Kala Chana Masala

Kala Chana Masala is a famous North Indian side dish that is often prepared semi gravy and served alongside paratha. You can also make a gravy version of the same dish and enjoy with rice. It’s a protein packed vegetarian/vegan Indian dish that hardly takes any effort to prepare.

What is Kala Chana?

Kala Chana is black chickpea that are dark brown and tinier when compared to the regular white chickpea. It is definitely much nuttier in taste, too.

This particular chickpea is great for summer salads too, when tossed with some cherry tomatoes, cucumber and fresh herbs.

This particular style chickpea is very popular in Indian cuisine and used in different kind of curries and stir fry dishes.

During Indian festive season Navaratri, this kala chana is prepared without any garlic or onion, just few spices. It is kept dry and enjoyed with poori and sooji halwa. It is one of my fav Navaratri food!

Kala Chana Masala

How to prepare Kala Chana Masala

You definitely need to plan in advance and soak the kala chana/ black chickpea overnight. It will puff in size.

I boil the soaked chana separately in a pressure cooker.

Then, in a wide skillet, I add a few whole spices along with garlic and ginger.

Followed by that, I add the onion, tomato, few ground spices and let it cook until the raw spice flavor is gone.

I like to also add tiny bite size diced potato, but it’s optional. When I add the potatoes, I also add the boiled kala chana, pour a little water and let it simmer until the flavor all comes together.

You want the brown chickpea to be cooked through, softened, but still retains texture.

Now depending on how you want to serve the kala chana masala, you can add a bit more water to increase the gravy or keep it semi dry. We personally like it semi dry.

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Kala Chana Masala

How to use Left Over Kala Chana Masala ?

You can just reheat and enjoy with paratha or turn it into rice pilaf!

I always use left over kala chana as rice pilaf the next day by just sautéing it with rice and some whole spices for the extra boost of flavor.

Then add water and either pressure cook it or cook in stove top.

Kala chana Pulao is a very healthy wholesome meal and here is a recipe link if you want to try!

Kala Chana Masala

Can you prepare the dish in regular pressure cooker or electric pressure cooker?

YES!

Instead of separately boiling the chana, you can sauté the onion, tomato with spices in the pressure cooker and then add the soaked kala chana and pressure cook it.

When I use pressure cooker to prepare the dish, I don’t add potatoes as it will just melt completely in the process.

I didn’t grow up eating the brown chickpea a lot. It is not very commonly prepared in Bengali household. I learned about it after I met Arvind, and after I ate at my in laws.

It is definitely become one of my favorite side dish now, and I always prepare extra, so I can make the pilaf the next day!

Kala Chana Masala

Kala Chana Masala

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Kala Chana Masala is a famous North Indian side dish that is often prepared semi gravy and served alongside paratha. You can also make a gravy version of the same dish and enjoy with rice. It's a protein packed vegetarian/vegan Indian dish that hardly takes any effort to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup kala chana (brown chickpea), soaked overnight
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion (6 oz), finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 tomato (6 oz), finely chopped
  • 1 potato (8 oz), diced into small bites
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves.
  • salt to taste

Instructions

Start by boiling the overnight soaked kala chana in a pressure cooker, until it's soft enough to smash between fingers and yet retails shape.

In a heavy bottom skillet at medium heat, add the oil and scatter the whole spices. Then add ginger, garlic and green chili. Cook for 1 minute.

Add the chopped onion, season with salt and add all the ground spices. Stir it around and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the chopped tomato and continue cooking until the raw smell of the spices are gone, and you see oil releasing from the side of the pan. If at any point you feel it's sticking to the pan, drizzle a little water and continue sautéing.

Next, add the diced potatoes and the boiled kala chana. Stir it around, add 1/4 cup water and cover the pan. Let it simmer for 5 minutes at medium low heat. After 5 minutes, the potatoes and kala chana should have shortened a lot more and the flavor would have blended well.

Taste for salt and add more if needed.

Add the garam masala powder and stir it around. Let it cook for 3 minutes. Finally, garnish with cilantro leaves and enjoy warm with paratha or rice.

Notes

Can you prepare the dish in regular pressure cooker or electric pressure cooker?

YES!

Instead of separately boiling the chana, you can sauté the onion, tomato with spices in the pressure cooker and then add the soaked kala chana and pressure cook it.

When I use pressure cooker to prepare the dish, I don't add potatoes as it will just melt completely in the process.

Kala Chana Masala
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