Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Curry Rice Bowl

Pressure cook a tangy and spicy curry right along with the brown rice in just one go by stacking the rice in the pressure cooker on top of the curry.

This recipe uses the “duplex” pressure cooking method which allows for cooking two or three (triplex) different dishes at the same time. So while a spicy curry boils in the base, the rice is gently steamed in a heat-proof dish above.

The rice is pressure cooked to fluffy perfection by steaming it in a heat-proof dish.  This leaves the base of the cooker free to cook a second dish – like a spicy chickpea curry!

Tomato, tomato?!?

When I first published this recipe in 2013 I made this curry with tomato paste -from my chickpea minestrone experience -the curry was delicious but a little bit runny. This is a very popular recipe in my household so I’ve varied it with whatever I had on hand with great success. The more “pieces” of tomatoes are in the curry the more naturally thick it becomes. The tomato product you use will vary the amount of liquid in the recipe, so adjust these ingredients as follows in the recipe according to which product you’re using:

  • Tomato Paste – use 2 tablespoons tomato paste and two cups water
  • Chopped Tomatoes (canned) – use one 14.5 oz (400g) can of chopped tomatoes and one cup of water
  • Fresh Tomatoes – use 2 1/2 cups (about 500g) of chopped tomatoes and their juice and one cup of water

The spice mix

Chana masala is a spice mix used to cook chickpeas (chana). You can pick up a package at your local Indian import store. If you don’t have one nearby, you can make your own for this recipe by adding 1/4 teaspoon of as many of these spices as you have on hand: coriander, mango powder, Pomegranate seeds, hot pepper powder, cumin, muskmelon, black pepper, fenugreek leaves, cloves, mint, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, caraway, mace and a bay leaf.

This spice mix is both spicy and tangy – with quite a bit of heat.  Though our recipe calls for two tablespoons of this mix, the box recommends almost four for the same amount of chickpeas. So this is SPICY!  Increase the quantity at your own risk.

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger steamer basket, heat-proof dish    18-20 min.    High(2)  Natural

5.0 from 5 reviews
Chickpea Curry with Brown Rice - pressure cooker one pot meal
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: ¼th
  • Calories: 292
  • TOTAL Fat: 5.6g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 51.6g
  • Sugar Carbs: 4.7g
  • Sodium: 945.6mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 8.1g
  • Protein: 9.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker recipe
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For a smaller pressure cooker, these quantities can easily be halved - and a smaller heat-proof dish can be used to cook the rice. When doubling the recipe, do not exceed half the pressure cooker's capacity with the chickpeas and their cooking liquid.
For Chickpea Curry:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chana masala (or see description, above)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup (250ml) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight or quick-soaked
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 1 can 14.5 oz (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
For Bain Marie Brown Rice:
  • 1½ cups (375ml) brown rice
  • 2 cups (500g) water
  1. In a 4-cup capacity heat proof container add the rice and water. If the container does not have a handle, construct an aluminum foil sling to lower and raise it out of the pressure cooker. Set aside.
  2. In the pre-heated pressure cooker, on medium heat without the lid, add the oil and onion and saute' until it is just starting to caramelize (about 7 minutes).
  3. Add the chana masala powder, garlic, and ginger and saute' for about 30 more seconds until the garlic begins to cook.
  4. Pour in the water, chickpeas and tomato concentrate into the pressure cooker and mix well.
  5. Lower the steamer basket (or trivet) into the chickpea curry and on top of that, add the uncovered heat-proof container into the pressure cooker onto the steamer basket.
  6. Close the lid and set the valve to pressure cooking position.
  7. Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 20 minutes at high pressure.
    Stove top pressure cookers: Lock the lid, and cook for 18 minutes at high pressure.
  8. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural pressure release.
    Electric pressure cookers: Disengage the “keep warm” mode, or unplug the cooker, and open the lid when the pressure indicator/lid-lock has gone down (about 20 to 30 minutes).
    Stovetop pressure cookers: Move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes).
  9. Carefully lift out the heat-proof container and fluff the rice and serve on individual dishes. Mix-in the salt in the curry in the base of the cooker, and spoon it out and serve with a sprinkling of raw red onion slices and an optional dollop of low-fat yogurt.

