Punjabi Chole – Chickpeas Curry

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Punjabi chole masala or chana masala is one of the most popular curry dishes from India. In fact in north India no wedding or party is complete until you have chole masala on the menu. I remember whenever we would call someone over for lunch or dinner, mom would almost always make chole.

So what actually is chole masala? In this recipe, chickpeas are cooked with onions, tomatoes and lots of spices. A special blend of spices called “chole powder/masala” is easily available at every Indian store. One can make chole masala powder at home too by dry roasting ingredients like cumin, cloves, coriander, peppercorn, cardamom etc. But I usually get the masala from the store, saves me time and also tastes good.

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My husband loves chole, well that’s given since he is a punjabi. So after I got married I really tried to master making punjabi chole and after lots of trials and errors, I think I have now found the perfect recipe. Hubby feels that I make the best chole, maybe he’s just biased but at least that make me pretty confident about this recipe ; -)

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You will notice that I added 2 tea bags while cooking chickpeas in the pressure cooker, that’s because the tea bags help in giving chole a dark brown/black color. I added only 2, but for a deeper darker brown color, you can add more tea bags. And before you start wondering, let me assure you that the tea bags do not hamper the taste of chickpeas in any way.

 

Serves: 5-6

Ingredients

To pressure cook

Chickpeas/Chole: 2 cups + 2 tbsp

Cardamom: 5-6

Black peppercorn: 4-5

Bay leaves: 2

Cinnamon sticks: 2

Tea bags: 2

Salt: to taste

Water: 5 cups

 

For the chole

Onion: 3/4 cup, grated or pureed [from 2 small onions]

Tomatoes: 2.5 cups puree [from 4 medium tomatoes]

Cloves: 3-4

Ginger-garlic paste: 2 teaspoon

Chole Masala: 3 teaspoon

Cumin powder: 3/4 teaspoon

Paprika powder: 1/2 teaspoon

Red chili powder: 1/2 teaspoon or to taste

Salt: to taste

 

 

To garnish

Ghee [clarified butter]: 1 tablespoon

Ginger: 1 inch, cut into julienne

Dried fenugreek leaves [kasuri methi]: 1/2 tbsp, crushed

Coriander leaves: 2 tablespoon, chopped

Garam masala: 1/4 teaspoon

 

Method

Soak the chickpeas overnight in enough water to cover them. I soaked a little more than 2 cups and in the morning I had around 5.5 cups of it! Drain the water in which you had soaked the chickpeas.

1. In a pressure cooker add the soaked and drained chickpeas, around 5 cups water, 2 tea bags, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon stick and some salt. Pressure cook at high flame till you get 1-2 whistles. After that lower the flame to medium and let the chickpeas cook for another 10-12 minutes. Remove the cooker from heat and allow it to cool down. Once the steam is gone, open the cooker and check the chickpeas. You should be able to press them easily with your fingers. If not, close the cooker and cook for 2 more whistles.

Here, you can also remove the bay leaves, cinnamon stick etc. from the chickpeas if you don’t want them in the curry.

2. In a wok, heat 2 tsp of oil. Once hot, add cloves and grated onions. Fry the onions till the raw smell goes away and they are light golden brown in color.

3. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for 3-4 minutes till the smell of ginger-garlic goes away.

Chole-Recipe-Steps-1-notitle-cwm4. Now add the tomato puree , stir and let it cook for 12-15 minutes on medium-low flame. Cover the pan to prevent splash all around. This step in my opinion is very important. The tomatoes need to be cooked really well till the raw smell goes away completely. So have patience and let them cook for around 15 minutes.

5. Add the chole masala, red chilli powder, paprika powder, cumin powder, salt and mix for a 1-2 minutes.

6. Drain the the chickpeas and add them to the tomato-onion mixture, stir till all the chickpeas are coated with spices, around 2 minutes. Do not throw away the water once you have drained the chickpeas. We will add the same water in the gravy.

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7. Add water, cover the pan and let it simmer at medium-low flame for around 30 minutes. The gravy will thicken after 30 minutes so add water accordingly. I do not like thin gravy with chole but if you do add more water than what is mentioned in the recipe.

