Instant Pot Masala Desi Chickpeas (Masala Desi Chana). Pressure cooker brown chickpeas, with a hint of garam masala.
Desi chickpeas are smaller than regular chickpeas, with a striking dark brown color. I discovered them when they showed up in my Rancho Gordo bean box - my favorite way to find new beans. And I’m cooking them in my Instant Pot, because pressure cooking is my favorite way to cook dried beans.
What should you do with desi chickpeas? They are great served plain as a side dish, with a little of their broth. They also make great hummus - substitute them for regular chickpeas in my hummus recipe.
- Dried Desi Chickpeas
- Garam Masala
- Baking soda
See recipe card for quantities.
Desi chickpeas are smaller and denser than "regular" chickpeas, with a dark brown color. If you can't find them, you can substitute regular chickpeas, or black chickpeas.
I add a hint of Indian flavors to the beans by toasting some garam masala spice blend in butter. If you want plain chickpeas, that’s fine - skip the butter and the masala. Like most beans cooked from dried, these beans have a lot of flavor on their own.
If you don't have garam masala spice blend, you can substitute an Indian curry powder. It won't be authentic garam masala spices, but it will still be good.
A 6-quart pressure cooker. (Or larger - this recipe was originally cooked in my 10-quart stovetop pressure cooker, but I switched to full time Instant Pot use years ago.)
Pressure cooker dried beans are one of the reasons I became a pressure cooker convert. Try them - you’ll never go back to canned beans. (OK, maybe you will, for convenience - but see the Storage section for tips on make ahead freezer beans.)
This recipe scales down easily - cut everything in half if you don’t need as many beans, or have a 3-quart pressure cooker. Scaling up runs into space issues; if you have an 8-quart pressure cooker, or larger, you can double this recipe, but it’s too much to fit in a 6-quart pressure cooker.
🤨 Soaking desi chickpeas?
These chickpeas a small, dense bean, so dense that I can’t give my usual “don’t bother soaking them before pressure cooking” instructions. They need an overnight soak to get tender, or at least a quick soak. (See the recipe for instructions). Even then, cooked to creaminess, these chickpeas still have a noticeable “al dente” resistance when biting into them.
Beans are an agricultural product, and stuff tends to creep in when they are processed. Beans should always be sorted and rinsed before using, to get rid of any twigs, stones, clumps of dirt, or broken beans.
To sort the beans, I pour them out on one side of a rimmed baking sheet (a half-sheet pan), to keep the beans from escaping. Then I slowly run my fingers through the pile of beans, pulling them towards me on the sheet. I watch the beans as they move, looking for anything that doesn't seem right. If I see something, I poke around in the beans until I find what caught my eye, and discard it. I repeat this a couple of times, until I'm satisfied everything is out of the beans.
Then I dump the beans into a fine mesh strainer and rinse them under cold running water, to wash off any dirt or dust still on the beans.
Now the beans are sorted, rinsed, and ready for soaking or cooking.
💡Tips and Tricks
- Salt your bean water! “Salt toughens beans” is a myth. Salting before cooking helps season the beans all the way through as they cook.
- If your beans are still tough when the cooking time is over, especially any “floaters” at the top of the pot, give the beans a stir, lock the lid, and pressure cook for another five minutes. Older beans take longer to cook, and if the beans have been sitting in the shelf at your store for a while, they may need extra time.
- Simmer to thicken: If you have the time, and want thicker bean liquid, simmer the beans for 20 minutes after pressure cooking. I set my Instant Pot to Sauté mode adjusted to low, set the timer to 20 minutes, and leave the lid off to let the broth evaporate.
Inspired by: Desi Chana from RanchoGordo.comPrint
Instant Pot Masala Desi Chickpeas (Masala Desi Chana). Pressure cooker brown chickpeas, with a hint of garam masala
- 1 pound Desi Chickpeas, sorted and rinsed
- 8 cups of water (for soaking)
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt (or 2 teaspoons table salt) for soaking water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1½ teaspoons garam masala powder
- 5 cups water
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda (optional)
- Sort and rinse the beans: Spread the beans out on a rimmed baking sheet and discard any stones, dirt, or broken beans. Rinse the beans, then do an overnight or a quick soak.
- Soak the beans overnight: Cover the beans with the 8 cups of water and add the 1 tablespoon of salt. Leave the beans to soak at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
- OR Pressure Quick Soak the beans for 1 minute with a 30 minute rest: Put the beans, 8 cups of water, and 1 tablespoon of salt in an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. Pressure cook at high pressure for 1 minute (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot for 1 minute), then let the beans sit for 30 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure, drain the beans, and discard the soaking liquid. Wipe out the pot before continuing.
- Toast the spices: In an Instant Pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over sauté mode adjusted to medium (medium heat in a stovetop PC). Stir the garam masala into the butter and toast for 1 minute. Stir in the beans, then pour in the water, and stir in 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon baking soda.
- Pressure Cook for 25 minutes with a 15 minute Natural Release: Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 25 minutes (Use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 22 minutes if using a stovetop pressure cooker. Let the pressure come down naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
- Serve: Carefully remove the lid – tilt it away from you to avoid the hot steam. Serve the beans immediately, or store them in their cooking liquid in 2 cup containers, up to 3 days in the refrigerator, or for 6 months frozen.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: Instant Pot Desi Chickpeas, Instant Pot Desi Chana, Pressure Cooker Desi Chickpeas, Pressure Cooker Desi Chana
A 2-cup container of cooked chickpeas, with cooking liquid, replaces a 15-ounce can of beans from the grocery store. They’ll last in the refrigerator for a few days, and freeze for up to 6 months. I always make extra beans, and freeze the leftovers for use in other recipes. Freezer beans are ready to use with about 5 minutes in the microwave, and are so much better than canned.
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