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Curried Chickpeas and Rice Bowl

Chickpea Curry Rice Bowl- pressure cooker and Instant Pot recipe

pressure cooker chickpea curry and brown rice recipeInstant Pot Chickpea Curry Rice Bowl

This article and the recipe had a major update August 2017, if you already made the original recipe and would like to see the original article as it was published in January 2013 you can find it here.

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  1. Another way to thicken the chholay is to add a small potato chopped up upfront to the pot of chickpea. The potato cooks very soft and a few pieces can be mashed with the back of a spoon into the gravy.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, and welcome!



  2. Laura – thanks for another great recipe! I got a 5 lb bag of dried chickpeas last week and was eager to try them, so I followed your recipe exactly (including MDH masala) and it was fantastic. Cooking the rice at the same time is a brilliant idea. Tonight I am going to try your chicken burrito bowl recipe (another all in one dish), can’t wait to see how it turns out.

    1. If you liked this one you’ll love the burrito bowl. It’s the same technique, as you noticed, but it swaps out the type of rice to match the cooking time of the black beans and chicken.



  3. I’m a bit confused about the rice to water ratio. Shouldn’t this method use less water? The normal ratio you have for brown is 1c rice to 1 1/4 water. This recipe uses 2 1/4 water but shouldn’t it be closer to 1 3/4 water?

    1. Hiya, this confuses me as well (and I am easily confused). I made this recipe but with a hash of spices I has in stock so not at all authentic, but rather I used it as a guide to make my own chickpea curry. The rice came out perfectly, but like you I don’t understand why more water is required than Laura’s recommended combination of 1 to 1.25.

      1. I had made the wrong calculations when I first wrote the recipe – but it worked so I left it in. It still works because there is a little play room in the ratios but I usually recommend following them to get no-fail results. : )



  4. I just received my instant pot (duo) and had not realized that the 6 qt was larger than I intended until I received it. I’m single and concerned about the ability to cook small meals in the bottom of the cooker. (I read somewhere that it works best when filled up a bit.) I’ve heard stacking mentioned, but I’m not sure exactly what that would look like. Do I have to put another pot in the bottom to cook my smaller meals? Do I have to buy add’l accessories? I’m just not sure if I should return it for the 5 qt or not!

    1. Make a larger amount and have leftovers! Many pressure cooker meals freeze nicely for a quick dinner on another day.

    2. You can make small meals. The reason you’d want to fill the pot is that it would be easier/faster to build pressure since there is less empty space. But the results should be the same.

      There’s nothing mysterious about stacking., Basically, you’re forming two different zones of cooking. The beans cook on the bottom of the pot and a rack lifts the bowl of rice above the beans. Ideally, the top level won’t touch the bottom level, i.e. the rice bowl doesn’t touch the beans. In your case, this shouldn’t happen since you’re cooking small amounts,

      6 quarts is the ideal size for a pressure cooker. You never know when you may need to cook for a party, etc. It also allows you to use many accessories like racks than a smaller 5 qt model won’t.

  5. Laura.
    I followed your directions for brown rice using short grain brown and it turned out PERFECT!! I’m really delighted that it worked out so well. My next project is chickpeas for homemade Hummus. Then from there I will do pink beans for chilli!!

    Thank you so much for making pressure cooking so reasonable for beginners!! It gives me more time to quilt.

    1. Thanks for putting your trust in me. I won’t let you down. : )



  6. I really am eager to try this but am unfamiliar with this stacking method…. so my trivet/rice bowl will be touching the chickpea mixture? All up in there?? Thanks so much!!!!

    1. Ideally, it would be above the chickpeas or only skim the surface. It depends on the height of your trivet. But if your trivet is so low that the container with the rice is all up in there, then no. :D



  7. For me, this worked very well, and the chickpeas just barely grazed the surface of the rice bowl (OK, they were slightly making contact, but not submersing it). The whole thing worked out brilliantly.
    For the Chickpea masala, I used a mix by the company Shan (a Pakistan company). It was excellent. My husband added extra hot sauce, but it was perfect for the rest of us!
    So simple and convenient.

