Gravy, Plant Based Dishes, Sides

Punjabi Kala Channa Recipe|Easy Curries|Vegan+GF

Punjabi-style Kala Channa is one of the most oft repeated dishes at home as a Sunday brunch with either Puri / Bhatura / Naan or just plain Phulkas (practically any Flatbread). This Punjabi Kala Channa, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t use Cream or dairy, making it not just protein-rich but also vegan+GF. Many households including mine dont believe that Cream-heavy is the way to go for Punjabi style dishes. So, like this Low fat Punjabi Dum Aloo, this was licked clean at last week’s Sunday brunch. Paired with Bhatura (which seemed to be in a mood of its own), and some salad, this was a feast the kids loved a lot.

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Punjabi Kala Channa : a protein rich Gravy for Rotis / Flatbreads

Kala Channa or black chickpeas is an excellent source of plant-based protein and makes for tasty dishes, like

Although I had made this curry several times earlier, I followed Vaishali’s recipe, for the authentic Dilli-wala taste, and tried this with a few changes here and there. Overall, this version seems to the version that the kids loved. Take my word and make a huge batch of this. As it sits, the gravy develops so much more depth and flavour.

Tips to make a great Punjabi Kala Channa gravy

  1. I have used homemade Veg stock in place of water to cook the chickpeas.
  2. Also, I have used pre-cooked and frozen Chickpeas that made it possible to make this curry in less than 20 mins from start to finish.
  3. If you need tips on how to cook and freeze legumes in bulk, head here for a quick video. I have left the thumbnails of both these videos in the post below.
  4. Keep the masala to a minimum and let the chickpeas (kala Channa shine through)
  5. You can serve this with Steamed Basmati Rice OR any flatbread
Punjabi Kala ChannaPin
Punjabi Thali served with Bhatura, Salad, Kala Channa, Jeera Rice

Let’s get started.

Prep time – 15 mins, Soaking and Cooking time – 10 hours (If not using canned chickpeas or previously cooked chickpeas); else 20 mins ; Serves – 4 generously

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Ingredients to make Punjabi Channa Masala

  • 2 cups Cooked Chickpeas (I used dark, small variety)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Onions (sliced thin)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 10 cashews
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Channa Masala
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 cups Homemade Veg Stock (Unsalted)
  • 1/2 tsp Caraway seeds (Shahjeera)
  • 1 tsp Kasuri Methi (crushed)
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Method to make the BEST Punjabi Channa Masala

  1. Blanch Tomatoes, peel.
  2. Caramelise the sliced onions in 1 tsp of oil on low heat with a pinch of salt. Cool
  3. Soak Cashews in warm water for 20 mins
  4. Grind blanched tomatoes with the caramelised onions, cashews to a smooth paste.
  5. In a pressure oan or a thick bottomed pan, add oil
  6. Add caraway seeds, bay leaf. Add the ground onion-tomato-cashew paste
  7. Saute till raw smell disappears and oil starts leaving the sides (about 10 mins).
  8. Add the cooked chickpeas, Homemade veg stock, salt, spice powders and stir well.
  9. Close and pressure cook for 10 mins on high for 3 whistles, switch to medium flame and cook for 10 mins.
  10. When the pressure releases, mash up 2 tsp of the cooked chickpeas in the gravy (to give it thickness)
  11. Adjust salt, spice at this stage.
  12. Simmer for 10 mins. Top with crushed kasuri methi
  13. Serve hot with a salad and flatbread on the side. This Punjabi Channa Masala also tastes good with steamed rice

Notes to make a great curry

  1. You can use White / brown chickpeas for this gravy. 
  2. Caramelisation of onions + using homemade stock adds a GREAT deal of depth to this curry. Do not skip both steps
  3. If using canned chickpeas, drain and use.
  4. If using Store bought Veg stock, adjust salt accordingly
  5. If not using cashews, add a dash of cream towards the end for a creamier finish.  
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4.5 from 2 votes

Punjabi Channa Masala

A delicious gluten Free, vegan side dish for Roti/Naan/ Rice made with black Chickpeas simmered in a tomato-base and basic pantry spices
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Chickpea, Curry, Gluten Free, Gravy, Party Ideas, Punjabi, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Soaking time (opt.) 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Kalyani

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker
  • Ladle
  • Kadai

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Chickpeas I used dark, small variety
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Onions sliced thin
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 10 Cashews
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Channa Masala
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1.5 cups Homemade Veg Stock Unsalted
  • 1/2 tsp Caraway Seeds Shahjeera
  • 1 tsp Kasuri Methi crushed

Instructions

  • Blanch Tomatoes, peel.
  • Caramelise the sliced onions in 1 tsp of oil on low heat with a pinch of salt. Cool
  • Soak Cashews in warm water for 20 mins
  • Grind blanched tomatoes with the caramelised onions, cashews to a smooth paste.
  • In a pressure oan or a thick bottomed pan, add oil
  • Add caraway seeds, bay leaf. Add the ground onion-tomato-cashew paste
  • Saute till raw smell disappears and oil starts leaving the sides (about 10 mins).
  • Add the cooked chickpeas, Homemade veg stock, salt, spice powders and stir well.
  • Close and pressure cook for 10 mins on high for 3 whistles, switch to medium flame and cook for 10 mins.
  • When the pressure releases, mash up 2 tsp of the cooked chickpeas in the gravy (to give it thickness)
  • Adjust salt, spice at this stage.
  • Simmer for 10 mins. Top with crushed kasuri methi
  • Serve hot with a salad and flatbread on the side. This Punjabi Channa Masala also tastes good with steamed rice

Notes

  1. You can use White / brown chickpeas for this gravy. 
  2. Caramelisation of onions + using homemade stock adds a GREAT deal of depth to this curry. Do not skip both steps
  3. If using canned chickpeas, drain and use.
  4. If using Store bought Veg stock, adjust salt accordingly
  5. If not using cashews, add a dash of cream towards the end for a creamier finish.  

Linking this to BM#123 under “Protein Rich Dishes” for this week.

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4 Comments

  1. Srivalli Jetti

    5 stars
    What a fantastic curry Kalyani, love your entire platter! looks so yum and inviting..I won’t mind going in for third serving too when you serve these..:)

  2. Suma Gandlur

    4 stars
    Chana recipes with variations are welcome in my home. The cashews must have lent a rich taste to this curry and must have made this more delicious.

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