kala chana recipe | black chana masala recipe | punjabi kala chana gravy recipe

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kala chana gravy 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.

i have learnt this kala chana masala recipe from my mother in law. her recipes are always easy and made with basic ingredients. some of her easy recipes i have shared before are:

  1. punjabi rajma
  2. dal makhani
  3. aloo gobi
  4. aloo methi
  5. easy chole recipe

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 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.

if you are looking for more chana recipes then do check:

kala chana recipe below:

4.75 from 16 votes
kala chana recipe | black chana masala recipe | punjabi kala chana gravy recipe
prep time
9 hrs
cook time
30 mins
total time
9 hrs 30 mins
kala chana curry recipe - mildly spiced black chickpeas curry made in punjabi style.
course: main course
cuisine: north indian, punjabi
servings: 4
author: dassana amit
ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)
for soaking kala chana (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
other ingredients for kala chana gravy:
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
  • 1 medium size onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes or 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped (lahsun)
  • 1 to 2 green chilli, finely chopped (hari mirch)
  • ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder or degi mirch
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
  • 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)
how to make recipe
soaking kala chana:
  1. rinse black chickpeas a couple of times in water. 

  2. then add 2.5 cups water and soak the black chickpeas or kala chana overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.

making kala chana recipe:
  1. in a pressure cooker, add 2 tablespoon ghee or oil.

  2. add cumin. let them crackle and then add finely chopped onions.

  3. sauté onions till they become light golden.

  4. add garlic, green chilli and saute for 10 to 12 seconds .

  5. add finely chopped tomatoes and saute them till the oil starts leaving from the sides of the onion-tomato masala.
  6. add turmeric powder, asafoetida, kashmiri red chili powder and saute for 2 to 3 seconds.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. lastly sprinkle the garam masala and stir. garnish punjabi kala chana gravy with coriander leaves.

  10. serve the black chana masala gravy  with steamed rice, rotis or chappati.

how to make kala chana recipe:

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 and ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder.

11. saute for 2 to 3 seconds.

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 black chana masala gravy hot with steamed rice, rotis or chappati.

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This post was last modified on May 18, 2018, 12:41 pm

    Categories Curry RecipesDinner RecipesNorth Indian RecipesPopular Indian RecipesPunjabi RecipesVegan Recipes

View Comments (63)

  • Black chana is known as "kadala" here in Kerala, and its the perfect curry for puttu....will try your version....the pics are so very tempting!

  • The picture you have posted makes me very desperate to try the recipe!! For a South Indian like me, cooking a North Indian dish is a desire which I couldn't accomplish much. But however off late I have been becoming a bit successful. Thanks for all the blogs which is helping me.
    what can be substituted with lahsun. Waiting for your valuable suggestion.

    • thanks nidhi. north indian food ranges from the most simple to a complex dish. but they are not difficult to make. just some practice and experience. usually asafoetida is used as a substitute for garlic or onion. just a generous pinch or about 1/4 tsp of asafoetida powder (not the strong one) will suffice.

  • Thanks for the recipe... And I also would like to thank Nidhi for a very valuable website. It made my work very easier with http://qusec.in !!
    And the recipe really worked out well with my husband happy too :)

  • thanks for sharing the recipies!! I work in chandigarh and stay as a tenant...your recipies are quick, easy and delicious at the same time...I have learned to cook only through your website!! keep posting :)

    • welcome riteeka. nice to know that the site is helpful to you. keep on trying new recipes.

  • What a delicious recipe. I made this over the weekend and my husband really enjoyed it. He has requested I make it again this coming weekend. I have tried various recipes from your website and they are all fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing them.

  • Dear Dassana, thank you very much for a simple and easy to make recipe. I had tried one more recipe posted by you earlier. I especially like the non-fussy and simple style that you adopt in writing. Keep it up. Am trying this for lunch today. Cheers, Vani.

    • welcome vani and thanks for sharing your feedback. its good to know that the writing style is helpful to readers.

  • Hi Amit,
    Thank you for your website and recipes.
    I have tried some of them and so far all have come out excellent!
    I like the way you write why you use certain ingredients that makes it easier to understand! You deserve 5 stars!

    • welcome ashwini and thanks for sharing your positive feedback. we appreciate and welcome the readers feedback.