  8. Oh 5 stars!

  9. Hi. just a note that there is a typo in the first sentence: “but” instead of “by”.

    1. Thank you, Jon! I have corrected the error.



  10. I have a WMF pressure cooker which is tall and has a smaller diameter. Any suggestions for a heat proof container (for the rice) that would fit inside nicely?

    1. Hi Mary, what size is your pressure cooker? It should be around 22cm wide, which is the same diameter as 6L electrics. Any container that is 21 cm or less will fit as a heat-proof bowl.



  11. I love chickpeas, but not curry. Can you tell me how I can make this recipe “italian-style”?
    Also, what kind of heat-proof containers can be used? I have never added anything to the pressure cooker and am a little worried…
    Thank you!

    1. Just change out the spice mix for some Italian flavours. Perhaps salt, black pepper, thyme, bay leaf, sage and rosemary.

      But saying you don’t like curry is a bit like saying you don’t like Chinese food. There are lots of different curries and they are as different as Sang Choy Bao and Scechwan Beef. Just because you don’t like one doesn’t mean you won’t like another.

      Chana Dahl (above) is a world away from Chicken Makhani. As is Rogan Josh, Bombay Beef, Lamb Korma, Keralan Chicken, Massaman Beef. Aloo Matar or Beef Rendang. All qualify as “curry” but they are all very different. “Curry” basically translates as “gravy” So a curry is simply “something in gravy”. Coq au Vin would be a curry if it was Asian rather than French. So would Chicken Mole.

    2. Several companies make very mild instant curries that you might like. One of my friends hates curry but likes House Vermont Curry with Apple and Honey. It’s very sweet and mild, with a hint of apple juice, and only a little curry. The company labels it Medium Hot, so their Mild curries must be really really mild. Leave out the chana masala, garlic and ginger.

    3. The simplest way to make this Italian style is to replace all the Chickpea Curry ingredients (except the chickpeas) with a can of Italian soup of your choice, i.e. Italian Wedding, Minestrone, etc. Progresso makes a lot of Italian flavor soups. Consider removing the cooked pasta from the soup or choose a soup without pasta. There is nothing wrong with pasta but the additional pressure cooking might reduce them to mush (I don’t know for sure so you might try leaving them in). That’s it: one can of Italian soup and the specified amount of chick peas. You can also add additional Italian spices and veggies if you like. If the soup is too thin, thicken with a little corn starch.

    4. Any heat proof container would work if it can withstand about 250F. That includes all metal, glass and ceramic containers and some plastics. There is nothing special about pressure cooking except that water boils at a higher temperature under pressure so food cooks hotter (thus faster). Stovetop models cook at 15psi which is about 250F. Electric models can sustain about 11psi which is about 240F. If your container can withstand those temperatures, you’re safe. An additional concern if you use plastics is to make sure it’s BPA-free. Sustained heat can cause chemicals to leech into foods.

    5. Eleanor, it’s pretty easy – and I’ve also made it this way when I ran out of curry powder and ginger. Leave out those two ingredients, and add a teaspoon of dried oregano and red pepper flakes (if you want it spicy), instead. Top with olive oil before serving.

      If you’re using any “Italian Flavoring” spice mix, just check to see if has salt. If it does, add it add it at the very end and simmer a bit to diffuse it. If it does not, toss it in place of the masala.



      P.S. I know Greg is disappointed that I didn’t suggest using a bay leaf – but that would work, too! : D

  12. This looks delicious and convenient. I have a family of carnivores. Can I simply add some raw chicken, pork or beef in the beginning? If not, I guess I can always cook the meat on the stovetop and stir it into the curry mixture afterward. Thanks.

    1. This is an 18 minute recipe. Most meat, especially chicken, will be way overcooked in that time. Maybe it is time for that second pressure cooker.

