Chickpea Curry
Chole is the quintessential Indian soul food. This simple recipe achieves an authentic Punjabi chana masala flavor without a store-bought spice blend, and the sauce is full-bodied with bold garam masala and deep tomato flavors. While the Instant Pot can cook dried beans quickly, for this recipe I find that soaking the chickpeas creates a softer and more even texture. Serve with Jeera Rice, bhatura, or parathas.

Garam masala literally translates to “warm spice mix,” and it is the quintessential Indian spice blend. It gives warmth and depth to dishes and pairs perfectly with red or green chile for a hearty, aromatic flavor. Every region (and family) across India has its own version. My mom’s recipe calls for twenty-one whole roasted spices, some of which are hard to find, and it takes days to make. Here is a simplified version with a similar authentic flavor.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 4hours
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4servings 4hours
Cook Time
  • 1cup dried chickpeasrinsed
  • 3 1/2cups Water
  • 2tbsp ghee
  • 1tsp cuminseeds
  • 1 yellow onionfinely diced
  • 1tsp Gingerfresh, grated
  • 1tsp garlicminced
  • 1tbsp corianderground
  • 2tsp kosher salt
  • 1 -2tsp kashmiri red chilepowder or another mild red chile powder (see Note)
  • 1/4tsp turmericground
  • 2 plum tomatoescored and finely diced, or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2cup cilantrofresh, chopped
  • 1/4tsp garam masala(recipe below)
garam masala
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2tbsp cloves
  • 1tbsp cinnamon stickcrushed
  • 2-5 cardamom pods(about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1tbsp black cumin seeds (shah jeera)or cumin seeds
Garam Masala
  1. Select the normal Sauté setting on the Instant Pot. Lightly toast each spice, one at a time, by adding it to the pot and stirring continuously until aromatic, about 1 minute each. Make sure not to burn them. The goal is to remove any residual moisture so they are easy to grind.
  2. As the spices are toasted, transfer them to a plate and let cool completely. Grind the spices in a spice grinder to make a fine powder.
  3. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight for up to 6 months.
Chickpea Curry
  1. In a bowl, combine the chickpeas and 2 cups warm water and let soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Drain the chickpeas and set aside.
  2. Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the ghee. Add the cumin seeds directly to the hot oil at the bottom edges of the pot and cook until they start to sizzle, about 1 minute. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Cover the pot with a glass lid (or other nonlocking lid that fits) to speed up the process. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the coriander, salt, chile powder, turmeric, and chickpeas; pour in the 1 1/2 cups water; and stir well with a wooden spoon, nudging loose any browned bits from the pot bottom.
  3. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 35 minutes at high pressure.
  4. Let the pressure release naturally; this will take 10 to 20 minutes. Open the pot and stir in the tomatoes and garam masala. Select the high Sauté setting and cook until the tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve.
Recipe Notes

Substitute neutral vegetable oil or coconut oil for the ghee.
Use <ucsa> 1 teaspoon </ucsa> Kashmiri red chile powder for a milder curry, or  <ucsa> 2 teaspoons </ucsa> for a spicier curry. Organic chickpeas or older beans may need an extra 5 to 10 minutes of cooking time.