Black Chana Masala

Black Chana Masala/ Kadalekaalu curry is a delicious, traditional south Indian dish. The main ingredient of this curry is the Kala chana/black chickpeas. These are soaked overnight and then pressured cooked in an onion-tomato base with potatoes, ground spices, and herbs. This recipe is simple and the curry is very light, not making use of coconut or too much masala.

Black chickpeas are a good source of protein and have other nutritional benefits. Adding these protein-rich, fiber-loaded lentils to our daily diet keeps us feeling fuller for a long time. And I think there is no better way to incorporate these lentils than in a delicious black chana masala. This curry goes perfectly well with steamed rice or chapati. If you are a ghee lover like me, try the steamed white rice-black chana masala combo with a dollop of ghee, and let me know how you like it? 😉

Prep time: 10 hours
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 10 hours 20 minutes
Yield: 3 servings


1 cup black chana(Black chickpeas), soaked overnight
2.5 cups of water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 green chilli, slit into half
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1.5 tablespoons sambar powder, homemade or store bought
Tomato paste, of 2 large tomatoes
1 medium potato, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon garam masala(optional)
Coriander leaves, chopped
Salt to taste

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a pressure cooker on a low-medium flame.
  2. Once hot, crackle mustard seeds. Then saute ginger, garlic, green chilli, chopped onion until soft.
  3. Pour in freshly ground tomato paste, stir well and cook for a minute.
  4. Add turmeric powder, sambar powder, and sauté on low heat for 30 seconds to a minute. Make sure to not burn the masala powders.
  5. Add potato cubes and black chana. Fry them for a minute.
  6. Pour 3 cups of water, and salt to taste. Stir everything well and let the mixture come to a boil. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary.
  7. Pressure cook on medium heat until black chickpeas are tender (usually 6-7 whistles are sufficient).
  8. Once the pressure cooker depressurizes, adjust the consistency of the curry by adding water if necessary. Then boil the curry on low heat for a minute or two.
  9. Add garam masala (optional), mix well, and turn off the heat after a minute.
  10. Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves and serve with hot rice or chapati.
Black Chana Masala
  • You can tweak the quantity of each ingredient as per your taste and preference
  • To expedite cooking time, soak black chickpeas for 10-15 hours.
  • Do not add too much water to pressure cook the chickpeas as the curry would become runny. You could always adjust the consistency later on.
  • Black chana masala can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 day.

If you tried this recipe, let me know how you liked it! 🙂

Rating: 1 out of 5.

You can also tag your food recreations of this recipe on my Instagram @swaadista and using #SwaadistaRecipes

Happy cooking and happy eating ❤

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