After 30 minutes the gravy, chickpeas and all the spices would have mixed well together. We can now do the tempering.

8. To temper, heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan and the ginger julienne to it.

9. Fry till the juliennes are golden brown in color but do not burn them. Add to the chole curry, mix and switch off the flame.

Chole-Recipe-Step-3-notitle-cwmSprinkle some garam masala, kasuri methi and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with roti, paratha or plain rice. Chole-chawal (chole & plain rice) is a very popular combination in North India.

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If you’ve tried this Punjabi Chole Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Punjabi Chole - Chickpeas Curry

Chickpeas Indian curry where chickpeas are cooked with lots and lots of spices. Goes well with naan, roti or plain rice.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword chole
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 248 kcal
Author: Manali
5 from 26 votes
Print

Ingredients

To pressure cook

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons raw chickpeas
  • 5-6 green cardamom pods
  • 4-5 black peppercorn
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tea bags
  • salt, to taste
  • 5 cups water

For the chole masala

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 3/4 cup pureed onion , from 2 small onions
  • 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 2.5 cups pureed tomatoes , from 4 medium tomatoes
  • 3 teaspoons chole masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • salt, to taste

To garnish

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 inch ginger, cut into julienne
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 tablespoon crushed kasuri methi, also known as dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in enough water to cover them. In the morning, drain the water.

  2. In a pressure cooker add the soaked and drained chickpeas, 2 tea bags, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, salt and 4 to 5 cups water. Pressure cook at high flame till you get 1-2 whistles. After that lower the flame to medium and let the chickpeas cook for another 10-12 minutes.

  3. In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add cloves and grated onions. Fry the onions till the raw smell goes away and they are light golden brown in color.

  4. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for 3-4 minutes till the smell of ginger-garlic goes away.
  5. Now add the tomato puree , stir and let it cook for 12-15 minutes on medium-low flame. Cover the pan to prevent the splash all around.
  6. Add the chole masala, red chilli powder, paprika powder, cumin powder, salt and mix for a 1-2 minutes.

  7. Add the chickpeas next and stir will all the chickpeas are coated with the spices, around 2 minutes.
  8. Add water (which was used for boiling the chickpeas), cover the pan and let it simmer at medium-low flame for around 30 minutes. The gravy will thicken after 30 minutes so add water accordingly.

  9. To temper, heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan and the ginger julienne to it.
  10. Fry till the juliennes are golden brown in color but do not burn them. Add to the chole curry, mix and switch off the flame.
  11. Sprinkle some garam masala, kasuri methi and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  12. Serve with roti, paratha or plain rice.

Recipe Notes

  1. Skip the ghee in the tempering to make this vegan.
  2. To cut short the process of soaking chickpeas overnight, use canned chickpeas which are easily available at grocery stores. The canned ones can be prepared immediately and do not need to be soaked overnight.
  3. Adjust the amount of  red chili powder in the recipe to taste.
  4. Patience is something you will need while cooking chole or any such Indian curry. Of course, I can make it in a quicker way by adding everything in the pressure cooker. But if you let the tomatoes and onions cook really well and then simmer the chickpeas with the spices for a longer time, the taste would be much much better.
  5. I like to keep the chole masala gravy on the thicker side, for a thinner gravy add more water.
  6. Chole masala actually tastes the best 1 day after you make it because the spices are then better incorporated into the chickpeas.
  7. Chole freeze well. Let the curry come down to room temperature, store in an airtight container and freeze.
Nutrition Facts
Punjabi Chole - Chickpeas Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 248 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 7mg2%
Sodium 187mg8%
Potassium 722mg21%
Carbohydrates 43g14%
Fiber 11g46%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 380IU8%
Vitamin C 16mg19%
Calcium 168mg17%
Iron 4.7mg26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Punjabi Chole

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108 thoughts on “Punjabi Chole – Chickpeas Curry

      1. Well maybe your opinion isn’t as good as mine.. Buy Suhana brand chole masala love if you live in mumbai.. it’s better than any other masala

  1. I made this for my family tonight and served with rice and samosa. Everyone loved this. I just purchased an electric pressure cooker, a hot pot type and it cooked the chickpeas buttery soft. Thank you for this lovely recipe.

