Kala Channa (Black Chick Pea Curry)

Kala Channa or Black Chick Peas Curry is a very down-to-earth homey dish, that is the best way to describe it. It has a way to making you feel very satisfied with your food. High in proteins, it’s a great choice for staying healthy. We love this dish with some hot rice. Simple to make and with abundance to flavor, get those taste buds going! Thanks, Sarika, for another great recipe!


Kala Channa – 2 cups
Water – 5 cups
Oil – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida – 1/8 tsp
Turmeric/Haldi – 1/4 tsp
Minced Ginger – 1 tsp
Minced Garlic – 1 tsp
Pureed Tomato Can – 14 oz
Salt – 2 tsp (or to taste)
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder – 1/2 tsp or to taste
Cilantro/Coriander Leaves – 10 sprigs, finely chopped


1. Wash and soak the Kala Channa in lots of water.
2. Soak them overnight (at least 8 hours).
3. In a pressure cooker, add the Kala Channas, Water and 1 tsp of Salt.
4. Mix, close the pressure cooker and cook on high.
5. Allow it to whistle 3 times and then lower heat to a simmer and cook for another 45 minutes.
6. Once done, turn off the flame and allow the pressure to go down by itself.
7. Check to see the Channas are cooked. Take one between your fingers and if you press it, it should squish.
8. For the seasoning, take a pan and heat Oil on medium flame.
9. Once hot, add in Asafoetida, Turmeric, Minced Ginger & Garlic, pureed Tomatoes in that order.
10. Mix well and add 1 tsp of Salt and cook till the oil separates from the mixture.
11. Once done, add in the dry spices – Garam Masala and Red Chili and mix.
12. Take a potato masher and gently mash some of the channas in the cooker.
13. Add everything from the cooker to the pan.
14. Also add chopped Cilantro/Coriander Leaves, cover and allow it to come to a boil.
15. Once it boils, check the spices.
16. Cook some more if you like thicker gravy and add additional water if you like it with more liquid (boil once again if you are adding more water)
17. Serve hot with Rice, Chapatis or Rotis.

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0 thoughts on “Kala Channa (Black Chick Pea Curry)

  1. Hi, ladies! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your expertise with us novice Indian food devotees! I have a question about pressure cookers: I bought one about 6 months ago and am afraid to use it because I don’t understand it. When you say “3 whistles” does that mean when the steam blasts out of it (remembering my mom’s cooker)? once it blasts / whistles, does it calm down and then reach pressure again and then again to make 3?

    1. Hi Cynthia,

      Yes, a whistle means when the pressure builds up and releases from the valve on top. Once released, the pressure will build up again and “whistle” again. The longer you keep it going, the more cooked your food will be.

  2. This is such a delight! I’m not a big fan of regular chickpeas as a dish, I usually just like my chickpeas in either hummus or as part of a salad or couscsou, but I was curious to try the black chickpeas. I seriously had a revelation! Thanks to both of you for helping me become a master chef and introducing me to ingredients I probably would have never tasted without you! I live in France and most ingredients are really hard to find here, but I stocked up on my last trip to India and now I’m ready to go! This recipe (as most of the ones on your site) is a definate keeper. I put it on my blog too! My “need meat all the time” husband hasn’t even noticed we’ve been eating vegetarian at least 3 nights out of the week.
    I can’t wait to try your egg curry.. that looks so good too!

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Glad we could introduce you to something new and super healthy AND happy to hear you liked the dish 🙂

      Excellent blog and Happy Cooking!

  3. Greetings!! I have been subscribed for years and I LOVE you ladies. One question where did you get your lovely pressure cooker? I sooo want/need one. Thank you and keep the great food coming. So nutritious and loved filled.

    1. Hi Tam Bi,

      We have several models of pressures cookers but we find that our 5 quart pressure pan is the most used. You can find it online or at some of the larger Indian grocery stores. Premier is a good brand as well as Prestige.