  13. Is it OK to use a ceramic or glass bowl, or must it be metal?

    1. Yes glass/ ceramic will be fine, but it will slow down the cooking of the rice just a little. You may need to add a minute or two. But try it at the given time first. You can always put the lid back on and cook some more.

  14. Hi Laura,

    i made this recipe last night, I doubled the amount of chickpeas, tomatoes and water, the rice was just perfect, it was a huge hit with hubby and the kids, they even commented i can do it again. Yes Success

    Thanks so much Laura your awesome

  15. Should I insert my metal or glass bowl on the trivet for my instant pot or simply set it on top of the chickpeas? Did you buy an insert that you recommend?

    1. First put in the trivet/rack/steamer basket and then put the heat-proof bowl on top of that.



  16. Hi Laura, Do you by chance have the IP smart script for this recipe? I’d just like to add it to my app so I can set it and go! Or in your expertise…how would I write it…appreciate any insight!

    Love this recipe can’t wait to try it! I just got my IP!

  17. Hi Laura, I discovered your site last week and really love how informative it is. I have not used PC in years. My old presto PC is sitting in the garage closet (soon to be donated).
    We were visiting my sister for the holidays. She made a delicious beef stew in her stovetop Fagor PC. I never new how user friendly PCs have become! That made me want to buy a modern PC! I have read a ton of reviews and came across reasonably priced discontinued Fagor Cayenne PCs which I really liked. Do you know if Cayenne is a good model and why it was discontinued? I wonder if was not popular due to color.
    Can I use garam masala for the chickpea recipe? Is there a danger of a glass or ceramic/porcelain container cracking in a PC?
    Thank you for sharing your PC knowledge!

    1. Lola I have used the Cayenne it is one of my favorites. It was on clearance because it was limited production from the onset. Mine did get a scratch on the outside (my husband is an animal), but the self-locking lid, spring valve and low and wide cooking surface are all pluses in my book.

      Any container that is oven-safe will not crack in the pressure cooker (though make sure to steam it in a basket for the most part). I prefer stainless steel because it heats up faster when steaming.

      Welcome and so glad to hear you’re coming back to pressure cooking and are discovering a whole new world of recipes, techniques and pressure cookers!



  18. Can you use canned chick peas in this recipe?
    Thank you

    1. Since canned chickpeas are already cooked, I doubt they would withstand pressure cooking an additional 20 minutes. I would say to make the recipe with everything but the chickpeas, and then drain and simmer them in the sauce after pressure cooking is finished.



  19. My Amazon ordered MDH Chana Masala arrived a few days ago, so had at Hip Pressure Cooking’s Chana Masala recipe.

    It was wonderful. I followed the recipe as written with one modification, stirring a couple of tablespoons of cream. I used Trader Joe’s Long Grain Bazmatti rice in a 4-cup pyrex bowl, and next time will use the next larger size, 7-cup.

    It is just my wife and I eating, so we have leftovers. We both enjoyed it so much, that next time I’ll double the recipe.

    Thanks again, Laura.

  20. Do you think these stackable instant pot things will work?

    1. This is them stacked

    2. Yes, if they’re the right diameter for your pressure cooker, go for it!



  21. Laura,
    I am a bit confused regarding garlic in the pressure cooker. I was under the impression from your PC School lessons that garlic will not retain its flavor under pressure. That it is best to add garlic after the pressure has been released. However, it this recipe, you add garlic right away.

    I have seen other recipes that add garlic before bring the dish to pressure. So, I am … confused regarding how to cook garlic in my PC.

    Thanks in advance for your help.


    1. Yes, it’s true. Fresh garlic does not hold its flavor well under pressure but when I make ethnic recipes – such as this curry – I’m torn about whether I should add it later or do it traditionally which is adding it with the ginger. So, make the decision on when to add it to the pressure cooker recipe based on the intended final flavor of the dish. I ask myself whether the original (non pressure) version “requires” a strong garlic flavor to be authentic (and taste good).

      Since I have never tasted a curry that was particularly “garlicky” I feel that it’s OK in this case to add the garlic in the beginning – but you can always add it at the end if you personally prefer a strong garlicky curry. : )



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