaked overnight
  • 2 tablespoons oil of choice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger


  • 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried mango powder (amchur)
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala  
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric


  • ½ cup canned tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • Cilantro, garnish


  1. Soak the brown chickpeas in cold water overnight. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  2. Press the sauté button, add the oil and allow it to heat up for a minute. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaf and cumin seeds to the pot. Once the cumin seeds turn brown, add the onions and stir-fry for about 10 minutes, or until the onions begin to brown.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, brown chickpeas, water and mix well.
  4. Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 45 minutes at high pressure.
  5. Naturally release pressure.
  6. If you prefer a thicker curry, you can reduce the liquid by pressing the sauté button once the dish is done.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and serve.