Punjabi Chole Masala is a spicy curry from the northern region of India. Made from chickpeas, onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and Indian spices, it is one of the most delicious curries to try if you like Indian food. Make this Chickpea Masala in under 30 minutes in one pot.
What is Chole Masala?
Chole is Chickpeas in Hindi and Masala is a curry made using onion, tomato, and spices. Chole Masala is a spicy Indian curry which is very popular in Punjab and Delhi region.
It is a must make for all the weddings, parties and get-togethers and even for Sunday lunches. Chickpea Masala is comfort food for Indians and we leave no occasion to serve this spicy, tangy delight.
If you want to make Restaurant Style Chole at home, then this recipe is for you. Spicy, tangy, and dark-colored, this one is my go-to recipe to enjoy with hot Bhaturas or Poori. Yum!
Usually, when we prepare Chole at home, we don’t get that dark color like the restaurant ones. But here in this recipe, we have used a trick that will give you beautiful dark-colored Punjabi Chole.
I always believe that the key to any Chole recipe is the Chole Masala used. You can either use a homemade Masala or a store-bought one. I always prefer using the homemade masala, because nothing matches the tastes of freshly grounded masala. Right?
This Punjabi Chole Recipe is,
- Vegan (Temper with oil)
- Gluten-free (Skip adding hing)
- Protein Rich
- Spicy and Tangy
- Perfect for special meals
Benefits of Eating Chickpeas
– Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans have a nutty taste and texture. And they are packed with a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
– The amount of protein in chickpeas is quite good and hence it is a great protein supplement for vegetarians.
– Also, if you are vegan then chickpeas should be consumed because it contains plant-based protein. It’s gluten-free too. Win-win, right?
– Furthermore, it also keeps your blood sugar levels under control.
– Being full of fiber, Chickpea help in smoother digestion.
– It shields you against chronic ailments like cancer, diabetes, and even heart disease.
This Curry needs some very basic ingredients, that I am sure are already available in your kitchen. If not, you will definitely find them online or in an Indian store near you.
Chickpeas – You have to soak the chickpeas for a minimum of 4 to 5 hours or overnight. Make sure you use new chickpeas because if they are old, they will take a longer time to cook.
You can also boil the chickpeas beforehand and keep so that you just need to make the curry for the same and it also saves some time. Try my Instant Pot Chickpeas to cook them. Canned Chickpeas work great in this recipe too.
Tea Powder – Tea Powder adds beautiful dark color to the Punjabi Chole. It is optional, you can avoid it too. The taste will be the same but. the color of the ready curry will be lighter.
Whole Spices – Now to prepare the curry, we will need some whole spices such as cloves, black cardamom, green cardamom, and cinnamon. Crush them a little for the best flavor.
Spice Powders – To flavor up the curry, we will add some spice powders such as chole masala, coriander powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, and anardana powder.
These powders combined adds a delicious tangy and spicy taste to this Punjabi favorite.
Kasuri Methi – Kasuri Methi adds a nice rustic flavor. I make my own Kasuri Methi at home. Check out how.
Oil – I have used vegetable oil, but you can also make it in mustard oil or ghee.
Tempering – We will add a ghee tadka at the end, which enhances the taste even more. Add in hing, ginger, and green chilies, and then add this tempering to the Punjabi Chole.
Others – Apart from the above ingredients, we will need onion, ginger garlic paste, baking soda and salt.
Homemade Chole Masala
This masala is a blend of roasted spices which gives a very typical flavor to this chole recipe. You can make a big batch of this masala powder and keep using it as and when required.
Make sure to roast the spices on low heat so that they are nicely roasted and not burned. You and definitely skip making it at home and use store-bought masala. My fav brand is Everest. It is available online or in any Indian Grocery Store.
- 1 and ½ tbsp Coriander Seeds
- ½ tbsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tbsp Anardana (Dried Pomegranate Seeds)
- ¼ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
- 5-6 Dry Red Chillies
- 4-5 Cloves
- 5-6 Black Peppercorn
- 1 Black Cardamom
- ½ inch Cinnamon
Roast these well until browned and fragrant and then make into a coarse powder. You can double or triple the amount as needed.
How to make Chole?
Wash the chickpeas and soak in 3-4 cups of water for 4-5 hours. Drain the water and wash them well once more.
Heat water in a pan.
Once it comes to a boil, add tea leaves and cook for a minute. You can skip this step if you don’t care about the color.
Strain the tea and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker.
Add cloves, black cardamom, green cardamom, and cinnamon and fry for a few seconds. Slightly crushing the spices before adding them to oil release their flavor well. Add onion and fry until it turns golden brown. Keep adding little water if the paste sticks at the bottom of the cooker.
Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes.
Add tomato and cook for another minute.
