Vegan Chole Chana Masala Recipe

If you like Indian food, you might have tried Chole Masala. It’s one of my favorite dishes that can be enjoyed as street food or at fancy events! My version is vegan, without any paneer (Indian cottage cheese). I’ve also perfected my version of Chana Masala instead of using pre-made store-bought mixes.

Chana Masala is a delectable and highly favored Indian chickpea curry. This dish, made with chickpeas (also called Garbanzo beans), spices, onions, tomatoes, and more, is not only nutritious but also a protein-rich, vegan, and gluten-free option that promises to fulfill your cravings for authentic Indian curry.

This single-pot recipe for authentic Chana Masala is versatile, allowing preparation in either the Instant Pot or a stovetop cooking. I prefer cooking in Instant Pot because I believe that pressure cooking extracts the flavors of all spices more effectively and the beans come out creamier.

Typically, Chole involves pressure-cooking chickpeas separately before combining them with the onion-tomato gravy. However, to streamline the process into a genuine one-pot recipe, I  add all ingredients to the pot, cooking them together with the flavorful base. The result is perfectly cooked chickpeas infused with rich flavors.

Chole Masala Powder is a key component in this recipe. After experimenting with several batches, I’ve perfected a version that I find incredibly flavorful. I usually prepare a fresh batch as needed, ensuring that the flavors are fresh. However, you can also make a large batch and refrigerate it for future use. I always recommend storing bulk spices in the refrigerator to preserve their freshness and flavor.

Chana Masala/ Punjabi Chole


– 3 tablespoons Olive Oil

– 2 cans (15.5 oz each) of Garbanzo beans.Drained and rinsed.

– 1.5 cups chopped onions

– ¾ cup canned tomato sauce

– 5 cloves garlic, chopped

– 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

– 2 bay leaves

– 1 teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)

– ½ teaspoon amchur or 1 tablespoon lemon juice

– 1 tablespoon Kasoori Methi (Optional)

– 1.5 Cups water

Spices For Chana Masala Powder

Mix and Grind these spices for homemade chana masala

– 1 black cardamom podsCHANA MASALA

– 2 green cardamom pods

– 4 cloves

– 8 black peppercorns

– 1-inch cinnamon stick

– 1  teaspoon cumin seeds

– ½ teaspoon coriander powder

– ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

– ¼ teaspoon paprika

This makes about 2 Tablespoons of Chana masala which is enough for this recipe.


– Chopped fresh coriander ( Optional)

– Fresh ginger finely chopped(Optional)

Instant Pot Directions:

1. Start the Instant Pot in pressure cooker mode.

2. Drain chickpeas and rinse with cold water.

3. In the Instant Pot insert, add the following ingredients:

– 3 tablespoons olive oil

– Drained chickpeas

– 1.5 cups chopped onions

– ¾ cup canned tomato sauce

– 5 cloves garlic, chopped

– 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or ground

– 2 bay leaves

– 1.25 teaspoon salt( adjust to taste).

4. Add 1.5 cups of water.

5. Add Chana Masala, stir it to mix everything, then seal the Instant Pot.

6. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode at high pressure for 15 mins.

7. After the Instant Pot beeps, release the pressure manually. If you have time, let the pressure release naturally. Remove lid and stir the contents.

8. If you prefer a thick gravy, use a big serving spoon to mash some garbanzo beans.

9. Turn the Instant Pot on manual low mode.

10. Add ½ teaspoon amchur or 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

11. Add Kasoori Methi.

12. Boil for a few minutes.

13. Keep stirring because the curry is thick and can stick at the bottom.

14. Dish it out and top it with freshly chopped coriander and sliced ginger. Ginger can add a bit of spice, so feel free to include it if you like.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Chana Masala/ Punjabi Chole

Q: Can I use dry Garbanzo beans?

A: Yes Certainly, dry garbanzo beans can be used. That’s how I have traditionally prepared chana masala for many years. For this particular recipe, you’ll require 1 level cup of dry garbanzo beans. Soak them overnight and follow the same cooking steps, but adjust the cooking time to 40 minutes in the instant pot. If you are using dry garbanzo beans I recommend using IP or traditional pressure cooker only and not stove top.

Q: Can I cook this on the stovetop?

A:  Certainly, you have the option to use canned garbanzo beans, but be prepared for an extended cooking time. If you intend to cook it in a pan on the stovetop, I suggest using only canned garbanzo beans. After combining all the ingredients, bring the mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for an additional 30 minutes until the beans become soft. Once they reach the desired softness, proceed with the cooking instructions provided above.

Q: How can I make it spicy?

A: Traditionally, we add chopped green chilies. Chilies not only provide heat but also enhance the flavor. Consider adding a few chopped chilies during or after the recipe is done. You can also add chopped fresh ginger slices. Ginger slices not only add heat and flavor but also make it easier to digest.

Q: Will the cooking time change if I alter the quantity?

A: No, the cooking time remains constant regardless of the quantity. If you increase the amount of garbanzo beans, make sure to adjust other ingredients accordingly.

Q: What should I serve it with?

A: Traditionally, this recipe is served with naan or bhatura (fried bread). It pairs well with rice too. I even served it at a barbecue event I hosted, and surprisingly, people loved it as a side!

Q: How should I grind the Chana Masala Spices?

A: I  use a small spice grinder, but you can also grind them with a mortar and pestle. Grinding them finely in mortar can be a bit challenging, especially the cardamom husks, but even if the texture is coarse, you can still add it, and the recipe will turn out just fine.

Q: What if I don’t want Amchur power?

A: You can replace amchur powder with lemon juice. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice after cooking chana masala.

Aromtic Rice


2 cup basmati rice

1.5 cups water

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2-inch piece cinnamon stick

4 green cardamoms

2 Cloves

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 bay leaves

Soak rice in all spices for at least 30 minutes. Then cook like you normally cook rice. Here are my two preferred ways to cook rice.

Instant Pot Directions for aromatic rice

  1. Place the basmati rice in the Instant Pot insert.
  1. Wash the rice a few times until the water runs clear.
  1. Drain the rice completely.
  1. Add  3 cups of water( water should be 1.5 times the rice) to the washed and drained rice.
  1. Add all spices to the rice.
  1. Allow the rice and spices to soak for 30 minutes.
  1. Turn the Instant Pot to the rice setting.
  1. Once the cooking cycle is complete, release the pressure.
  1. Gently fluff the rice with a fork. Remove bay leaves and whole spice. ( I only remove bay leaf, I think the whole spices contine to impart flavour to rice even after cooking)
  1. Your flavorful aromatic rice is ready to be served. Enjoy!

 Stovetop Directions for aromatic  Rice:

  1. Wash the rice in the pot you will use for cooking until the water runs clear.
  1. Drain out all the water.
  1. Add 4 cups of water to the pot.
  1. Add oil, cloves, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and green cardamoms to the rice.
  1. Allow the rice and spices to soak for 30 minutes.
  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  1. Once the water reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low.
  1. Simmer and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until all the water has evaporated.
  1. Gently fluff the rice with a fork.
  1. Your aromatic rice is now ready to be served. Enjoy the aromatic flavors!

The Rice Cooker directions are the same as above.

Author: Yogchakra

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