Easy Instant Pot Oil-Free Chana Masala Recipe (Chickpea Curry/Punjabi Chhole)

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Easy Instant Pot Oil-Free Chana Masala Recipe (Chickpea Curry/Punjabi Chhole)

Presenting a very quick and easy version of the popular Indian dish, Chana Masala in Instant Pot, which will not just tickle your taste buds but is completely oil free as well! Go ahead and give it a try. You will not regret making this one!

 

Chana Masala is a very popular Indian dish, in which the boiled chickpeas are combined with a blend of sauteed onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic along with some amazing aromatic spices. It is usually served with rice, roti, naan or sometimes Bhatura (soft leavened deep fried Indian bread).

We usually make Chana Masala once a week, and we prefer to eat it with rice, it is a complete meal in itself as rice provides the required carbohydrates and chickpeas are rich in proteins.

The benefits of chickpeas are numerous. They are rich in fiber which makes it a filling choice for a meal. Also, as chickpeas are rich in protein, they are very beneficial for bone health. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals as well. So, for people who are on plant based diet, chickpeas are a very good source of plant based protein.

This particular recipe is exclusively for cooking Chana Masala in an Instant Pot. In this recipe, we have to do some pre-preparation. We need to soak the chickpeas overnight or at least 6 hours in water (Overnight soaking works the best).

Next morning we need to drain the chickpeas and add it to the Instant Pot along with the ingredients mentioned in the recipe. Turn on the instant pot and pressure cook everything and you are done!

Normally, when we follow the usual recipe for Chana Masala, we saute some ingredients (cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes) in around a tablespoon of oil, and then add the drained chickpeas and some water and pressure cook everything in a traditional pressure cooker.

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Well, we can do the same in Instant Pot Saute mode too. But, in this particular recipe we are not going to use even a drop of oil. There is no sauteing of veggies involved, so this recipe is a win-win in terms of time (if we remove the time required for sauteing) and is super healthy as well (since there is no oil being used here).

The one point to highlight here is that we like the chickpeas to be mushy and soft, so I have added the cooking time accordingly. If you want the chickpeas to not be mushy, rather than a little firm, you can reduce the cooking time by around 10 minutes. You can always pressure cook them again for few minutes if you don’t like the texture and want the chickpeas to be more mushy. I like the chickpeas softer as we often have them with rice, and it is also easy for little kids and older people to eat.

Also, the spice level is kept to a less to medium spicy one, so you can adjust it accordingly. I would suggest if you want to increase the spice level, add some more Chana Masala Powder (or Garam Masala Powder).

Once the Instant Pot is done with the pressure cooking and the pressure has released naturally, you can open the lid, adjust the salt and spice level, and most importantly, take a masher (I usually use a Potato Masher) and sparsely mash the chickpeas inside the Instant Pot. You don’t need to mash all the chickpeas, but just do it roughly few times. This helps the curry thicken a bit and give a nice texture. Also, don’t forget to keep the Chana Masala for 5-10 minutes at Saute mode in the end. This again enhances the curry texture.

instant-pot-chana-masala
Instant Pot Oil-Free Chana Masala

So, go ahead and try this recipe if you are looking for a healthy meal which saves on your cooking efforts. This recipe will not disappoint you since the spices add the amazing aroma and flavor to the dish. Serve it with a bowl of rice and you have a healthy and delicious meal!

For this particular recipe, I am assuming you have a basic understanding of how Instant Pot is setup and also basic usage of different modes available on it. You can find YouTube video tutorials for the same.

Also, continuing the tradition, here comes my 24th recipe under My Julie & Julia Project. For those who don’t know, I had started this project last year, under which I had planned to post 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. But since I got busy with other priorities in life, I have planned to continue the tradition in 2020. So, this is the Recipe #24 for you all.

If you like this recipe, you might want to check out these Instant Pot recipes as well.

Apart from the Instant Pot recipes, listing here my favorite Lasagna bakes (both vegetarian and chicken versions). Do try if you like having Lasagna in your meal, these two will not disappoint.

For now, lets get straight to the recipe of Instant Pot Chana Masala!!

