Punjabi Chole Masala
North Indian

Punjabi Chole Masala

5/5 - (34 votes)

Punjabi cooking is known to be hearty and bold flavors abound. The state has had a largely agricultural population who have needed big breakfasts and meats to get through long days working on farms, especially through the cold winters. Punjabi Chole Masala is one of Punjab’s favorite recipes, often eaten with fried bread called bhatura at breakfast, or as a main meal, and each family has their own version.

Punjabi Chole Masala also is known as chole masala, chana masala, chole, Amritsari Punjabi Choley, channay. So much flavor in one bowl. Oh and the aroma of this curry! It is so so good. And this aroma alone makes this dish worth making. This amazingly authentic curry tastes heavenly. This dish is sure to bring a flavor of Amritsar or Delhi streets right into your home.

It is one of the most popular curry dishes from India. They taste so delicious you can never miss it during marriages and parties. This recipe is always there in the North Indian wedding or in any other party.

In this recipe, dried chickpeas are soaked, boiled, and then cooked in the onion-tomato paste along with Indian spices. The recipe uses dried, powdered pomegranate seeds dana powder) as a souring agent, if you can’t find these use amchur powder or lemon instead.

This is an ideal recipe for parties, so don’t miss preparing this restaurant style Punjabi Chole Masala at home. Punjabi Chole is usually served with Bhatura, Puri, Rice, or Roti and you can have them in lunch or dinner. Let’s learn how to make/prepare Punjabi Chole Masala by following this easy recipe.

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Preparation Time: 8Hrs  ∏  Cooking Time: 1Hr  ∏  Servings: 3-4 persons

Level: Intermediate(Medium)  ∏  Measurement: 1 Cup ≡ 250 ml ≡ 250gm

Ingredients Checklist:

For Chole

For Chole Gravy

For Tadka

How to make Punjabi Chole Masala:

Make Punjabi Chole

Step1: Rinse chickpeas 2-3 times and soak in enough water for 8-10 hours or overnight.

Step2: Once soaked and doubled in size, drain out the excess water and rinse them again with fresh running water in the morning and set aside.

Step3: In a pressure cooker add the soaked and drained chickpeas. Add 1 tea bag, 1 bay leaves, 1 black cardamom, salt as per taste, and 3-4 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 5-7 minutes. (Boiling time may differ depending upon the type of water and the region).

Step4: Let the pressure come off completely before opening the lid. The chickpeas should be cooked well and softened. The chickpeas should be soft when you mash it between finger and thumb. It should not give you a bite when you eat it. If not, give 1 or 2 whistles more to cook completely.

Step5: In a large pan heat 2 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add whole spices: 3-4 cloves, 3-4 black peppercorns, 2 green cardamom pods, 1 black cardamom pod, 1 bay leaf, 1-inch cinnamon stick. Add a pinch of asafoetida. Cook until the spices are fragrant about 20 seconds.

Step6: Now add finely chopped onion, stir often and saute till the onions turn light golden for about 3-4 minutes on medium flame.

Step7: Once the onions turn translucent, add crushed ginger-garlic (or ginger-garlic paste), green chili, and cook for 30-40 seconds.

Step8: Once the onion turns golden brown, reduce the flame to low and add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon black salt and regular salt as per taste. (I will recommend adding a small amount of salt at this moment as we have already added salt in the chickpeas while boiling, so adjust the salt later after adding boiled chickpeas to the gravy). Mix everything.

Step9: Pour tomato puree and mix. (For making tomato puree add 3 medium-size or 2 large chopped tomato in a grinder and make a smooth paste). Cover and cook it for 7-8 minutes on medium flame until the oil separates from the masala. Still occasionally.

Step10: Once the oil starts oozing out from the sides. Add boiled chickpea along with the stock in which the chickpeas were boiled. Remove the tea bags.

Step11: Cover the pan and let it simmer at the medium-low flame for around 20-25 minutes until the chole absorbs the flavors of the spices. Stir occasionally.

Step12: Using a potato masher or with the back of the ladle mash a few chickpeas. This will help thicken the gravy. Add water to adjust the consistency of the curry, you can reduce or increase the amount of water depending on how thick or thin you want your chole to be, make sure you add hot water and bring it to a boil. Simmer till you get the consistency you prefer. The chickpea curry is not thin, but medium consistency or dry.

Step13: Add 1 teaspoon chana masala, 1 teaspoon dry mango powder, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder. Stir and fry again for 1-2 minutes till the masala flavors come out. Adjust salt. Turn off the flame.

Make the Tadka

Step14: Heat a tadka pan on medium flame. Pour 1 tablespoon ghee (or butter), once it is hot add chopped garlic and saute it for 1minute. Then add ginger julienne and slit green chilly and saute it for 30 seconds or until the garlic turns crispy. If you also skip adding garlic in this.

Step15: Turn off the flame and add crushed Kasuri methi and 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder. Tadka is ready.

Step16: Pour hot sizzling tadka on top. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Step17: Your flavourful Punjabi Chole Masala is ready to be served, serve hot with kulcha, bhatura, roti, or steamed rice. Enjoy!

Punjabi Chole Masala

Watch this video for making Punjabi Chole Masala



  • If you do not have tea bags then make a potli of tea leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom and bay leaves in a muslin cloth.
  • I have made chole in vegetable oil, but they also taste great when cooked entirely in ghee or butter. You may also use the combination of ghee and oil.
  • I like to keep the Punjabi Chole Masala gravy on the thicker side, for a thinner gravy add more water.
  • If you don’t have dried pomegranate seed powder then add amchur powder or lemon toward the end.
  • Adding a pinch of baking soda in the water along with salt also helps in the cooking process and the chickpeas become really soft when cooked.
  • Here in the U.S, it takes very less time to pressure cook any lentils as it depends upon the type of water. If you are in India cook it for at least 3-4 whistle.
  • You can also use fresh homemade chana masala powder instead of using store-bought masala.

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