Kala Chana Masala is a spicy Indian curry made with black chickpeas (chana) without onion and garlic. It is a super easy, vegan, and gluten-free curry. This black chana masala recipe is a one-pot wonder that you can cook in an instant pot, stovetop, or an electric pressure cooker.
The Black Chickpeas (Kala Chana)
In the Indian subcontinent, the black chana is commonly used to make curry, kebab, salad, or other types of snacks.
It is a fantastic plant-based vegan protein. Like regular white chickpea (kabuli chana) this one can also be used in a variety of creative ways.
Many communities in India follow a no onion no garlic diet regime. The reason is mainly religious or at times food allergies.
Hence, there is a whole section of Indian food recipes without onion and garlic.
This kala chana masala is one such curry recipe that is perfect for festive feasts and does not require onion and garlic.
Reasons To LOVE Kala Chana Masala
easy to cook
vegan and gluten-free
plant based high protein
meal-prep and microwave friendly
Soaking Kala Chana
Like many other legumes and beans, the dry black chana requires a soaking time of 5 – 6 hours before cooking.
The soaking process reduces the cooking time, deactivates anti-nutrients, and improves the amount of magnesium, zinc, and iron you absorb.
I would not recommend cooking dry black chickpeas without soaking. They taste bland and takes a hell lot of time to cook.
If you are using canned chickpeas then this step is not required. Rinse the canned chickpeas nicely and add to the curry masala.
Stovetop Kala Chana Masala (Step-By-Step Process)
For this kala chana recipe, I am using a stovetop pressure cooker for cooking. You can follow the same process in an instant pot as well.
Tomato Paste: Combine ginger, tomato, and green chili to make a smooth paste in a blender (image 2).
The Aromatics: Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker till it starts smoking. Reduce the heat to low. Add bay leaf, black cardamom, and cumin seeds, Saute for a minute to release the aroma of the spices (image 4).
Fry Masala: Add tomato paste made in Step 1 along with salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder. Fry the masala over low heat till oil separates (image 6).
Soaked Chana: Drain water from the soaked chana. Add them to the pressure cooker. Mix nicely to combine all the ingredients. Fry for a minute.
Pressure Cook: Add 1 – 2 Cup of water. Stir to combine. Close the lid of the pressure cooker. Put the whistle. Cook kala chana over low heat for 15 minutes or 3 – 4 whistle.
Finishing Touch: Once chana masala is cooked, add mango powder, garam masala, and dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi). Stir to combine. Cook for a minute.
Garnish with julienned ginger, green chili, and fresh coriander.
The best way to enjoy kala chana masala is with piping hot chapati, palak poori, or paratha.
If you are making them with extra gravy or curry then serve with jeera rice or basmati rice.
For a wholesome gluten-free and vegan meal, you can serve chana masala with quinoa or bulgar wheat as well.
Navratri Prasad Sukha Kala Chana
No onion, garlic, tomato, ginger, green chili, or garam masala is added to the prasad chana.
It is cooked in pure ghee with cumin seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt, and water. A true Sattvic style dish.
More No Onion No Garlic Recipes
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Kala Chana Masala Recipe
- 2 Cup Black Chickpeas (kala chana)
Ingredients To Make Paste:
- 1 Cup chopped tomato
- 1 green chili
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- 1/8 Cup mustard oil or other cooking oil
- 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala (see recipe)
- 1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur)
- 1 tablespoon dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
- 2 Cup water
- Clean, rinse, and soak black chana overnight or for 5 – 6 hours in water.
- Meanwhile, make a paste of tomato with ginger and green chili in a blender.
- Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker till it starts smoking. Reduce the heat to low. Add bay leaf, black cardamom, and cumin seeds, Saute for a minute to release the aroma of the spices
- Once cumin is roasted add tomato paste along with salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder. Fry the masala over low heat till oil separates.
- Drain water from the soaked chana. Add them to the pressure cooker. Mix nicely to combine all the ingredients. Fry for 1 – 2 minutes.
- Add 1 – 2 Cups of water. Stir to combine. Close the lid of the pressure cooker. Put the whistle. Cook kala chana over low heat for 15 minutes or 3 – 4 whistle. Turn off the heat.
- Let the steam release naturally from the pressure cooker. Check chana for doneness. It should soft and mushy. Taste and add more seasoning if required. Slightly mash the chana with the back of the ladle.
- Add mango powder, garam masala, and dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi). Stir to combine. Cook for a minute over the flame. Garnish with coriander, ginger, and green chili.
- If channa is soaked, it does not take more than 15 – 20 minutes to get cooked.
- Adjust the quantity of water as per the gravy required. I prefer semi-dry chana masala. Hence, I add only 2 cups of water. If the chana masala seems too thick you can add more water once it is cooked.
- Instead of mustard oil, you can use ghee, refined oil, or coconut oil to cook chana masala.
- This is a moderately spicy chana masala recipe. Hence, adjust the quantity of green chili and spices accordingly.
- You can store the leftover chana masala in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days. Reheat in a microwave or stovetop before serving.