Chole Masala Recipe Ever heard a Punjabi talk about Punjabi food? We bet Chole must’ve swiftly made it to their list!
Naturally vegan and packed with healthy minerals, protein and fibre, this delicious vegetarian meal can be ready in just 45 minutes minus the soaking time of chickpeas.
ABOUT CHOLE MASALA
Punjabi Chana Masala, also known as Chole Masala, is an authentic North Indian style curry made with white chickpeas, freshly powdered spices, onions, tomatoes and herbs.
In North India, this dish is called ‘chole masala,’ or simply ‘chole’. This Chana is the Hindi word for what is called chole in Punjabi, both of which refer to chickpeas. In Hindi, the word masala means a mixture of spices specifically referring to a spiced gravy. So enjoy this spicy flavorful Chole Recipe.
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INGREDIENTS FOR CHOLE MASALA
For Pressure Cooking White Chickpeas
- 1 cup dried white chickpeas (garbanzo beans, kabuli chana or safed chole) – 200 grams
- 3 cups of water – for soaking chickpeas
- 2.5 to 3 cups water – for pressure cooking the chickpeas
- 2 to 3 dried amla or Indian gooseberry or 1 black tea bag, optional
- ½ teaspoon salt or add as required
Ingredients For Gravy
- ⅓ cup finely chopped onions or 1 medium-sized
- ½ cup finely chopped tomatoes or 1 medium-sized
- ½ teaspoon Ginger-Garlic Paste or 2 to 3 small garlic cloves + ½ inch ginger, crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder – optional
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon amchur powder (dry mango powder), optional and only to be added when you do not have dry pomegranate seeds
- 2 to 3 green chillies – slit
- 1 to 1.25 cups water or the stock in which the chickpeas were cooked
- 1.5 to 2 tablespoons oil
- salt as required
Spices For Chana Masala Powder
- 2 black cardamoms
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 3 to 4 black peppercorns
- 2 cloves
- 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf) – medium-sized
- ¼ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon dry pomegranate seeds
- 1 to 2 Kashmiri dry red chillies
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- ½ to 1 inch ginger – julienne
- 1 medium onion sliced or chopped
- 1 medium tomato sliced or chopped
- 1 lemon or lime, sliced or quartered
Soaking And Cooking White Chickpeas
- Rinse the chickpeas a couple of times in freshwater. Then soak them in water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. Add enough amount of water as the chickpeas increase in size after soaking. Later drain the water and again rinse the soaked chickpeas with fresh water.
- To give a dark colour to the chickpeas, traditionally dried amla (Indian gooseberries) are added. These also give a faint sourness to the stock. If you do not have dried amla, then add 1 black tea bag.
- In a 3-litre stovetop pressure cooker add the chickpeas along with the 3 to 4 dried amla pieces or 1 black tea bag. Taj tea bags work very well. Then add water.
- Season with salt and pressure cook the chickpeas for 12 to 15 whistles on medium heat. The chickpeas should be cooked well and softened. The chickpeas should be soft when you mash them with a spoon or eat them. Chickpeas should not give you a bite when you eat them.
Dry Roasting Spices
- In a pan, take all the whole spices for the chole masala powder mentioned above and on a low heat begin to roast them.
- Stir often and roast the spices till they get extra browned. Don’t burn them. You have to go beyond the point of roasting them even after they become fragrant and they get more browned than what is the norm usually.
- Let these roasted spices cool and then grind or powder them finely in a coffee grinder or in a dry grinder.
- By now the chana will be cooked. You will see a darker brown shade in the safed (white chana). Remove the amla pieces which would have softened by now or the tea bag from the stock.
Making Chana Masala
- Heat oil in a pan or kadai. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for a few seconds or till their raw aroma goes away.
- Then add chopped onions and saute stirring often till the onions turn translucent or light brown.
- Add tomatoes and saute stirring often till they soften and the oil starts to leave the sides of the onion and tomato mixture.
- Lower the heat and then add all of the powdered chole masalas that we ground, together with the red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder (optional).
- Stir and mix the dry ground spices and then add slit green chillies
- Add the cooked chickpeas. Mix well.
- Add salt according to taste. Then add about 1 to 1.25 cups of the stock in which the chickpeas were cooked. You can also add water instead.
- Stir and cover the pan with a lid.
Cooking Chole Masala
- Simmer on low to medium heat. You can also cook the chole masala without the lid.
- The gravy will thicken and reduce. Mash a few chickpeas as this helps in thickening the gravy.
- Simmer till you get the consistency you prefer. The consistency of this curry is not thin, but medium consistency or semi-dry. For thick or semi-dry consistency add less water.
- If you have not added dry pomegranate seeds while roasting the spices, then you need to add amchur powder (dry mango powder) now. Mix and stir well.
- Serve hot
Serve the Punjabi chole masala with kulcha, bhatura, poori, roti, naan, bread with a side of sliced onions, tomatoes and lemon or lime wedges. While serving garnish with coriander leaves and ginger julienne. This Chole Masala also tastes good with steamed rice or jeera rice or saffron rice.
Here are some variations you should definitely give a shot:
- Pindi Chole
- Amritsari Chole
- Instant Pot Chana Masala (No Chana Masala Powder Needed)
What makes a recipe so special is the personal touch you add to it. So be sure to try your own variations too!