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a round bowl filled with Vegan Chana Masala with a spoon in it
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5 from 10 votes

Vegan Chana Masala

Easy vegan Chana Masala (made in Instant Pot and Stovetop) is a spiced chickpea curry! This Pindi Chole recipe is the most popular North Indian dish. This extremely flavorful curry loaded with Indian flavors can be made under 45 minutes! 
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, North Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Soaking time 5 hours
Servings 6 people
Calories 322.64kcal


  • Instant Pot



Instant Pot Version (Soaking needed)

  • The first step is to soak chickpeas in hot water for 5 hours or soak it overnight. Drain the water and keep aside for now.
  • Turn on the Instant pot in saute mode. Add ghee/oil/butter to the pot.
  • Once it melts, add ginger paste, garlic paste, slit green chilies, cinnamon stick, and half of the chopped cilantro.
  • Fry for 15 seconds and then add the chopped onions. Saute till they turn translucent.
  • Then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook till they turn soft and pulpy.
  • Next, add all the spices: turmeric powder, ground cumin, coriander powder, amchur powder, paprika, and garam masala.
  • Add ½ cup water to prevent the spices from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Then add the chole masala. Fry for 15 seconds.
  • Next, add 3 ½ cups of water to the pot. Add salt. Follow by adding the soaked and drained chickpeas. Mix everything well.
  • Turn off the saute mode. Cover with lid with the vent in the sealing position. Cook in manual or pressure mode for 40 minutes. You can also select the chili mode.
  • Once done, let the pressure release naturally. Then open the lid.
  • Garnish with the remaining cilantro, Kasuri methi, and lemon juice.
  • Mix it all together and if you want to thicken the gravy, cook in saute mode for 2 minutes.

Stovetop Version

  • You can use canned chickpeas to save on the cooking time (no need to soak canned chickpeas). I prefer boiling in a pressure cooker, chickpeas that were soaked overnight,  with salt and turmeric powder.
  • Heat oil/butter in a pan, fry cumin seeds. Then add garlic, ginger, and green chilies. Fry for a minute.
  • Then add chopped onions and a cinnamon stick. Continue to saute till the onions turn translucent.
  • Next, add the chopped tomatoes, salt, tomato paste, and paprika. Continue to cook the tomatoes for 3-4 minutes, till they are soft and done.
  • Now add the dry spices like chole masala, garam masala, coriander-cumin powder, amchur powder, and turmeric powder.
  • Fry for a minute and then add the boiled chickpeas. Mix it all together and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Smash some chickpeas in the process, it will help the gravy to thicken.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and kasoori methi. Take the pan off the flame. 


In case you don't have chole masala, you may skip it. Just add the other spice mixes. 
To make traditional Pindi Chole, a tea bag is added while pressure cooking and discarded after. While adding it does not alter the flavors, it lends a deep brown color to the curry.
You can use canned chickpeas for the Instant pot version. No need to soak canned chickpeas.
Use a 1:1 ratio for chickpeas and water. Follow all the steps and pressure cook for 5 minutes.
After the cooking cycle completes, do a quick release or allow natural pressure release.
If you are using old or organic beans, increase the cooking time by 5-8 minutes. 
Adjust the consistency by adding more or less water. To thicken the gravy, add 1 tbsp cornstarch, rice flour, or chickpea flour mixed with 2-3 tbsp of water. 
This recipe can be easily doubled, however, the pressure cook time remains the same.
You can follow this recipe to cook any variety of beans like black-eyed peas, kidney beans, pigeon peas, lima beans, etc. 
Forgot to soak chickpeas? No problem. Soak them in hot water, covered for 40 minutes. Then use.
You can also cook them in the Instant pot manual mode for 55 minutes followed by natural pressure release.
Punjabi Chole can be easily frozen for a couple of months. It also stays well in the fridge for 4-5 days. 
You can also pre-cook the chickpeas and freeze them. That way, whenever you feel like cooking with chickpeas, you can save on time and make something instantly. 


Calories: 322.64kcal | Carbohydrates: 51.7g | Protein: 14.91g | Fat: 7.56g | Saturated Fat: 0.77g | Sodium: 140.62mg | Potassium: 853.41mg | Fiber: 16.72g | Sugar: 10.69g | Vitamin A: 854.43IU | Vitamin C: 15.61mg | Calcium: 145.16mg | Iron: 6.54mg