    1. Hi Nicholas,

      No, Chana Masala is usually made with white garbanzo beans. The taste and texture of these black chickpeas is very different.

  4. For those of us with pressure cookers that do not whistle, can you recommend an equivalent amount of time to cook the Channa? My cooker simply steams continuously and lifts one or two red marks on the reliefe valve to indicate high or low. I guessed 20 minutes on the high setting and it appears to have turned out all right. Delicious! Any clues you can give me to match whistles with time would be helpful.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Nate,

      Unfortunately, every pressure seems to work differently. Our best guess would be that once the pressure has been attained (high), one whistle would equal about 1 minute.

  5. hai anuja,i love to watch ur programs.tips are very usefull.could u plz say me how to preserve mint leaves

    1. Hi Farveen,

      You can either put mint stalks (root end) in a glass of water in the fridge or wrap them in a paper towel and keep them in a plastic bag in the fridge.

  6. Thank you Hetal and Anuja! The dish turned out really delicious.
    Love your website. Keep up the good work and continue inspiring us.

  7. Hi hetal & Anuja,
    Loved the recipe and the way both of you have presented the same. Although I have been consciously following your recipes its the first time I am submitting my query here.
    1) Just wanted to know that if I wanted to increase the proportion of the recipe by 3 times, do I have to increase the proportion of the ingredients in the same ratio?
    2) Also can I skip the garam masala part in the above? Will it affect the taste?
    Wanted to make this preparation for the ashtami / navami and hence can’t taste it unless feeding the small girls. Wanted to try this out….After all variety is the spice of life. Awaiting your reply…..Thanks.

    1. Hi Sudha,

      Yes, you can triple all of the ingredients (if you have a pressure cooker that is big enough). If not, you can cut down the water by a bit (double instead of 2.5 ratio) and add it in later. Garam masala has all the spices in one and because there are not many other spices in the recipe, it does add some level of flavor. If you are completely opposed to it, then you could leave it out.

  8. Made this over the weekend and it was amazing! Did a quick-soak for the kala channa and it worked very well. Put the channa in the pressure cooker and bring to pressure for 15-18 minutes, then release the pressure and let them sit in the liquid for about an hour, then cook again for another 20 minutes, or until soft. This works well for most beans, and you don’t have to soak them over night. Thanks for all the great recipes!

  9. Hi guys, i just made some Kala chana and I skipped every thing i had to do this evening and just ate my dinner as I could not resist. It came out awesome. This simple recipe but the details and techniques you indicated about the timing and cooking consistency was the key to me.Thanks a lot

    1. Hi Ramya,

      We have not experimented making kala chana in the slow cooker but as soon as we do, we’ll share the recipe. Thanks.

  10. Hi everyone!

    Try adding a teabag, or tea powder tied in a muslin cloth, in the pressure cooker while cooking the chana.. Gives it an almost rustic, lemony taste to the dish which I love, and makes it look like it was made by a pro chef!

  11. Hi Hetal,
    I like to see your recipies and i try it home..You can add finly chope onions and lemonjuice to kalachana it test good…try it

  12. You ladies are doing such an excellent job !!! I love how you ladies put it in simple step by step… easy to follow & the printer friendly… you can delete… just love it !!! Anyways… I know this many be simple… but sometimes many do not know the simple things that can be done. I may not be the brightest & many may know this. But, you can roast both kind of chickpeas. But, first clean with water & soak for half an hour & then roast, adding the desired salt as to taste. By, soaking it… it keeps the chickpeas more soft… but, less soaking can be done if the desired taste is hard for some people. This is just a perfect sank… while being healthy at the same time I guess. You can also roast rise & mix… also add Channa & salad… as per taste. I think you get what I am saying… anyways…. I love your website… for long I have been searching for me to learn to cook… you ladies could have not made it any easier. I appreciate it greatly!!! Keep up the good work !!!