  2. Thank you, Manali, for the delicious recipe! I just made it for my father and myself and we both loved it. I’ll definitely be making this chole again!

  3. Hello Manali!

    I am looking forward to trying this recipe. I made your cauliflower and potato curry and it was so delicious!

    One question. I do not have a pressure cooker. What type do you recommend? Do you use yours often when cooking beans? I make a lot of recipes with beans and I am thinking that this would be a wise purchase. But maybe an inexpensive one, as I have just recently purchased a rice cooker and a juicer!

    1. Hi Laura! I always use my pressure cooker while cooking beans, lentils, chickpeas. In India, we used a traditional pressure cooker , like this –> http://amzn.to/2BHqOj0 (affiliate link) and that’s what is still used at my home in India. However these days another another very good option is Instant Pot –> http://amzn.to/2omrCBv (affiliate link). It’s an electric pressure cooker and gives consistent results every time, there’s so much you can do with it and I highly recommend it!

  4. 5 stars
    Hello. I would like to make this recipe using chick peas in can. Each one has 400gr. Could you please guide me. How many cans should I use to prepare this delicious recipe. I love chole and want to make it for my husband
    Thanks
    Adri.

    1. Hi Adri, if your can has 400 grams of chickpeas, use 1 can only..also reduce the liquids in the recipe…canned chickpeas will need less water. Although I have to say that you get authentic taste of chole only by cooking from raw chickpeas since that’s how they are always made in India. Hope that helps! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    Awesome it tasted. Simply loved it. Even my punjabi friends loved it. And that says it all. Thank you for sharing.

  6. 5 stars
    I made chole-your style 😉 I’m learning cooking actually

    And I cooked it today for my parents
    And they’ve loved it !
    I didn’t have kasuri methi
    Neither did I add cumin powder
    But lemme just mention, the idea of adding cinnamon, and All of those ingredients to the pressure cooker, just added that superb taste to the chickpeas
    Mamma mia !
    I loved my chole ! 😀
    Great recipe ! thanks a ton
    Hugs and kisses
    – from a giddy teenager

  7. 5 stars
    Chole were never so yummy till date but after preparing it by ur reciepe i started loving it…..yummmmm😘 keep updating us with more yummy reciepes.

  8. Went and purchased all the spices today at a great Indian Spice shop.She recommended Reshampatti in place of the red chili powder .Do you think that will work?I had smoked paprika at home so I purchased the sweet paprika. Oh,and I forgot the tomatoes.I will make this very soon.

      1. 5 stars
        I made it this morning and it was a great success.Thank you ! I pressure cooked the chickpeas for 35 min.Also I used Veggie Ghee. Is cow Ghee better?

    1. Hi Nikhila..I have mentioned this in the post 🙂 tea bags are to give the chole a dark color..they don’t have any other role nor do they alter the taste in any way. If you don’t want dark chole and don’t care about it..skip them.

  9. Though I’m a pukka non-veggie, nothing beats Punjabi style chole with Paratha. I don’t mind if you turn the spice heat up. I can eat chole every single day of my life.

  10. I didn’t know about the tea bag. Adding a tea bag can add colours the chole. I always wonder that, why my chole didn’t pick the colour like restaurant. Thank you for sharing.

  11. 5 stars
    Great recipe! The flavors work perfectly and the tea-bag does a great job 🙂

    I had one question..I soak the chhole overnight for at least 8 hours and cook in Hawkins pressure cooker for 12 whistles. However the chhole still remain hard. I have gone as far as 17 whistles but they don’t soften fully. They’re cooked though and taste fabulous after the rest of the process.

    Any tips on what I can do to soften them more apart from more whistles?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Rajan! Glad you liked the recipe. If you chole don’t cook well it might be a case of the chickpeas being old. Buy a new bag and try. Also try adding a little baking soda when boiling the chickpea. I would suggest pressure cooking on high heat for 5-6 whistles, then lower the heat and let it cook for 15-20 minutes more on low-medium heat. They should turn out absolutely soft!