  • Hi...
    I have made chana following your recipe umpteen times but managed to msg you only today. Must say we love chana this way. It's perfect. My Punjabi friends taught me but my husband and son never liked chana till this recipe came my way. The aloo paratha is divine... Thank you for all your posts. Love them.

    • thanks for the message sridevi. glad to know :-) chana can be cooked in various ways. this kala chana recipe is family favorite. mostly on saturdays we make kala chana.

  • Hi! I LOVE all your recipes! so clear, easy to follow, AND delicious too! I hope you will keep posting your amazing recipes! Thank you so much for taking the time to do so :)

  • Hi Dassana
    Love your website. I use your recipes to venture out of the usual cooking I do.
    Can you tell me how many minutes of pressure cooking this takes? About 30 minutes? A rough estimate is okay.
    Thank you again for your amazing contribution to mankind. :)

    • welcome snehal. i never measure the time. the chana has to be cooked completely. in case you open the cooker and chana is not cooked then pressure cook for some more whistles. but make sure the chana is cooked well.

  • awesome recipe i made it first time at home everybody my family my office friends become my vegetable fan.Thanks for such a tasty recipe

      • hi there,

        I must say, the feeling was on cloud 9, when my kids appreciated the taste and told my
        wife that i cook well.

        Thanks to your guidance. It should not become blessing in disguise

  • Hi Dassana! I am a big follower of your food blog and tried a variety of recipes, all of which were fabulous. Thanks a lot for sharing the skills. I just want to know that can we make this black gram dish more spicy by adding roasted garam masala powder (the one that we use in chole masala recipe)? and can we add a little bit of tamarind for the tang?

    • thanks rajshree. you can the roasted spice powder which is used in the chole masala recipe. in fact you can make the same chole masala recipe with black chickpeas. if adding tamarind, then reduce the tomatoes or skip them completely, if adding more of the tamarind pulp.

  • Hey I really love your step by step photographs for the recipe. why isnt it here?!
    I would love to see them bcoz usually while referring or re-refering to your recipes I just browse through the pictures, which are so explanatory, it just takes me seconds to understand the recipe and quickly cook it.

    • In some recipes i have not added the step wise pics. I am slowly converting all these recipes to have the step wise pics. And thanks a lot.

  • Your recipes are very good. I tried every time. I am accumulating so much praise in my family as I was not very fond of cooking.

  • so y do we need to sprinkle garam masala at th end n nt while cooking. wat if I add it while cooking wl it chnge th taste.

    • you can add during cooking also. the flavors are best felt when you add them after cooking. generally garam masala made from spices which are sun dried are added when cooking. garam masala made from spices which are roasted are added after cooking is done. usually i sun dry spices when making garam masala. so i add them both while cooking as well as after cooking. hope this helps.

  • I added gg paste instead of only garlic and added lil coconut paste for thickness..this recipe is a big hit at home, thanks a lot dear. god bless.

  • Thank u for the recipe..the taste turned out great..but thing is...the curry is watery..i want it to be a little thick..what should I do??

    • this curry is slightly watery. you can mash some chana and let it cook with then curry. take a handful of chana and grind in a blender or mixer with the curry stock. then add it to the curry and simmer till the curry becomes thick. or else you can mash with a spoon or masher. another option is to add mashed potatoes to thicken the curry.

  • I cannot thank you enough for these amazing recipes!!! As always, this one was perfect as well!! Simple, yet so flavorful!!

  • There is no Limit to number of recipes of yours I have tried since I shifted to aust and I didn't even know A of cooking. May be know I'm somewhere midway and quite experienced in my past six months is cooking experience by testing your recipes. I love them. Indeed the one with pictures are more informative but you are my google to cooking. I don't have to bug my mummy at early morning times now due to time diff. Thank you

    • Welcome Neha. Glad to know that you are liking the recipes and they are helping you. Thanks for sharing your positive feedback. Happy cooking.

  • Hi Dasana I tried this recipie and it tasted great everybody liked it even my kids loved it ,,,,, thank you for the recipie

  • I made this twice now and it turned out absolutely delicious. Such a great recipe and one that doesn’t require lots of ingredients. So healthy too. I put a bit of besan (chickpea flour) in it to thicken it up a bit. Five stars. Thank you Dasana!

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