Kala Channa Subzi (Bengal Gram Subzi)

Kala Channa Subzi is a a great way to get a high dose of protein and fiber into your diet. This dish can be served as a side dish or a snack. Have it with chapatis or puris or have it by the bowlful.

Soak Time: 8-12 hours
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4-6


Kala Channa – 2 cups, soaked overnight
Salt – 1 tsp
Water – 4 cups
Oil – 1 tbsp
Jeera / Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Hing / Asofoetida – 1/8th tsp
Haldi / Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
Onions – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 tbsp, minced
Garlic – 1 tbsp, minced
Green Chillies – to taste
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder – to taste
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp
Chaat Masala – 1/2 – 1 tsp
Cilantro – for garnish
Lime Juice – to taste


1. Wash and soak the Kala Channas overnight.
2. Drain water, add Salt and fresh Water, mix.
3. Pressure cook for 2 whistles,on medium-high then lower flame to simmer and cook for another 45 minutes.
4. Allow the pressure to realease and then open the cooker.
5. In a pan, heat Oil on medium heat. Once hot add Cumin Seeds. Allow them to sizzle.
6. Add in Hing, Turmeric, Curry Leaves, Onions, Ginger, Garlic and Green Chillies.
7. Mix and allow the Onions to turn translucent, approx 2 min.
8. Add the Kala Channas to the Pan (minus the water) and mix.
9. Add in the dry spices – Garam Masala, Red Chili Powder, Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder and Chat Masala.
10 Mix and add a little bit of Water (from the cooker) and allow the spices to cook and mix with the Kala Chanas.
11. Adjust the salt and spices if needed, cook for another 2-3 minutes and it is ready.
12. Garnish with fresh Cilantro and a genrous squeeze of Lime Juice.
13. Serve hot.

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41 thoughts on “Kala Channa Subzi (Bengal Gram Subzi)

  1. I followed the recipe to the letter, except I did not simmer it for 45 mins. I switched off the cooker after 4-5 whistles. It turned out great! thanks.

  2. I like presentation very much and both of u have pleasing personna which intacts me to give attention towards cooking and what both of of you are saying.And thanks a lot for this receipe.

  3. Hi girls,

    Thanks for posting such a nice dish. I always wonder how do you chop green chillies,ginger ,garlic or onions to such a small pieces. Do you use any chopper ? Please let me know ..i know this sounds silly..but am a beginner..so just want to ask you.

    thank you

    1. Hi Gowri,

      There really is no silly question, especially if you are a beginner. We have been in the kitchen a LONG time so we are able to mince ginger/garlic/green chilies, etc very finely using just a chef’s knife. When we have to mince a big quantity, we use a wet/dry grinder and just pulse it so that it does not become paste. Even choppers like the Ninja works well for big quantities.

  4. Loved this receipe – thanks for sharing! We think that Kala Channa is one of the underdogs of Indian cuisine and should be used a lot more. We have an Asian catering business in London and are always suggesting it as a menu option to our clients – and I for one ALWAYS opt for Kala Channa when making chaats and bhel puri. :))

  5. Wonderful recipe…looks delicious!
    I have a question though, i live in the US and i have bought Kala Chana plenty of times (different brands) but i can never get them to be soft enough! I used baking soda after hearing about it online to cook the chana and it does get soft but within 10mins after cooking it gets back to being super hard again. Any idea what i am doing wrong? Please help!

    1. Hi Anjali,

      The trick to getting soft chana is to pressure cook them until the cooker whistles twice and then reduce the flame to a simmer and continue to cook for another 45 mins. We never add baking soda while cooking chana.

  6. Thank you, for posting this. This makes very good Salad.
    Refrigerate.Take small portion, microwave and have it as salad,when you come back from work.

  7. In our family,we add some finely chopped onions, cilantro and green chillies to the boiled channa water once its cooled. We also squeeze in some tamarind/lime juice and adjust the salt. This is served cold with hot rice….so delish!!!!

  8. I wonder how this would work in a wrap. I buy the frozen pindi chole wrap, and its yummy, but I’m sure home-made would taste much better.

    1. Hi Pramila,

      We haven’t tried this in a wrap, but would imagine that it would be kind of dry. These chana don’t stick together so they would be falling out all over the place.

