Here’s a pressure cooker chana masala recipe that is full-proof, easy and insanely delicious! It all comes together in one pot, i.e. the pressure cooker. And that tempering in the end elevates the recipe to another new level, so do not skip on the tempering! This pressure cooker chana masala recipe does not require you to boil the chickpeas separately and add it to the curry. Instead, we make the masala or the base of the curry in the pressure cooker, add the soaked chickpeas to it and let it whistle till it’s soft and absorbs all the flavours.
While this version of chana masala is very easy to pull off, it does come with a tiny handbook of tips and tricks. For instance, the beautiful colour of this chana masala is not because of the addition of any colours or tea leaves. It’s just a method of cooking that I learned from my grandmother-in-law. It literally opened my eyes to a technique of cooking that I knew, but never really paid attention to! Read on to know what that trick is. Besides the colour, there are also a tons of tips that I will share on the timing of cooking, the temperatures to cook at, and other little nuggets of information that you can use to elevate your chana masala to a level of utmost deliciousness. Let’s begin.
Tips to Make the Perfect Chana Masala
Most of the chana masalas in restaurants have a deep brown colour that gets us drooling at the very first sight. For the longest time, I thought that brown colour comes from soaking the chickpeas in tea bags. While that is the case and I do have a recipe with the same technique, it’s not a necessary thing to do to get the deep brown colour. In fact, you do not need anything other than the normal ingredients to get it brown colour! The trick lies in the way you cook your onions. Yes, you read that right.
The method you use to fry the onions can make or break your chana masala. The trick is to have them finely chopped and cook them in medium flame till they are completely brown. This is a slightly time consuming process and you will have to spend anywhere between ten to fifteen minutes to achieve this stage. But the effort will be so worth it because of the results you’ll get. So have a little bit of patience while you deal with your onions and see how it gives a sensational colour to your final chana masala.
To get the perfect chana masala that tastes outstanding, it is important to know the timing of adding ingredients, and the duration of their cooking. I have already explained the timing for the onions. But we also add a lot of other ingredients to make the base of the curry. A crucial ingredient here is the fresh tomato puree. Because the puree is made from fresh tomatoes, it is raw and needs its own time to cook. This makes it extremely crucial for us to cook it to perfection before we add the chickpeas to it.
How do we know if the tomatoes are cooked? When the oil starts to release from the edges of the masala pasta, the tomatoes turn into a thick base and there is no aroma of anything raw in the air. When you achieve these three outcomes, you know your tomatoes are ready.
For this particular version of chana masala, we only have to soak the chickpeas overnight. There is no need to boil them separately and add them to the masala base. Everything happens in one pot, in this case – the pressure cooker. We cook the chickpeas for a long time on medium flame in the pressure cooker and the whistles do their own magic. What we end up getting is a scrumptious curry along with the softest chickpeas that absorb all the flavours of the ingredients.
Tempering is very essential in this chana masala recipe. Without the tempering, the recipe will be incomplete. It is the tempering in the end that makes this chana masala the best version you will ever make! So make sure you do not skip on this delicious tadka!
Now that you know the most important aspects of nailing this pressure cooker chana masala, let’s dive straight into the ingredients and procedure for the recipe.
Preparation time – 20 minutes
Cook time – 40 minutes
Serves – 5 people
- 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 1/4 cup mustard oil
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida
- 1/2 tsp carrom seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cardamoms
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1 1/2 cups fresh tomato puree
- 4 cups hot water
- 1/2 tsp raw mango powder
- 2 tbsp Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
For the tempering:
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 3 dried red chillies
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 10-12 strips of julienne ginger
- 1/4 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- Soak the chickpeas overnight in room temperature water. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Once the oil starts to smoke gently, turn the heat to low. Temper with cumin seeds, carrom seeds, asafoetida, cardamom, clove and cinnamon stick. Give it a good mix.
- Add the onions and fry on medium heat till they transform from a translucent colour to a deep brown colour. This step is very important and can take anywhere between 10-15 minutes.
- The aim is to allow the onions to brown without burning them. This step will help us achieve a deep brown colour in the final curry.
- Once the onions are deep brown, add the ginger and garlic paste. Stir till the raw aroma disappears. Do not burn and keep a check on the flame.
- Season with salt, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, Kashmiri red chilli powder and raw mango powder.
- Cook the masalas well.
- Pour the fresh tomato puree into the masala and stir well. Cook this for another 8-10 minutes till the rawness of the tomatoes is gone and oil starts to release from the sides. Add a splash of water if necessary.
- Add the soaked chickpeas to this spice base and coat them well.
- Pour 4 cups of hot water and mix.
- Season with some Kasuri methi and garam masala.
- Close the lid of the pressure cooker and allow one whistle on high flame. Turn the flame to medium at cook the chickpeas for 20 minutes. The number of whistles will vary according to the pressure cooker you’re using. 20 minutes is a good time to ensure the chickpeas are soft.
- Once done, let the pressure cooker release its steam automatically. Prepare the tadka or the tempering only once you open the lid of the cooled down cooker.
- For the tempering, heat ghee in a tadka pan. Once the ghee smokes up, turn off the flame and add the dried red chillies, cumin seeds, julienne ginger and Kashmiri red chilli powder. Give it a quick mix with a spoon and immediately add it to the chana masala. Mix well and we are done!
- Serve the chana masala with some onions, rice, puris, parathas or bhaturas! Enjoy!
It’s almost unbelievable how good this pressure cooker chana masala tastes. It is a recipe I am definitely proud of and I want you to try it at-least once. Trust me, you will not be able to stop eating this!
I hope you try this delicious pressure cooker chana masala super soon. If you have any doubts, comments, or feedback, please reach out to me in comments or my social media handles.
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