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Kala Chana Masala – Protein-Rich Indian Recipe (Vegan Black Chickpea Curry)

Kala Chana Masala – Protein-Rich Indian Recipe (Vegan Black Chickpea Curry)

If I ask you, which one is your favorite – white chickpea masala (chhole) or black chickpea masala (kala chana masala)? I am always confused but if I had to choose, I would definitely go for kala chana masala.

This Indian curry is aromatic, flavourful, rich in protein, and just so tasty. It is one recipe that will be loved by everyone in the family. And if you are looking for something fuss-free for your guests, then this recipe is perfect for that. This party-style recipe requires basic ingredients and gets ready faster. You can make it for lunch and for a delightful weekend brunch too. I won’t recommend it for dinner because some people find it hard to digest.

Story Time

This one dish reminds me of my hostel days. Surprised? But it is true. Back in my hostel days when I was doing Mechanical Engineering, I always looked forward to this weekly breakfast – kala chana with poori and chai. I was not a fan of eating anything deep-fried and heavy for breakfast but when I had this, I fell in love. I always thought that I won’t eat it every week but then I surrendered to the divine combination. Our hostel cook used to serve us hot pooris and I always made it a point to go a little early so that I can enjoy my breakfast. I did not want any morning rush while having this breakfast.

No one would believe that I loved my hostel food but I did. From kala chana poori to chhole bhature on Sundays, from simple dal rice to potato sandwiches, I loved them all. I guess I was not a picky eater and would enjoy anything that is served, especially when it is hot and fresh. Even today, whenever I make this recipe, Jatin and I talk about how I loved it in my hostel days. Some memories don’t bore you even after repeating them 100s of times. Anyway, you also try this delicious recipe and enjoy it with your family.

What is Kala Chana or Black Chickpeas?

Kala Chana or Black Chickpea is a legume. It is native to India and it is also known as Bengal Gram or Desi Chickpeas. Kala = Black and Chana = Chickpea, hence the name. Black Chickpea is smaller in size and darker in color than white chickpeas also known as chole or safed chana.

You can eat them raw after soaking them for 6 to 8 hours, sprout them, or cook and make delicious curries from them. It is very healthy and highly rich in proteins. It gives you energy and makes you stronger. My dad always said that it is the favorite meal of horses 🙂

What is Kala Chana Masala?

Kala Chana Masala or Black Chickpea Curry is an Indian curry that is quite popular in Punjab. It is a Punjabi recipe. In this recipe, kala chana is cooked with onion and tomatoes, and some Indian spices. Everybody has their own way to make this recipe. Some people prefer to make it dry while some make it gravy-like. Some prefer to add chopped onion and tomatoes, while some make a puree. There is no such thing as – which one is better. They all taste divine and all are equally appreciated and loved.

What is the difference between black chickpea and white chickpea?

Black chickpea is dark in color and white chickpea is light and pale. Black chickpea is smaller in size than white chickpeas. The black one is known as kala chana while white ones are called chole. Both are used to make salads and curries.

Tips to make it right

1 – Soaking

Kala Chana or black chickpeas take a long time to cook. It is very important to soak them the night before or at least for 6 to 8 hours. They absorb water and increase in size.

2 – Consistency

You can make it dry, with thick gravy-like consistency, or with a slightly thinner curry. I make this recipe with a slightly thinner curry. I meant thinner but not runny. Kala chana has the tendency to keep on absorbing water even after cooking. So, adjust the consistency accordingly. Switch off the flame when it still has some water left. Because once rested for some time, it tends to get thicker. You will know when you make it. Don’t worry.

What to do when Kala Chana Curry gets thicker than needed?

As I said, kala chana keeps on absorbing water even after cooking. Also, the leftover curry gets very thick. To adjust the consistency, I simply add a little water depending on the consistency I need and let it cook well for a few minutes till it is hot and boiling. Cooking for a little while at this stage is important otherwise you will get the taste of water in the curry. And don’t worry. It is not rocket science. It is very simple.

