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Kala Chana (Black Chana)

Kala Chana is very high in protein and provides a nutritional meal. It has a low glycemic index and is a good protein option for people with Diabetes. Kala Chana is a variation of the commonly found chickpea but it is dark brown in color and smaller in size. It is also known as Bengal gram.

This recipe will serve 6

Kala Chana (Black Chana)Ingredients:

  • 1 cup kala chana
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 tablespoons gram flour (besan)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder (dhania)
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric (haldi)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder adjust to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt adjust to taste
  • Approximately 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (hara dhania) to garnish


  1. Wash and soak kala chana in approx. 4 cups of water, for at least 6 hours. The kala chana will double in volume after soaking.
  2. In a small bowl mix ginger, green chili, coriander powder, turmeric, and chili powder with ¼ cup of water. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a pressure cooker over medium high heat. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed and if it cracks immediately, the oil is ready for cooking.
  4. Add cumin seeds and as they crack, add asafetida and gram flour. Stir for few seconds. Add the mixed spices (step 2) and stir for another minute.
  5. Add soaked kala chana, and 4 cups of water to the pressure cooker. Close the cooker. As it starts steaming, turn down the heat to medium and cook for approx. 12 minutes. If your pressure cooker whistles then wait for 4-5 whistles.
  6. Turn off the heat and wait until all the steam has released before opening the pressure cooker.
  7. Add salt and slightly press down on the Kala Chana to thicken the gravy, let it cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat. You can always adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding more water. Simmer for a few minutes after adding the water.
  8. Stir in lemon juice and cilantro, just before serving. This goes very well with plain rice and makes for a complete meal.


Kala Chana can also be prepared without a pressure cooker. Just remember to cook on medium heat for 50 minutes to an hour with the lid closed. Unlike other beans, Kala Chana holds its shape well even after cooking, so be sure to test if it has cooked all the way.

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39 thoughts on “Kala Chana (Black Chana)

  1. Hi Manjula Aunty,
    I hope you are good!
    This recipe is my staple now and I have taught it to my mom too 😛
    Can you please share the name or the link where I can get a pressure cooker like yours in the US

  2. I found this recipe when I was searching for what to do with kala chana.
    I found kala chana at my local international foods market, and had never cooked it. I’ve cooked vegan Indian food for a few years, so I had besan flour and all the spices. This was the first time I have used besan flour to make a gravy with the dahl. I usually avoid using oil, or use only tiny amount, but since it was my first time making the recipe, I used some oil as directed. I found the gravy thickened up nicely as the finished dish cooled. It’s tasty! The black chickpeas are quite different than regular chickpeas. Smaller, firmer, with a thicker skin.

    Thanks for sharing your recipes!! Namaste 🙂

  3. Thank you Manjulaji for your recipes, which are helping me to learn cooking. For the kala-chana recipe, is turmeric 1/2 tablespoon? I used 1/2tablespoon and it came out good. But other recipes use smaller turmeric than this one.

  4. I recently found your web site and enjoy watching your cooking videos. I have a question regarding using a pressure cooker. My pressure cooker has three levels of pressure I can use, 5, 10 and 15 pounds of pressure. For your recipes which level will work best?

    Thank you

  5. Hi Aunty, I just made this dish for the first time and I am so happy with it! Thank for all of the great recipes and YouTube’s to show how it’ s all done.

  6. thnku vry much fr dis recipe…it will taste better if we blend 2tbsps of milk powder n 2tbsps of cooked chana to d coconut milk and add it to the curry n yeah d coconut shd be roasted too..if you are a thick gravy lover try dis…it vl taste yummyy..trust me!!!

  7. Dear aunty I would like to try this dish my husband loves chickpeas one question I have is what can be substitute for gram flour can I used regular all purpose flour

    1. I loved this recipe. I used chickpea flour and the gravy was not so thick. Next time I would use the flour listed in the ingredients or one used for basic rioux. All purpose flour would work. Other alternatives could be corn starch or potato flour. Just some ideas.

      1. Teresa,
        All purpose flour will not work, Use BESAN you can find this in Indian grocery stores, if you do not have besan mash some kala chana to give thickness to gravey. Chickpea flour is not the same as besan and if you follow my recipes I use besan for many dishes.

  8. I made this recipe for a second time. It is so delicious! Most Anglo-Americans have never even heard of black chickpeas.
    Maybe I was Indian in my last life because I can eat this every day and not get tired of it. I make it exactly as written except I don’t use a pressure cooker. I have to order the black chickpeas online as there is no Indian grocery near me. I am happy to have discovered ‘hing” as well. The smell when you drop it into hot oil is wonderful. Do you have any other recipes using black chick peas? Thank you for your website.

    1. I agree – I love black chana – always have. They are great boiled – with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt and red pepper mixed in. A great high-protein snack. I am looking forward to more recipes on here too – I grew up with a similar dry-paste version of this curry and haven’t seen them incorporated elsewhere.

  9. Hello Manjula Aunty,

    Many thanks for all your recepies. I refer to your website quite frequently. My wife is pregnant and I cook many recipes from your website for her. She enjoys the food very much.


  10. Hi Aunty,

    I have a question – when I added besan to the heated oil, I think it got a little burnt and gave a not-so-good smell and taste to my dish at the end.

    Should the flame be low when I add besan? Any other tips to avoid burning of besan is most appreciated…

    Thanks Aunty!

  11. This is the best preparation I have found for Kala Chana! The gravy is aromatic and salty and it pairs with rice so wonderfully. The gravy is thickened perfectly by the besan just so it isn’t too watery. Its flavor and consistency are similar to spanish black beans and rice, but the aroma beats it on all counts. Delicious!

  12. Manjula Aunty,
    The reciepe is wonderful. I never knew abt adding gram flour in the curry. i am definately going to try this tonight. Thanks once again.

  13. Have come across your website recently during my search for the pani puri recipe. You have a truly amazing collection of recipes and your step by step videos are just too good. My pani poori came out beautifully(have posted it on my food blog). Will surely be trying more of your delicious recipes.

  14. Namaste Manjula aunty !

    First of all i wanna thank you very much for sharing your recipes . All your recipes turn out very good . Just love the way how you make cooking so simple and easy which makes me visit your website again and again and try new recipes 🙂 .
    Like other dishes this one too turned out to be delicious !! .. We enjoyed it !! Cheers!!

  15. Looks yummy! I’ve always been looking for a good recipe for kala chanas and I think I’ve found one. Will surely try this out.
    I didnt know that gram flour is added too. Is it for the thickness of the gravy?

  16. Kala chana is delicious with rice when there is gravy and even more delicious with puffed rice or mur mure when it is dry! Bangali households really enjoy it specially at the time of breaking their fasts in Ramadan.

  17. Love this curry over plain rice…looks amazing …
    Aunty I has a query regarding April contest.can raw banana/plantain can b used instead of banana…hoping to hear from u soon

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