Punjabi Chole

Punjabi chole masala or chana masala is one of the most popular curry dishes from Pakistan.

Punjabi Chole
Punjabi 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 store.

Punjabi Chole 2
Punjabi Chole 2

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.

Punjabi Chole 3
Punjabi Chole 3

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


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


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.

Punjabi Chole 4
Punjabi Chole 4

4. 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.

Punjabi Chole 5
Punjabi Chole 5

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.

Punjabi Chole 6
Punjabi Chole 6

Sprinkle some garam masala, kasuri methi and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with roti, paratha or plain rice.

Punjabi Chole 7
Punjabi Chole 7

Punjabi Chole – Chickpeas Curry

Course main course cuisine indian
Keyword chole preparation time 15 minutes
cook time 1 hour total time 1 hour 15 minutes
serving 5 calories 248 kcal
author zeeshan  


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