    1. Hi Sabina,

      Thanks for sharing your idea…no idea or tip is too small to share.

      After soaking the chana, do you roast them on a tawa or can it be done in an oven? Also, can you soak them in salted water?

  13. Stuffed whole veggies: (taught to me by my narand):
    Take 6 whole long large chillies (mild ones), make a slit and scoop out seeds keeping top intact. Take 4 small baby aubergines the round variety works well but any will do. 4 small potatoes, boiled whole and skinned.
    Next make stuffing. 5 tbsp raw peanuts, roast in microwave for 5 minutes. Grind into a powder in a spice mill (i use a coffee grinder). To this add 1 full tbsp jaggery, half tsp each of corriander powder and cumin powder and roasted cumin powder, quater tsp each tumeric, green chillie paste, ginger paste, salt.
    Heat 2 tbsp oil, when hot add 2 tbsp gram flour and roast for just a min. Add peanut and spice mixture to heat through until jaggery melted and mixed. Can add drop water to make moist. When cool use to stuff vegies. When stuffed; cook veggies in a pan, in which u have heated tbsp oil (can pop some mustard seeds in oil if u like).
    Serve with lashing and rotli. My most favourite dish, even the carnivores in my familyove this. Can use any veggies including onion cut in half or peppars for stuffing. Love ferhana from Leicester UK.

  14. hi Anuja and Hetal

    i want to thank you both for the amazing recipes. i have tried so many dishes and all were easy to make and delicious. please keep many more recipes coming and i wish you both lots of luck.

  15. hello Hetal and Anuja,

    i am jus wondering why do we put garam masala and chilli powder after tomtoes get cooked? please reply

    1. Hi there,
      A lot of times Garam Masala is added as the last ingredient in a dish and does not require cooking at all. We felt that it does add a certain amount of flavor when added before boiling. Adding it to the tomatoes before cooking will give it a different flavor and the tartness will reduce a bit. You can add it earlier if you like and we are sure it’ll still taste good.

  16. hi girls

    to make this recipe even more flavourful….add a tsp of pav bhaji masala….it tastes yum( i have tried it myself)…i usually add chana masala to my chana curries….once i ran out of chana masala and added pav bhaji masala instead…the result was awesome

  17. Hi Hetal/Anuja,
    I like ur cooking tips and videos.. learned a lot.. i need ur tip.. how do u put ur burners so clean.. recently we bought a house… and burners got dirty due to overflow of tea..

  18. I would like to make the channa in a slow cooker as well. Can you tell me how that differs from how you have the procedure up top. Again, I am guessing I don’t need to soak them overnight. Please advise.

  19. Hi Hetal/Anuja,

    Can you please suggest an alternative for Pureed tomato can? If I am using tomatoes, how many should I use and how to make a puree?

    1. Hi R,

      To make tomato puree at home, you have to lightly cut an “x” mark at the bottom of the tomatoes with a knife (not very deep) and put them in a pot of boiling water (stove off). Keep them in the water for 5 minutes, remove them and put them in a bowl of ice water. The “x” mark will make the skin very easy to remove. Cut the tomatoes in half and de-seed them before grinding for a thicker and bright red puree, otherwise, just grind them as is, whole. The number of tomatoes will depend on how big they are…guessing approx 3-4 good size ones.

  20. tried this and it was outstanding—hats off to both of u—-a gr8 website and gr8 work
    keep going—god bless both of u—cheers

  21. I was wondering if you guys could show few more green unsual vegetable dishes, there are alot of people wanting veg dishes.Is this possible?
    Thank Alot.

    1. Hi Sammi,

      We try and show a variety of dishes as we have a lot of different viewers and need to take care of EVERYONE, hope you understand 🙂
      Thank you!

  22. Hi – I want to try this recipe! I have the kala channa but do not have a pressure cooker. After an overnight soaking, is there an equivalent cooking time at a covered simmer or another method to get them cooked to the same consistency as using the pressure cooker?

