Kala chana recipe with step by step photos – this simple and delicious Punjabi style black chana masala gravy is very easy to make and yet flavorful. Basic ingredients like onions, tomatoes and garlic along with the regular Indian spices go into it. This delicious black chickpeas curry is made quite often at home since it is one pot and you do not need to cook the chickpeas separately. It is vegan too.
I have learnt this kala chana masala recipe From my mother in law. Her recipes are always easy and made with basic ingredients.
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This kala chana gravy has a thin soup like consistency and is not thick or creamy. It can be relished as a soup or even had with steamed rice or chapatis. They actually go very well with plain steamed rice and this combo is filling too.
While making chana recipes, always soak the chickpeas overnight to soften them. When we make black chickpeas we don’t throw the water and use it for cooking. Whereas for white chickpeas, we discard the water which is used for soaking them.
I suggest to cook black chickpeas in a pressure cooker rather than cooking in a pot. In a pressure cooker, the chickpeas cook much much faster than in a pot, which takes hours.
If you like black chickpeas, then you can also have a look at a dry curry version which we call sookha or Dry kala chana and is made during the Navratri vrat pooja in north India. You can also check this spicy Kadala kari recipe from the Kerala cuisine and this Ghugni recipe from the Bihari cuisine.
Black chickpeas are a rich source of protein and is excellent for growing up kids and people who are into sports or need lots of energy. Black chickpeas should be cooked really well. They might be difficult to digest for some folks. Hence adding cumin and asafoetida help in the digestion.
How to make kala chana
1. Rinse 1 cup black chickpeas (kala chana) a couple of times in water. Then add 2.5 cups water and soak the kala chana overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
2. In a pressure cooker, add 2 tablespoons ghee or oil.
3. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera). Let them crackle.
4. Once the cumin seeds crackle, then add 1 medium sized onion (finely chopped).
5. Saute the onions till they become light golden.
6. Add 4 to 5 garlic cloves (finely chopped) and 1 to 2 green chilies (finely chopped).
7. Saute for 10 to 12 seconds .
8. Add 2 medium tomatoes or 1 large tomato (finely chopped).
9. Saute them till the oil starts leaving from the sides of the onion-tomato masala. The tomatoes will also soften.
10. Then add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 pinch of asafoetida (hing) and ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder.
11. Sauté for 2 to 3 seconds.
Making kala chana gravy
12. Then add the kala chana along with all of the soaked water. Additionally, add ½ to 1 cup water or add as required.
13. Season with salt as required and stir well.
14. Pressure cook kala chana on a medium to high flame for 8 to 9 whistles or more till the kala chana are cooked well and softened. The chana should soften and be cooked well. If there is too much of liquid in the gravy, then cook the chana without the lid, till some water evaporates. You can also mash a few chana pieces for the gravy to thicken.
15. When you get the desired consistency in the black chana gravy, then lastly sprinkle ½ teaspoon garam masala. Mix well.
16. Add 1 tablespoon coriander leaves (optional) to Punjabi kala chana curry.
17. Serve the kala chana masala gravy Hot with steamed rice, roti or chappati.
More Punjabi recipes
for soaking black chickpeas
- 1 cup of kala chana (dried black chickpeas) - rinsed & soaked overnight or for 8 to 9 hours
- 2.5 cups water for soaking black chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 medium size onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes or 1 large tomato, finely chopped
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 green chilli, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder or degi mirch
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- ½ to 1 cup water or as required for the gravy
- salt as required
- ½ teaspoon punjabi garam masala or regular garam masala powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander leaves for garnishing (optional)
Soaking black chickpeas
- Rinse black chickpeas a couple of times in water.
- Then add 2.5 cups water and soak the black chickpeas or kala chana overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
Making kala chana
- In a pressure cooker, add 2 tablespoon ghee or oil.
- Add cumin. Let them crackle and then add finely chopped onions.
- Sauté onions till they become light golden.
- Add garlic, green chilli and saute for 10 to 12 seconds .
- Add finely chopped tomatoes and saute them till the oil starts leaving from the sides of the onion-tomato masala.
- Add turmeric powder, asafoetida, kashmiri red chili powder and saute for 2 to 3 seconds.
- Then add the kala chana along with all of the soaked water. Additionally also add ½ to 1 cup water as per the consistency you want. Season with salt and stir well.
- Pressure cook chana on a medium to high flame for 8 to 9 whistles or more till the kala chana are cooked well and softened.
- Lastly sprinkle the garam masala and stir. Garnish punjabi kala chana gravy with coriander leaves.
- Serve the black chana masala gravy with steamed rice, rotis or chappati.