Is this recipe vegan?

Yes. It is a 100% plant-based or vegan recipe. All the ingredients used in this recipe are plant-based or vegan.

Generally, this recipe is made using ghee. But since I don’t eat ghee or avoid dairy, I make it using cooking oil. It tastes absolutely delicious.

How to cook Kala Chana or Black Chickpeas?

Before cooking Kala Chana or black chickpeas, always soak them in water overnight or at least for 6 to 8 hours. This step is very important because it helps in the faster cooking of chickpeas. After they are soaked for hours, they absorb the water and become bigger in size. That is why always soak them in a bigger bowl with a water level at least 3 inches above the level of chana.

To cook chickpeas, you will need either a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot.

Pressure Cooker:

Add 1 Cup chickpeas (pre-soaked) to the pressure cooker with enough water (approx. 3 Cups). Add some salt to it. Close the lid and let them cook on high flame till the first whistle. After a whistle, lower the flame and cook for another 20 minutes. Let it depressurize on its own. Once depressurized, you will notice that the chickpeas are soft and tender. They should get mashed on pressing between the fingers.

Instant Pot:

This is the easiest method to cook anything. You just need to add chickpeas (1 Cup, pre-soaked), water (2.5 to 3 Cups), and some salt. Close the lid and choose the PRESSURE COOK mode. It cooks for 20 – 25 minutes. Then, let it release the pressure on its own.

I would suggest not using any pot or pan to cook chickpeas. They take a very long time to get soft and well-cooked.

How to store Kala Chana Masala?

You can let them cool completely and store them in an air-tight container. Refrigerate and consume within 2 days. Although I would recommend making them fresh, but you can definitely freeze them and use them for up to a month. Just thaw and reheat after taking it out of the freezer or take it out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator a day before consuming.

How to serve Kala Chana Masala?

It is often served with rice, poori, or parathas with some curd, raita, salad, chutney waala pyaz or pickled onion, and Indian pickle on the side.

More Indian Curries – just as good

  1. Dilli Wale Pindi Chole (Chickpea Curry)
  2. Punjabi Rajma Masala (Kidney Bean Curry)
  3. Vegan Dal Makhni (Creamy Lentil)
  4. No Onion, No Garlic Paneer Gravy
  5. Non-Fried Lauki Kofta

That’s it, my dear friend. You are all ready to make this kala chana masala recipe at home. It is one of the best Indian Vegetarian Recipes. It is perfect for an office lunch box too. So, grab all the ingredients because you are ready to make a delicious happy meal for yourself.

If you make this recipe and like it too, please share the photo of your dish on Instagram and tag us too @thefearlesscooking. We love to see your recreation of our recipes.

Happy Cooking 🙂

Love from us

Richa

Kala Chana Masala – Protein-Rich Indian Recipe (Vegan Black Chickpea Curry)

Delicious. Restaurant-Style. Vegan.

There will always be a debate about which is better - chole or kala chana masala. There is no such thing as better, both are equally delightful and loved. But I would say try this recipe because I love it more :D

Soak Kala Chana today and Make It!