Now add chole masala, coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder and anardana powder and fry until oil starts to separate from the sides.
Add the soaked chole, tea water, baking soda, salt, and 1 cup water and put the lid on the cooker.
Pressure cook until the chole is done. I generally cook for 1 whistle on high heat. then simmer the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the cooker from heat and let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually and open the lid of the cooker. If the chole is still undercooked, pressure cook them for another few minutes.
Remove the cooker from heat and let the pressure release. Open the lid and add kauri methi and mix well. Slightly mash the chole using the back of a ladle for a super creamy texture for the curry.
Heat ghee for tempering in a pan. You can totally skip this step. Also, tempering can be done in oil as well.
Add hing, green chilli and ginger and fry for a few seconds.
Pour the tempering over the chole and mix well. Serve hot with bhature.
Pro Tips By Neha
If you forgot to soak Chickpeas and want them in less time, then soak the Chickpeas in hot water for about an hour or two. I usually soak them in a hot case to even fasten the soaking process.
Always slightly over boil the chickpeas. They should very easily press between your fingers.
Tea is optional, but if you need that dark color in your Chole, this is a must to add while boiling the Chickpeas. Never use tea bags as they might get burst inside the cooker and then it will be a pain to separate the chickpeas from the tea. You can also use dried amla (gooseberry) to add a dark color to the chickpeas.
Whenever I make this Punjabi Chole for special occasions, I boil the chickpeas and store in the fridge. So That it comes in handy while making the curry and also saves time.
You can also prepare homemade Chole Masala and store in an air tight container.
Slight mashing a few chickpeas, once the curry is ready, makes it very creamy. Do try this trick.
If anardana is not available, you can use lemon juice, tamarind, or dry mango powder in its place.
If using canned chickpeas to make this curry, prepare the masala as mentioned in the recipe in a regular pan. Add the canned chole and cook the curry for 10-15 minutes on low heat uncovered. Adjust the quantity of water as needed. For 1 cup of dry chole, you will need 2 cans of canned chickpeas.
I like the consistency of my chole on the drier side. You can choose to add more water to make the gravy thinner.
To make the curry vegan, skip adding ghee for tempering. Replace it with oil.
The best part about this recipe is that you can make it for brunch, breakfast, dinner, and even lunch.
I sometimes also add it over my Aloo Tikkis and then top it with some coriander mint chutney, sweet tamarind chutney, finely chopped onions, and sev to make a Chaat.
This Punjabi Chole will last in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days in an airtight container. If you are storing in big quantity, reheat only the amount you need, as reheating, again and again, will decrease its shelf life.
If you feel it has become a little dry while heating, add in a little water and give it a mix.
You can also freeze the curry for up to 3 months. When ready to use, defrost on the counter and then heat.
You might also like
Punjabi Chole Recipe
- 1 cup Dry Chole
- 2 cups Water
- 2 tsp Black Tea Leaves
- 5 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2-3 Cloves (Crushed)
- 1 Black Cardamom (Crushed)
- 2-3 Green Cardamom (Crushed)
- 1 inch Cinnamon (Crushed)
- 1 cup Onion (Grated)
- 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 cup Tomato (Grated)
- 2 tbsp Chole Masala
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 tsp Anardana Powder
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp Ghee (Use oil for vegan recipe)
- ¼ tsp Hing
- 2-3 Green Chilli (Slit into half)
- 1 tsp Ginger (Julienned)
- Wash the chickpeas and soak in 3-4 cups of water for 4-5 hours.
- Heat water in a pan.
- Once it comes to a boil, add tea leaves and cook for a minute.
- Strain the tea and keep aside. Skip this step if you don't bother about the color of the curry.
- Heat oil in a pressure cooker.
- Add cloves, black cardamom, green cardamom, and cinnamon and fry for a few seconds. Slightly crushing the whole spices bring out their best flavor.
- Add onion and fry until it turns golden brown.
- Keep adding little water if the paste sticks at the bottom of the cooker.
- Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes.
- Add tomato and cook for another minute.
- Now add chole masala, coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder and anardana powder and fry until oil starts to separate from the sides.
- Add the soaked chickpeas, tea water, baking soda, salt, and 1 cup water and put the lid on the cooker. Baking soda cooks the chole really well. It's a myth that is not good for the stomach.
- Pressure cook until chole is done. I usually pressure cook for 1 whistle on high heat. then simmer the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the cooker from heat and let the pressure release for 15 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually. Then open the lid. If the chickpeas are not cooked well, then pressure cook for another few minutes.
- Add kauri methi and mix well.
- Heat ghee for tempering in a pan. This step is optional but really adds to the taste.
- Add hing, green chili, and ginger and fry for a few seconds.
- Pour the tempering over the chole and mix well.
- Serve hot with bhature.