  9. Ahh, you posted this at just the right time — I’ve been wanting to try cooking kala chana and just bought some 2 weeks back!
    If I don’t have a pressure cooker, how long will they take to cook?

    1. Hi Heidi,

      Unfortunately, we are spoiled by our pressure cooker and have never cooked these in a pot :). Like most beans, they should take anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 hrs (maybe a little longer even because of their tough skin). After soaking, drain the water and add fresh water. Bring the water and beans to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the beans at a simmer. When the bean easily smashes between your thumb and finger, it is cooked.

    1. Hi Sweety,

      We always buy our spices from our local Indian grocery store. The quantities are usually larger, but it is definitely more economical.

  10. We usuallyprepare this subji just the way you showed..But finally we add some shredded fresh / dry coconut pwdr..It adds some more delicious flavor to it…

    My mom & MIL prepares curry out of the liquid..
    It goes well with rice..The combination of channa subji,curry & rice is really yum… ๐Ÿ˜›

  11. Wow this looks good! I had been planning to make your Kumro Chokka recipe again this week now butternut squashes are in season – but now I think I’ll try this recipe instead and do something else with the squash! It’ll make a great Sunday brunch dish with puris and suji di halwa.

    Thank you God for making me Indian ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I don’t know. Something about these awesome videos and incredible recipes… they’re great for us,but really, what is in it for you guys? You have mastered the form. I eagerly await each new recipe and end up making it within the week. I love them and often impress the people around me with my newfound Indian cooking skill.

    But I do worry about you guys. What is left for you to conquer?

    I think you know where I am going with this. There needs to be a Show Me The Curry movie. PLOT PROPOSAL: A giant corporation has mass-prepared food served in a ubiquitous generic restaurant chain, thereby acclimating the planet to bland and terrible tastes. Cultural deterioration ensues.

    Anuja pops out with a bow and arrow, while Hetal breaks out an outdoor burner, dollar store spatula, TJ Maxx pan and liberates civilization with Bhature Cholle.

    The Hunger Dames? Something like that.

    So like I was saying. I’ll make this Kala Channa soon. Carry on ladies, thanks as usual.

    1. Hahahahahha! You are kinda ridiculously funny ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ Please don’t make a movie ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. Hi Gerard!

      Ha ha ha ha ha! First things first… this ranks as the “FUNNIEST” comment we’ve ever gotten here on SMTC! If we didn’t make these videos, we wouldn’t get to interact with our lovely viewers. If we ever decide to make “Show Me The Curry – the Movie”, we will have to get you to direct it. Thanks for putting a smile on our faces :).

  13. I heard that the water in which channa is soaked in is also very nutricous. I use that water for cooking channa. Adding coconut at the end will give a wonderful taste.

    1. Hi R,

      There are mixed reviews regarding using soaking water. Some people swear by it because of the flavor. Others don’t recommend using it because it makes the dish harder to digest (more gassy, for lack of a better term).

  14. How long for cooking in one of today’s pressure cookers? Do you cook kala channa for a lot longer than channa? (I generally pressure cook kala channa on high pressure for 15″, but it strikes me as maybe a little too dry and chewy). HOW I WISH you’d write a pressure cooker Indian cookbook that would cover both styles of pressure cookers!!

    1. Hi Sally,

      Between the two of us, we must own more than 10 pressure cookers (all different shapes and sizes). Incredibly, not one of them is the non-whistling type. Not having used one, we cannot accurately comment on cooking times…sorry. I would imagine that the cooking time would be a bit longer than for regular white chana. The way to get soft (not dry and chewy) chana is to pressure cook them at full heat for a couple of minutes and then reducing the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for about 30-45 minutes.

  15. Looks really yummy ๐Ÿ™‚ don’t get me wrong , I feel onions were far too less for the amount of channa ! For a snack what you did would be great but as a subzi it would definitely need more ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. yayy iam the first person to comment… excited to try it today… hope 8 hours of soaking doesent necessarily mean soaking in the night…. you guys make life so easy nd please these days you guys are in break for a longg time and then getting back with a bang…thanks a bunch

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