4

Servings

10 min

Prep Time

75 min

Cook Time

1 hr 25 min

Total Time

Courses


Ingredients

Steps

Pre-soak Kala Chana
  1. In a large bowl, add kala chana and fill the bowl with water. 
  2. The water level should be at least 3-Inch higher than the level of black chickpeas or kala chana.
  3. Let it rest overnight or for at least 6 to 8 hours. 
  4. After soaking, the size of chickpeas will be bigger.
  5. After soaking, rinse the chickpeas 2 to 3 times with water. 
Pressure Cook Kala Chana
  1. In an Instant Pot, add chickpeas, salt to taste (1 Tsp approx.), and water. 
  2. Cover the lid and set the mode - Bean Chili, 20 minutes. 
  3. You can do the same using a pressure cooker. Read the blog above for details.
  4. Once done, let it depressurize itself. 
Tempering
  1. In a large saucepan or kadhai, heat some oil.
  2. While the oil is getting heated, prepare the paste of onion, ginger and garlic in a blender.
  3. Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds to it and let them crackle until brown. It takes a few seconds.
  4. Then add onion, ginger and garlic paste to it. Mix well and let them cook until brown. It takes around 5 minutes on high flame.
  5. Meanwhile, blend tomatoes into a fine puree. 
  6. Once the onion paste is done, add tomato puree along with a pinch of salt, red chili powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well and let it cook on high flame until it starts to release the oil. It takes around 20 minutes. 
  7. Keep stirring in between to avoid burning.
  8. Once tomatoes are well cooked, add chana masala and mix well. 
  9. Then add cooked black chickpeas (kala chana) along with the water in which they were cooked. Mix well and let it come to a boil. 
  10. Once it starts to boil, lower the flame and cover it. Cook until you get the desired consistency - around 30 minutes
  11. Keep stirring in between.
  12. Once done, remove from the flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 
  13. Serve hot with rice, roti, parathas, or poori. Enjoy this heavenly meal. 

FAQs

What is Kala Chana Masala?
+

Kala Chana Masala or Black Chickpea Curry is an Indian curry that is quite popular in Punjab. It is a Punjabi recipe. In this recipe, kala chana is cooked with onion and tomatoes, and some Indian spices. Everybody has their own way to make this recipe. Some people prefer to make it dry while some make it gravy-like. Some prefer to add chopped onion and tomatoes, while some make a puree. There is no such thing as – which one is better. They all taste divine and all are equally appreciated and loved.


What is the difference between black chickpea and white chickpea?
+

Black chickpea is dark in color and white chickpea is light and pale. Black chickpea is smaller in size than white chickpeas. The black one is known as kala chana while white ones are called chole. Both are used to make salads and curries.


What is Kala Chana or Black Chickpeas?
+
Kala Chana or Black Chickpea is a legume. It is native to India and it is also known as Bengal Gram or Desi Chickpeas. Kala = Black and Chana = Chickpea, hence the name. Black Chickpea is smaller in size and darker in color than white chickpeas also known as chole or safed chana. You can eat them raw after soaking them for 6 to 8 hours, sprout them, or cook and make delicious curries from them. It is very healthy and highly rich in proteins. It gives you energy and makes you stronger. My dad always said that it is the favorite meal of horses 🙂

What to do when Kala Chana Curry gets thicker than needed?
+

As I said, kala chana keeps on absorbing water even after cooking. Also, the leftover curry gets very thick. To adjust the consistency, I simply add a little water depending on the consistency I need and let it cook well for a few minutes till it is hot and boiling. Cooking for a little while at this stage is important otherwise you will get the taste of water in the curry. And don’t worry. It is not rocket science. It is very simple.


How to cook Kala Chana or Black Chickpeas?
+
Before cooking Kala Chana or black chickpeas, always soak them in water overnight or at least for 6 to 8 hours. This step is very important because it helps in the faster cooking of chickpeas. After they are soaked for hours, they absorb the water and become bigger in size. That is why always soak them in a bigger bowl with a water level at least 3 inches above the level of chana. To cook chickpeas, you will need either a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot.

Pressure Cooker:

Add 1 Cup chickpeas (pre-soaked) to the pressure cooker with enough water (approx. 3 Cups). Add some salt to it. Close the lid and let them cook on high flame till the first whistle. After a whistle, lower the flame and cook for another 20 minutes. Let it depressurize on its own. Once depressurized, you will notice that the chickpeas are soft and tender. They should get mashed on pressing between the fingers.

Instant Pot:

This is the easiest method to cook anything. You just need to add chickpeas (1 Cup, pre-soaked), water (2.5 to 3 Cups), and some salt. Close the lid and choose the PRESSURE COOK mode. It cooks for 20 – 25 minutes. Then, let it release the pressure on its own. I would suggest not using any pot or pan to cook chickpeas. They take a very long time to get soft and well-cooked.

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