Chana Palak Masala is a tried & tested, delicious North Indian recipe. The chickpeas & spinach are cooked with flavorful Indian spices in an Instant Pot!
"We never add turmeric in our Chole!" exclaimed a Punjabi friend of mine at our house party. My ears were all perked up. I had to know more. You see, Chole is a chickpea curry invented by the North Indians. Its in fact fondly known as Punjabi Chole and nearly every household has its own version of this delicious recipe. I learnt mine at my college Lab. Yes, for those who don't know this yet about me, I studied Foods & Nutrition in college and we had a cooking class which we called Lab once a week. That is where we learnt all kinds of cooking and baking. Right from the basics, to getting the measurements right and trying out different multi-cuisine dishes as a team. I learnt to make Punjabi Chole in there and have been making it the same way since then. In that recipe, we do add turmeric powder while cooking. It was not until I moved to the US and met this friend of mine did I get to know that the traditional Chole or Chana Masala is made without turmeric flavor. That was quite a revelation for me, as we Indians tend to add this spice in nearly all our savory dishes. When she told me that they make this dish very differently to the way we make it, I just had to stop her right there and get that recipe from her!
While I already have Chana Masala on the blog and mine recipe also tastes great, I didn't want to change it. Instead, I thought of incorporating her recipe in creating another chickpea recipe called Chana Palak! And since everybody loves chickpeas, no one will mind that! This is also a classic dish BTW! Chickpeas and spinach are two nourishing ingredients that come together to make this dish an extra special flavorsome dinner party treat for all! Trust me, you will thank me every time you make this dish at home! It truly is one of the most simplest and easiest recipe ever! Consuming this legume also known as Garbanzo Beans is good for you in general. For vegetarians and vegans mainly, it is a good source of protein and fiber. You can purchase them dry or canned. Personally, I only get the canned ones during the hurricane season as it can come handy when cooking in some extreme unforeseen conditions. I always prefer getting the dried ones. Its much more cost effective that ways. Soaking them the previous night is always a good idea as its makes it easy to digest and reduces flatulence. But today, it's OK if you forget to or don't wish to soak them only if you own an Instant Pot! It certainly has helped me on certain crazy days.
Instant Pot today has become the most integral part of a kitchen! Nearly every house owns one or plans to get one. Some crazy people like me own two of them! It is one of the most used gadgets in today's kitchen. There are many cookbooks and blogs out there that focus only on vegetarian or vegan IP recipes because it is clearly the need of the hour. I often use this in my everyday cooking and do try to make more and more recipes in it. You can check them all out HERE. I love how easy and simple it is to use. For example, for this recipe, I just put in all the ingredients and let it cook while I went on with my day's work that comprised of grocery shopping for the week, my Pilates class and some blog related work. I didn't have to stand by the stove-top till it cooked or keep stirring it at intervals. That is the beauty of this handy gadget. No wonder everyone wants it! If you are still on the fence about this, don't think much. You need it. Period! Cooking in an IP is fairly simple. Actually we Indians have been using the pressure cooking method since ages. So it really is not much of a difference for us. Many of our recipes call for pressure cooking. Having an Instant Pot makes the job more easier. I wanted to prepare Chana Palak in an IP this time.
I have shared the regular Chana Masala recipe on the blog. But I also did a Facebook LIVE where I cooked Chana Masala in an Instant Pot. You can view the video HERE. Since I knew the basics of cooking chickpeas in a pressure cooker, I went about using that as my reference. However, I also followed my friend's recipe to make this as authentic as possible. Let me share the recipe to make Chickpeas & Spinach Masala/Chana Palak with you now. Preferably, soak the chickpeas overnight or for about 8 hours minimum. If using canned, then skip this step. You can then boil the chickpeas in turmeric + salt water along with a tea bag. Alternatively, you can use the soaked and drained chickpeas (uncooked) as is. Note - the cooking time will differ when using cooked or soaked chana. Turn on the Instant Pot in saute mode. Heat oil and fry bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon for 15 seconds. Then add minced garlic and ginger and continue to saute for a minute. Next add chopped onions and half of the chopped cilantro. Fry till the onions turn translucent. Then add tomato puree and chopped tomato, fry for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Add the besan/gram flour and cook for another minute.