Instant Pot Chana Masala - No Oil Recipe

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Ingredients

  • Chickpeas – 2 cups
  • Water – 5 cups (To soak chickpeas overnight)
  • Water – 5 cups (For curry, use 4 cups if you want thick curry)
  • Onion [chopped] – 1 (Large) or 2-3 (Medium sized)
  • Tomatoes[chopped] – 2 (Medium sized)
  • Ginger [chopped] – 1-2 inch piece
  • Garlic [chopped] – 6-8 cloves
  • Green chilies – 2 (Slit lengthwise)
  • Curry leaves – 10-15 (Chopped)
  • Black peppercorns – 1/4 tsp (Around 8-10)
  • Cloves – 4
  • Cinnamon – 4-5 small 1/2 inch strips
  • Coriander seeds – 3/4 tsp
  • Black cardamom – 1 pod
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Ajwain (Carom seeds) – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – To taste
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala Powder or Kitchen King Masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Chana Masala Powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Hing (Asafoetida) – A pinch
  • Red chili powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Kasuri Methi (Dried fenugreek leaves) – 2 tsp
  • Lemon juice – 2 tsp
  • Amchur (Dry mango powder) – 1/2 tsp
  • Ground cumin – 1/2 tsp
  • Nutmeg powder – A pinch
  • Unrefined cane sugar/Jaggery powder – 1 tsp (You can use refined sugar as well)
  • Cilantro leaves [chopped] – 1 Tbsp (For garnishing)

Directions

  1. Pre-preparation (A night before) – Wash and soak 2 cups chickpeas in 5 cups water overnight or at least 6 hours.
  2. Switch on the Instant Pot. Drain water out of the soaked chickpeas and add to instant pot.
  3. Add the vegetables (onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chilies and curry leaves).
  4. Add the whole spices (Black peppercorns, Cloves, Cinnamon, Coriander seeds, Black cardamom, Bay leaf and Ajwain).
  5. Next add the powdered spices and seasonings (Salt, Turmeric powder, Coriander powder, Garam masala powder, Chana masala powder, Hing, Red chili powder, Amchur, Ground cumin and Nutmeg powder).
  6. Now add 5 cups water and give everything a good mix.
  7. Close the lid. Press “Pressure Cook”. If Pressure Level is seen as “Low”, press the “Pressure Level” button (till you see “High” for pressure level). Set the pressure cook timer to 50 minutes. Turn the “Steam Release Valve” to “Sealing” position.
  8. Once the cooking is done and the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally. Once the float valve (metal pin) drops down, the pressure is released (mostly it takes around 10-15 minutes), turn the “Steam Release Valve” to “Venting” position. Once all the pressure is released, open the lid of Instant Pot.
  9. Stir everything together. Now check the chickpeas consistency. If you think chickpeas are cooked properly, then move to next step, else you can pressure cook everything once again for around 10 minutes.
  10. Mash the chickpeas with a masher (I use potato masher) around 5-7 times. This helps the curry thicken and gives it a nice texture.
  11. Add more salt (if required), lemon juice and sugar. Rub the kasuri methi between the palms of your hands and sprinkle on top of chickpeas curry (This helps in getting maximum flavor out of the dried fenugreek leaves).
  12. Stir everything together and turn on the Saute mode (Press the Saute button).
  13. Let the curry thicken for around 5-10 minutes.
  14. Turn off the Instant Pot. Chana Masala is ready to be served. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. You can serve it with a bed of basmati rice, roti, naan or bhaturas.

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • Pre-preparation (A night before) – Wash and soak 2 cups chickpeas in 5 cups water overnight or at least 6 hours.
  • Switch on the Instant Pot. Drain water out of the soaked chickpeas and add to instant pot.
  • Add the vegetables (onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chilies and curry leaves).
  • Add the whole spices (Black peppercorns, Cloves, Cinnamon, Coriander seeds, Black cardamom, Bay leaf and Ajwain).
  • Next add the powdered spices and seasonings (Salt, Turmeric powder, Coriander powder, Garam masala powder, Chana masala powder, Hing, Red chili powder, Amchur, Ground cumin and Nutmeg powder).
  • Now add 5 cups water and give everything a good mix.
  • Close the lid. Press “Pressure Cook”. If Pressure Level is seen as “Low”, press the “Pressure Level” button (till you see “High” for pressure level). Set the pressure cook timer to 50 minutes. Turn the “Steam Release Valve” to “Sealing” position.
  • Once the cooking is done and the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally. Once the float valve (metal pin) drops down, the pressure is released (mostly it takes around 10-15 minutes), turn the “Steam Release Valve” to “Venting” position. Once all the pressure is released, open the lid of Instant Pot.
  • Stir everything together. Now check the chickpeas consistency. If you think chickpeas are cooked properly, then move to next step, else you can pressure cook everything once again for around 10 minutes.
  • Mash the chickpeas with a masher (I use potato masher) around 5-7 times. This helps the curry thicken and gives it a nice texture.
  • Add more salt (if required), lemon juice and sugar. Rub the kasuri methi between the palms of your hands and sprinkle on top of chickpeas curry (This helps in getting maximum flavor out of the dried fenugreek leaves).
  • Stir everything together and turn on the Saute mode (Press the Saute button).
  • Let the curry thicken for around 5-10 minutes.
  • Turn off the Instant Pot. Chana Masala is ready to be served. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. You can serve it with a bed of basmati rice, roti, naan or bhaturas.
instant-pot-chana-masala
Instant Pot Oil-Free Chana Masala

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