    Thanks – great site!!

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Honestly, we have never made this without a pressure cooker…but guessing, it’ll be about 2-3 hours. Our suggestion would be that you keep checking on it. Also, it’ll need more water as there will be a lot more evaporation ( add water as you go along).
      We have however made it in a slow-cooker and it took about 7-8 hours and it was fabulous!
      If you cook a lot of beans and lentils, a pressure cooker might be a worthwhile investment…
      Hope that helps 🙂

    2. I recently started using a crockpot after my pressure cooker went belly up. If you soak for 8 hrs, then a few hrs on high (if you are around to look in about once every hour) or 8-10 hrs on low works really well. Can make a big batch, so you have enough left for salads and chaats.

  23. I just wanted to let you know your website has been a Saviour. I lack the ability to cook and essentially hated the thought of having to cook b/c i always did something wrong and my food NEVER turned out O.K. But thanks to your recipes and easy to follow guidelines I’ve been making food that actually turned out good!This kala channa recipe in particular was a big hit with my family. Thank you girls so much! I look forward to trying every recipe on the website!

    Your awesome! Much love,

  24. hey girls ,
    i have one doubt will this gravy go with south indian layered parotta?please help me.

    Have a great day.

  25. I never thought of making kala chana gravy style. Looks yum. Will surely try it. Most of the time I have been making Shundal… with grated coconut, chopped red chilli, etc…. Thks for sharing. U guys are awesome!!

  26. Hetal and Anuja ,

    thank you for another great recipe ! you are the best!

    could you show a reciepe of ” whole vaal” please ? if you know gujarati you will know what vaal is.

    thank you
    Have a great day !

  27. Just one suggestion for all those who would like to try this yummy receipe, and that is sprouted kala chana. After it is soaked for couple of hours, drain out all the water and put it in a thin cloth and tie knot and leave it aside for overnight. The sprouted kalachana is more nutritious.

  28. Hi didi,

    I was thinking to share a similar recipe with u but was doubtful whether u will use this channa variety at ur house hold. This recipe of mine is south indian.

    1.Just boil the channa as u did. (i use 3/4 cup for two ppl)
    2.Make a paste of coconut(2 inch fat pieces),tomato(1 to 1 1/2,depending ur the masala u need ),cinnamon, cloves , green chilly,ginger(1 fat) and garlic(2 fat).
    2.Make a tadka of oil,onion and mustard seeds.
    3. Add the boiled channa to this and then add the paste. Mix well. Add salt,turmeric powder. check for spice levels and add red chilly pwdr if needed.
    4. Wait for a boil and cook it till the consistency u need. Done.

    Trust me didi, this is so yummmy with idlis…in the morning. Night u can have it with rice or roti and morning, the LO u can have it with idli.

    Also, i dont discard the water in which i soaked.

    Please try this when u have time.


        1. Hi Priya,
          We tried the soup and honestly, we felt there was something missing. So we are in the process of trying to see if we can change the ingredients a bit…will email and keep you posted. Can you think of anything that will give the soup an “umph” factor?

          Thanks again for sharing 🙂

        2. Is it? Hmm..i have no idea di. 🙁
          Do you think adding garam masala would help it any way? Im just not that good in my imagination! I remember my frnds telling that they added little zeera powder n coriander powder though. Not sure how it will influence the end product. Will update you once i get more ideas. Ill better ask my Mummy.

          Thanks again for getting back. 🙂

  29. you can also make it with the punjabi masala.
    Also we have it for breakfast,all you have to do is boil it and give a tarka of cumin seeds, add amchur powder,red chilli powder and chaat masala.Garnish with chopped onions,tomatoes and cilantro! You have a healthy breakfast!

  30. Don’t throw away the water you soaked chana’s in, u guys wasted the nutrients,flavour for which these chana’s r famous for.

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