Stir in the chopped spinach, garam masala or chole masala, pomegranate powder, cumin powder and tamarind paste, and simmer for another 2 minutes. Next add the soaked chickpeas (throw away the tea bag) along with salt and mix it well with all the masala. Add water and turn off the saute mode. Close the pot with the lid, ensure the valve is in the sealing position. Switch on the manual/pressure cook mode and set the timer for 24 minutes. Release the pressure naturally once done. Open the lid, garnish with sliced onions and chopped cilantro. Serve it warm with rice or bread!
Stovetop using canned chickpeas
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and keep it aside.
Blanch spinach. Boil water, add salt. Then add 6oz of spinach. Let it rest for 2 minutes. Then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Then transfer to a blender jar after squeezing it a little bit, add ½ cup cilantro and 2 green chillies. Blitz to make a smooth puree.
Heat oil and vegan butter in a pan. temper 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 bay leaf, 4 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick and dried red chillies. Fry for 30 seconds.
Then add garlic, ginger, onions. Saute till they turn translucent.
Now add the spices - 1 teaspoon chilly powder, ½ teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 2 teaspoon anardana powder, and ½ cup water. Fry them masala for 30 seconds.
Add 1 cup tomato puree along with salt. Mix and saute for 3-4 mins.
Add the chickpeas, ½ cup water. Mix, cover and saute for 4-5 mins.
Then add the palak puree and ½ cup water. Cook for another 3-4 mins.
Add kasoori methi, garam masala and lemon juice. Garnish with cilantro.
chickpeas - 480gms
Add fresh cream, or sour cream if you want.
Instant Pot Chickpeas & Spinach Masala | Chana Palak
- 3 cups soaked chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 pods cardamom
- 6-7 cloves garlic
- 1 inch ginger
- 2 onions reserve some for garnish
- ½ cup chopped cilantro reserve some for garnish
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon gram flour/besan
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 tablespoon garam masala/chole masala
- ½ tablespoon pomegranate powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 2 tablespoon tamarind paste
- salt as required
- 5 cups water
- Preferably, soak the chickpeas overnight or for about 8 hours minimum. If using canned, then skip this step. You can then boil the chickpeas in turmeric + salt water along with a tea bag. Alternatively, you can use the soaked and drained chickpeas (uncooked) is. Note - the cooking time will differ when using cooked or soaked chana.
- Turn on the Instant Pot in saute mode. Heat oil and fry bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon for 15 seconds. Then add minced garlic and ginger and continue to saute for a minute.
- Next add chopped onions and half of the chopped cilantro. Fry till the onions turn translucent. Then add tomato puree and chopped tomato, fry for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Add the besan/gram flour and cook for another minute.
- Stir in the chopped spinach, garam masala or chole masala, pomegranate powder, cumin powder and tamarind paste, and simmer for another 2 minutes.
- Next add the soaked chickpeas (throw away the tea bag) along with salt and mix it well with all the masala. Add water and turn off the saute mode.
- Close the pot with the lid, ensure the valve is in the sealing position. Switch on the manual/pressure cook mode and set the timer for 24 minutes. Release the pressure naturally once done.
- Open the lid, garnish with sliced onions and chopped cilantro. Serve it warm with rice or bread!
I know you love chickpeas and that is why you are still here! Here are some of my favorite chickpea recipes that I am sure you won't mind checking out at all - Instant Pot Creamy Potato & Chickpeas Vegan Curry, Vegan Malvani Style Green Chana | Chickpeas Masala, Quinoa Chickpea Pilaf with Mazola Corn Oil, Vegan South Indian Lemon & Chickpea Rice, Shahjahani Dal | Royal Chickpeas Stew, Chickpea Masala Sliders, Simplest Punjabi Chana/Chickpeas Masala Ever!, Chickpea & Black Rice Dumplings in Spinach Sauce Gravy, Black Rice & Chickpea Fritters, Butternut Squash & Chickpea Thai Curry, Chickpea Stir Fry/Tawa Chole, Tindora & Chickpea Curry cooked with Coconut, Chickpea & Spinach Chinese Stew, Chickpea & Edamame Crispies, Falafel Smash, and Chickpeas Sundal .