      1. 5 stars
        Thanks very much…Yes the chickpeas I have been using are quire old, at least 7-8 months…Didn’t think of that!

        Will try again with newer ones and add baking soda…

  12. 5 stars
    Thank you very much for your really yummy Chole recipe. My wife is bedridden and our helper cooks for us. I decided to use your recipe this evening and I was so happy that my wife really loved it. I too liked it a lot. God bless!

  13. Hi, First off, your recipe sounds so yummy. And the teabag secret, thank you so much for sharing. Who would have thougt that tea could bring that cooked all day color to the recipe!!
    I do have one question, what is chole masala, is there a certain brand or do you make your own. Please do share your chole masala recipe if you have one.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Manali,

      I would like to reduce the quantity of your recipe and cook with only 1 cup of uncooked chickpeas. Can you suggest how to adjust the other ingredients?

      Also, how long does this dish keep in the freezer in an airtight container?

      Thank you very much!

  14. 5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe for making chole. I love your recipe! After the whole thing is done, i put everything back in the cooker and give it 1 more whistle – really helps everyrhing blend together and makes it melt in the mouth.

    Thanks for posting!

    1. you can make it..just cook the chickpeas on stove top (after being soaked overnight) until they are done. It will take around 1 hour for it to reach the stage we are looking for in the chole or probably more. I just never cook by beans/chickpeas on stove top so I don’t have a definitive answer!

  15. It seems I’ve spoiled the chole by adding more red chilli than required😰
    I mean I added 1 tsp of chilli powder and no paprika.
    What should I do now?
    Will adding tomato sauce later solve the problem?

  16. 5 stars
    Hi Manali, I cooked this receive for the first time and believe me it turned out delicious. Your idea of boiling chole with all the spices in there really works wonders in getting that flavour in chole… Thankyou for this receive. Will definitely try your other receipts too 😀

  17. 5 stars
    This is an exact replica of how i make chhole!!! I taught myself before internet came into being 🙂 Now I have to follow all your recipes.

  18. 5 stars
    Thank you for this. I always try receipes from YouTube but I followed this to then t and it came out delicious. The tea bag really makes a difference!

    1. no you can’t use green tea bags here…you can use any brand but it should be plain black tea bags (no flavor)..that will give the chole a dark brown color..

  19. 5 stars
    Amaazinggg Recipe!! Simplified & very well explained!! Thanks a lot! Ended up making one of the best chole ever! Love how you precisely put everything up! Way to goo!!😁

  20. Hi Manali made the chole today for lunch and it was yum.Thanks for the recipe.From now on will try all your recipes so we hv more variety.Thank you once again.

  21. Awesome recipe!!!!! My husband liked it very much.he asked me to make it again today.thanks Manali ji for this awesome recipe

  22. Hi Manali,
    I used 2 cups chole ( 1 cup=240 ml) as I had guests over at home and used 5 tomatoes for the purée. However it tastes a bit tangy, I did add chole masala and others u mentioned. Not added the red chilli powder though. Did I use too many tomatoes coz of which the tangy flavour ? Or is it supposed to be like that

    1. no it shouldn’t be tangy…I think the tomatoes you used weren’t sweet, so that’s the reason. Not that it’s tangy, you can add some yogurt or cream to tone it down, coconut milk can also work!

  23. 5 stars
    Best recipe on internet for chole. Tried it once and never turned to any other recipe. The little tips and tricks work wonders.

  24. 5 stars
    The best chole recipe ever! My hubby and fly members now never want to go to any resturant for chole!❤️
    Thank you!

    1. IP chole Masala recipe is in my cookbook! If you want to cook chickpeas in IP for this recipe, soak overnight and cook for 25 minutes on high pressure with natural pressure release. Hope this helps!

  25. Ms Manali this recipe is super… I love chole and from now this is going to be the recipe i follow…. Its the best… Fingerlicking…. Thank you very much.

  26. What kind of chili powder do you use? I’m the US where I live, chili powder tends to be a blend with garlic powder, cumin, paprika and chili spice. I’m guessing it should be pure chili, so I’m wondering what kind. Thank you!

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